Autodesk Unveils 2011 Versions of Its Digital Entertainment Creation Software
March 10, 2010

Autodesk Unveils 2011 Versions of Its Digital Entertainment Creation Software

San Rafael, Calif. - Autodesk Inc. has announced the latest versions of its Digital Entertainment Creation software for 3D modeling, animation, effects, rendering, compositing, digital sculpting, and 3D painting. The 2011 versions offer new features and enhancements that help accelerate workflows and improve interoperability, helping artists to maximize their creativity and optimize their productivity, reveals a company representative. Autodesk has also launched new versions of Autodesk Kynapse and Autodesk HumanIK game development middleware, focused on improving ease of use.
On the heels of the Maya 2010 makeover last summer, Maya 2011 software offers several breakthrough capabilities. It features an invigorated customizable user interfac, enhanced tools for character animation, including non-destructive live retargeting, high-performance display of large scenes in the viewport, new 3D editorial capabilities for pre-visualization and virtual production workflows, integrated color management, asset structures for pipeline connectivity and improved rotoscoping. Also, Maya 2011 is now available for Snow Leopard, the 64-bit Mac OS X operating system.

3ds Max 2011 features a powerful new node-based material editor, the feature most requested by 3ds Max users, and a high-quality hardware renderer that provides near-production-quality results 10 times faster than traditional rendering techniques on common graphics cards. It also offers a tightly integrated full-featured high dynamic range compositing system, based on Autodesk Toxik technology, as well as enhanced tools and workflows for creating and texturing models, animating characters and viewing high-quality images interactively, which help to increase productivity.

Softimage 2011 introduces new rendering and animation tools that help artists create more complex, high-quality characters and effects in less time. The software offers a new advanced shading architecture and editing environment, an innovative rigging paradigm with support for kinematics in ICE (Interactive Creative Environment), and automated lip-synching in the Face Robot facial animation toolset.

Mudbox 2011 delivers new tools for helping deform and pose models. It also offers new image adjustment brushes and blend modes for paint layers, Vector Displacement map extraction, the ability to create higher-quality turntables, and enhanced file transfer with Maya and Adobe Photoshop.

Offering improved interoperability with Maya 2011 and 3ds Max 2011, MotionBuilder 2011 now integrates more smoothly and reliably into production pipelines. Skinning and blendshape deformations are now calculated on the graphics processing unit (GPU) for improved performance. The in-viewport experience is significantly more interactive, and playback is many times faster, further enhancing the software's capabilities as a real-time virtual production system.

Autodesk FBX 2011 asset exchange technology helps facilitate higher-fidelity data exchange between Autodesk software and certain third-party applications. The open format provides new support for additional third-party and proprietary applications. In addition, games developers using Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 will be able to import FBX files directly into the Unreal Editor. Developers can now use the Python programming language to integrate FBX technology into pipelines not based on C++.

These new products will also be available as part of the Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites -- giving artists and production facilities access to a broad range of creative toolsets at significant cost savings. The suites offer a choice of either Maya 2011 or 3ds Max 2011, and include MotionBuilder 2011 real-time character animation software, as well as Mudbox 2011 digital sculpting and 3D painting software.

Autodesk HumanIK animation middleware is a run-time solution for full-body inverse kinematics and retargeting that enhances existing animation systems, allowing characters to interact dynamically and realistically with their environments. Autodesk HumanIK 4.5 improves ease of use with an artist friendly integration into the Unreal Engine and a Characterization plug-in for creating and validating characters in Maya.

Autodesk Kynapse middleware is a  production-proven artificial intelligence solution that has been used in over 100 games. This high-performance AI engine supports complex dynamic 3D pathfinding, spatial reasoning, team co-ordination, and automatic data generation. Kynapse 7 is easier to use, with new pathdata generation, improved tuning and profiling, simplified integration and configuration, as well as off-the-shelf behaviors.

From March 11-13, visit the Virtual GDC event on AREA to watch demonstrations of the 2011 products, as well as customer presentations, live from Autodesk's booth at the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Short videos of new features in the 2011 Digital Entertainment Creation products are also available on the Autodesk YouTube channel.