It’s no secret that the creative bar continues to rise for VFX and animation studios. Global audiences expect amazing visual effects every time they watch TV, play a game, or explore the metaverse. As the need for truly immersive content grows, we’re committed to unlocking new levels of collaboration, creativity, and efficiency for artists and studios.

We have our eyes on streamlining postproduction and games pipelines. Updates to our media and entertainment portfolio, including Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Bifrost, and Arnold, further open standards and bolster artist-driven animation, modeling, and simulation workflows. They also boost performance with support for Apple Silicon. On top of that, we’re collaborating with Adobe to build a material standard, and with Microsoft to unveil a beta version of AI-powered Maya Assist 

“Whether they’re working on the next big blockbuster, streaming content, or games, our customers use a lot of different tools to get productions out the door. It’s a top priority for us at Autodesk to help connect their workflows, so they can work nimbly and efficiently across teams and projects,” said Diana Colella, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “That’s why we’ve focused our development efforts on integrating open standards like USD, LookdevX, and OCIO across our tools. We’re excited to continue on this path, building deeper connections between our solutions and third party tools, so that our customers have truly connected workflows for collaboration.”

Growing our open standards ecosystem

Across tools, we continue to integrate open standards that accelerate and streamline the flow of data between people, teams, and software at studios.  

  • LookdevX, a new agnostic material editor in Maya, standardizes material workflows, allowing artists to create complex shading networks that can be shared freely and accurately throughout studio pipelines. With a modern, node-based environment, this enables artists to author a variety of materials like USDShade, Material X, and Arnold that can then be used by other artists across multiple projects. 
  • We continue to integrate powerful USD workflows across our portfolio, making it easier to move data through the post-production pipeline. 

Powerful modeling and color management capabilities come to 3ds Max  

We’re expanding the robust modeling toolset in 3ds Max with fast, fluid, and fun workflows for artists. 

  • A new Boolean modifier offers a modern and intuitive way to produce clean geometry, and updates to the Array modifier help create beautiful, nature-like scenes, procedurally. 
  • With effective color management tools built around the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) and OpenColorIO (OCIO), a must for most modern post-production pipelines, this update gives artists complete control over colors with Color Management. From Viewport to final render, colors are predictable and consistent, so artists know that colors match and align at every phase of production.  
Flower being modified on a computer screen with Autodesk 3ds Max

Array modifier updates help artists create beautiful, nature-like scenes, procedurally.

Elevated animation, modeling, and simulation workflows now in Maya

On top of LookdevX and Hydra for Maya, Maya gains new tools and workflows across its animation, modeling, and simulation toolsets.  

  • Updates to Retopologize and the Boolean toolset give artists more creative control while modeling. 
  • Streamlined animation tools, including a redesigned Time Slider, make navigating and editing animations more fluid and intuitive.  
  • Bifrost, Maya’s visual programming environment, offers visual effects artists a complete overhaul of viewport volume rendering, using new, state-of-the-art NanoVTT technology, as well as MPM Gel, a cool new capability that simulates substances such as soft-serve ice cream. 
  • Maya–including Bifrost and Arnold for Maya–now runs natively on Apple Silicon, enabling artists to achieve new levels of performance while rendering. 
Computer screen shows Autodesk Maya technology updates

Cool new capability MPM Gel simulates substances such as soft-serve ice cream.

AI-assisted workflows come to Maya  

We’re excited to unveil the AI-powered private beta of Maya Assist, which provides a new way of interacting with Maya scene data using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service. This allows artists to automatically manipulate scenes using natural language text prompts directly in Maya. For example, you can ask to copy an object, increase its size by 25%, or add a camera and aim it anywhere. The private beta launches on April 5. To apply, visit our Maya Assist Feedback Application page.

Joining forces with Adobe on an open source material model 

With the goal of standardizing material workflows and enabling smoother interoperability across the tools artists use, we’re also working to bring Autodesk Standard Surface and Adobe Standard Material into one new material model that can be used across product portfolios and adopted by the wider industry. Having a common material model will help artists and studios work more efficiently by facilitating the seamless exchange of 3D assets. We’re actively engaging with the MaterialX governance group to ensure that the new model can be integrated and fully encoded within a MaterialX node graph. 

To learn more, visit the what’s new pages for Maya, 3ds Max, and Arnold. These products are available as standalone subscriptions or with the Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection. If you have questions or want to connect with Autodesk experts go to our product and industry groups on AREA.