Autodesk Unveils New Versions of Animation and VFX Tools

As part of the launch, the software developer schedules “state of the industry” discussion with visual effects artists.

Autodesk unveiled new versions of its animation software, which will be available April 12, following the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

The 2014 versions of Maya, 3ds Max, MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Softimage and Sketchbook Designer will be demonstrated online Tuesday and Wednesday. Autodesk also plans to stream a state of the industry panel, underscoring the troubled VFX and animation business climate.

Among the new features in 3D computer graphics software 3ds Max is “populate,” a tool designed to help artists to more quickly generate moving or idle crowds with life-like human reactions and activity. The new version of MotionBuilder features new previz and virtual production tools that are the result of Autodesk’s collaboration with Lightstorm Entertainment and Weta Digital.

Chris Bradshaw, senior vp of media & entertainment at Autodesk, noted that the new software releases are aimed at offering "teams of all sizes the ability to better manage [work] across a globally distributed creative workforce."

Three packages are offered: The standard edition, which includes a choice of either Maya or 3ds Max with MotionBuilder, Mudbox and Sketchbook Designer; premium edition, offering all the software of the standard package plus Softimage; and Ultimate edition, which includes all six software tools.

Autodesk also unveiled new origami-inspired product branding to "reflect creativity."