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MAYA is an application software which is used for 3D designing in different modules like modelling, rigging, texturing, animation, rendering, match moving, compositing and visual effects. It was named after the word MAYA a Sanskrit which means an Illusion. This product was developed by Media and Entertainment division (formerly Alias) of Autodesk in Toronto. This application will be used in many industries like TV, FILM, Gaming, Architectural and Planning.
Autodesk is a multinational corporation in San Rafael, California, United States Of America which focused on 2D and 3D designing software products for Multi-Media, Engineering, Manufacturing, Planning, Architecture etc.., which was established in the year of 1982 by Carl Bass founder, president and CEO, John Walker the co-author of AutoCAD (earlier Architectural Desktop) software which is a flagship of Autodesk and other twelve products. By adding to this Autodesk developed a Digital Prototyping Solutions to simulate, visualize and analyze real-world performance in building information modelling. Autodesk also provided digital media creation management software for media industry for the purpose of visual effects, editing, animation, gaming, colour grading etc..,.
Products of Autodesk: - Autodesk Platform Solutions and Emerging Business division developed many other products like AutoCAD LT, AutoCAD Freestyle, Geospatial solutions, Plant solutions etc..,. Autodesk started its Media and Entertainment Division in 1999 after the merging of Kinetix and Alias which is developer of 3D graphics technology also acquired Softimage brand from AVID. The main products of Autodesk for entertainment and media are Maya, 3DS Max, Flame, Softimage, Discreet Smoke etc.., which also won Academy Awards.
MAYA was developed by the culmination of three line i.e.., Advanced Visualizer of Wave front, Thomson Digital Image (TDI) explore and Power Animator of Alias. All these are purchased by Silicon Graphics Incorporated (SGI) and produced one single source code. In 1990's Hollywood movies used these combination tools for modelling, 3D animation, Rendering from Alias, Softimage and Photorealistic Render Man respectively for many movies like Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, The Abyss etc..,. At the time of merging Alias and Wavefront were working on next Generation Software which had taken Macintosh product "Alias Sketch". The Code name for this product is MAYA. It was developed in the close collaboration with Walt Disney Feature Animation during the production of Dinosaur. This helped the software to become an industry standard with many upgrading features. Maya developed the language MEL (Maya Embedded Language) which is similarity to Unix Shell language by moving to Tcl as a scripting language. In 2003 Alias Wavefront was renamed as Alias and sold to Autodesk on 10 January 2006 and it was renamed as Autodesk Maya. It won many academy awards for "Scientific and Technical Achievement" citing use on every feature using 3D computer generated images.
Autodesk has released six versions of Maya up to now. The first release was Maya 8.0(ver.8.0) on August 2006, Maya 8.5(ver.8.5) on 15 January 2007, Maya 2008(ver.9.0) on September 2007, Maya 2009(ver.10.0) on August 2008, Maya 2010(ver.11.0) on August 2009 and Maya 2011(ver.12.0) on 6 April 2010. Maya 2011(ver.12.0) was present upgraded version of Autodesk.
Maya originally released for IRIX OS, and then ported to Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows but later Maya supporting was discontinued for IRIX after the release of its 6.5 Version. Openness to third party software is the important feature Of Maya which stripes the software completely to its standard appearance and only using of kernel, transforms it into highly customized version. The MEL is provided not only as Scripting Language but also to customize Maya's core functionality written with much tools, commands, environments which makes animators to add functionality without any experience in any computer languages like C, C++, Java etc.., addition to this Python scripting was added to 8.5 version. The core of Maya was written in C++. The projects in Maya can be saved in .mb and .ma formats which is standard Maya binary and Maya ASCII respectively which is human readable file which is containing all geometry and animation data also which is editable in any text editor out of Maya application.
