Designing, editing and rendering 3D content should be left only to professionals because specialized and often very complex tools are needed for each and all of these operations. One of the most powerful and well-known animation software that is able to handle all the above-mentioned tasks is Autodesk Maya.
Well-organized and visually appealing interface
Autodesk Maya 3D modeling and animation solution comes with all the functions one would need to start a project from scratch or load an existing one to edit it. The interface is very well organized and balanced, even if comprises loads of buttons, menus and toolbars, not to mention that it is also highly customizable.
Comes equipped with powerful tools
Clearly designed for advanced users, Autodesk Maya packs an impressive array of tools, effects, and controls. There are toolsets for 3D surface modeling as well as texturing, scene animation features and highly sophisticated effects are only a few of the assets this application brings to the table.
Creating a virtual reality from scratch
Vector graphics, as well as photo-realistic images, can be created in Maya and the powerful rendering capabilities of this software provide users the ability to handle large, animated scenes. There is also the possibility to generate environmental lifelike effects using volumetric fabrics like fog or noise.
Support for various file formats
The supported formats are counted in dozens as the application can work with digital images, vectors, geometry and scene files alike. When it comes to system resource usage, Autodesk Maya needs a powerful workstation because of its highly sophisticated functions.
Autodesk Maya Features:
Maya User Interface – Maximize your productivity:
Get unmatched productivity through a combination of performance and workflow features, including marking menus, 3D manipulators, selective display, stereo display, selection management tools, and unlimited levels of undoing.
Data and Scene Management Tools:
Dependency graph architecture and scene segmentation tools boost productivity and workflow flexibility:
Fully editable and animation construction history allows for extensive modification of modeled data—need to rebuild models.
File referencing, scene segmentation, and shader organization features enable efficient management of complex scenes with interchangeable levels of detail.
Scene workflow tools include the ability to position objects along a curve, replace objects within a scene, and convert instances to objects.
Maya Assets provides a highly intelligent grouping of nodes into containers, with support for custom and user-specific views, a flexible referencing system, and support for Asset libraries.
Maya provides a full complement of sophisticated polygon modeling tools and UV editing tools.
General Polygon Architecture:
Nonmanifold architecture, focused on the details of creating, editing, and texturing polygonal models, includes multiple sets of animation color-per-vertex (CPV), prelighting, user-defined normal, and normal map generation suitable for games/interactive users.
A complete set of editing tools, including bridge, poke, cut, wedge, bevel, extrude, chamfer vertex, extrude along a curve, mirror cut, edge loop, edge ring, slide edge, and pick-walk tools.
Intuitive polygon workflow through a host of intelligent selection features, such as true soft selection, preselection highlighting, and camera-based selection culling.
Polygon Texture Assignment/Editing:
Streamlined workflow for creative texturing—including UV creation and editing, auto-projection and relaxation, interactive lattice and smudge tools, along with quick access to commonly used tools via the UV Texture Editor toolbar.
Multiple UV sets allow separate texture coordinates for separate texture channels.
Per-instance UV sets allow a single mesh to be used to represent multiple objects, reducing scene overhead.
An interactive mode is available for UV unfolding and layout.
Transfer Polygon Attributes:
Enables modelers to transfer UV, color-per-vertex, and vertex position information between polygon meshes of differing topologies, even if they are separated in space or of different proportion/scale.
Artists can use the paint tool to blend between source and target deformations.
Optimization Tools: Polygon reduction, data cleanup, blind data tagging, and level-of-detail tools enable artists to optimize scenes for interactive display.
A choice of Euler and quaternion math options provide accurate results in all situations.
Animation curves can be templated to prevent accidental modification.
Graph and Dope Sheet Editors:
Powerful, precise function curves to control how animated attributes change over time.
Rapid and intuitive global editing of keyframe timing.
Lattice and falloff tools aid the manipulation of dense keyframe data, such as data from motion capture devices.
A comprehensive assortment of constraints, including parent, point, aim, orient (with animation offsets), as well as scale, geometry, normal, tangent, and pole vector.
Multiple animation channels can be mixed with each other, or with constraints, into a single result.
Maya Embedded Language (MEL) procedures and expressions can be used to create complex animation as an alternative to traditional keyframing.
Nondestructive, highly controllable animation layering feature set works with any attribute. Animation layers can be blended, merged, grouped, and reordered, and can override or add to preceding layers.
Set Driven Key:
Complex relationships between animated parameters can be keyframed with this powerful and intuitive tool. Multiple attributes can be controlled with a single slider.
3D Paint color, bump, displacement, transparency, and other textures directly on surfaces.
Integrated texture painting of color, bump, transparency, displacement, and other effects directly onto polygon, NURBS, and subdivision surfaces.
Can be used with either image-based brush profiles or any Maya Paint Effects brush.
Brush modes include paint, smear, blur, clone, and erase.
Automatic conversion of procedural textures and PSD files.
Integrated into Maya at the same level as MEL.
Higher-level language constructs allow for increased developer productivity and easier maintenance of code.
Readily available scripting resources and knowledgeable community of users.
Highly extensible, with a collection of third-party tools and modules available.
Bindings to the OpenMaya API give programmers an alternate language for plug-in development.
The Maya Python modules can be imported into an external stand-alone Python interpreter for batch processing.
The OpenMaya API/SDK:
OpenMaya API/SDK unlocks the power of the Maya architecture for programmers and technical directors.
Direct Access to Maya Software Functionality:
Maya plug-ins and stand-alone applications that run from the Maya command line can be written using C++.
Maya scene hierarchy can be traversed with iterators.
Maya plug-ins can be registered to receive a comprehensive range of Maya messages.
Maya manipulators and locators can be created.
New types of Maya objects can be developed, including file translators, hardware shaders, surface shapes, and MEL commands.
Existing Maya objects, such as geometry, lights, shaders, transforms, scene hierarchy, and dependency graph nodes can be queried and modified.
MEL scripts can be executed from C++.
The OpenMaya API is available from Python scripting as well as C++.
OpenMaya API guide.
Maya Motion Capture API guide.
MEL Command reference guide.
OpenMaya API Class reference documentation: names each OpenMaya API/SDK class and is fully searchable and indexed.
Source code, project Makefiles, and a Wizard on Windows for building examples and generating plug-in templates.
All things considered, this software is certainly among the top choices for anyone who needs a powerful 3D animation and modeling application. The impressive feature pack can accommodate the needs of all users and the processing power is also high-grade.