In Maya application we can perform different types of Modules like Modelling, Rigging, Texturing, Animation, Dynamics (visual effects), etc..,
Modelling: Modelling is a process of creating 3D surfaces of characters and objects using surface type's polygons, NURBS, Subdivision surfaces which is keen visual skills and mastery in modelling tools. In this each surface has its own benefits and characteristics.
Polygons: Polygon surfaces are a network of equal or more than three sided flat surfaces which are called as faces and get connected to create poly-mesh. Meshes are comprised of edges, faces and vertices. The wireframe on meshes are called edges of each face. The bounded regions of edges are called faces. Intersect of those edges are called vertex. Polygon edges can be set to appear smooth or hard. Polygons are the preferred surface for many 3D applications like games, web applications etc.., because it has less amount of data which can render quickly, speedily and interactive performance to end user in gaming and other applications.
NURBS: NURBS means Non-Uniform Rational B-splines which are characterized by smooth organic forms. This is a method of using mathematical describing curves and surfaces which suits to 3D applications. It is used in industrial and automotive design purpose because of its quick modelling and editing techniques with many applications. It is an ideal to define smooth motion path for animated objects also this can be convert from surface modelling to poly mesh.
Subdivision Surfaces: These are hybrid surface type which possesses characteristics of both Polygons and NURBS. This also capable of producing smooth organic forms and can edit by using its control vertices.
Rigging: Rigging is a general term used for 3D models to accompany joints and skeletons for animation. It is dependent on the model which is to be animated and its form of movements. The movements can be done by using FK and IK (Forward Kinematics and Inverse Kinematics). Binding of skeleton and character is an important task which makes both to move together. It also defines movements of character's joints and skin surface bulge to simulate muscles. The method of grouping surface components as CV's into sets are called cluster which has to be animated more detailed level.
Texturing: Mapping of texture is a key component in the production of 3D Technology workflow. Texturing maps are images which are applying in accurate position on the surfaces called texturing mapping, it alerts the appearance of surfaces in unique way. To get an interesting backdrop in our scenes we can use illustrations as texturing maps which also be the most shading attributes for a surface material like colour, reflective, transparency, specular, etc..,. In Maya by default we have some texturing tools which makes to texture background effectively which is known as painting tools and these are categorised into three like Maya artisan brush tools, 3D paint tools, Maya Paint effect tools. In these artisan brush tools have a variety of applications which allows us to modify attribute values directly. It allows us to improve the speed of workflow.
Dynamics: The physics which describes the moving of objects using physical rules with natural forces acting on them are called Dynamics. The achieving of traditional key frame animation techniques is difficult with Dynamic simulations. Maya provides the setup of this type for computer animation, so software performs its operations to animate the objects also provide the tools creating effects which enhances final images and animations. So the particle effects the creation of illusions of particles like fireworks, rain, explosions, fire and smoke and many more which can be simulate real-world physical interactions between the particles or objects like collision etc..,
Animation: The rapid display of a sequence of 2D or 3D images of artwork or model position in order to create a movement by illusion is called animation. Maya provides a large number of selection tools for animation. Expressions are very important and difficult task. So in Maya it offers alternative to set driven key to overcome the difficulty. Unlike this process it does not use any animation curves to define the animation of attributes and can be create for any purpose which can be change randomly, rhythmically or incrementally over time. But it is not possible to mix an expression with other techniques in animation for same attribute on an object like set driven key or path animation or key framing etcâ€¦, in Maya we can do different types of animations
Key frame animation: It transforms objects or skeleton over time by setting key frames.
Driven key animation: It links and drives attribute of an object with another object by setting driven keys.
Nonlinear animation: It makes to split, blend and duplicates the clips of animation to achieve motion effects.
Path animation: It animates the object through the curve which has been set by attaching to it.
Motion capture animation: To get an realistic motion to the characters it makes us to import motion capture data which can be applicable.
Layered animation: It creates and blends animation on separate layers without modifying an animation layers in sequence without altering the original layers.
Dynamic animation: It creates motion of a realistic character by using the physics to simulate natural forces.