Autodesk Announcements @ SIGGRAPH

After last night’s user group meeting at SIGGRAPH 2008, Autodesk today announced new versions of several of their products. Several of the programs, such as Maya and Toxik, include new tools for stereoscopic pipelines.

We’ve pulled highlights from the press releases and will be covering this further as well as other news from Los Angeles. For updates from the show, subscribe to our twitter feeds: mikeseymour and johnmontfx — we’ll be highlighting cool things we see when wandering the halls.

Click through for highlights from the Autodesk press releases….


While the complexity and size of scenes continue to rise, Maya 2009 provides new tools to make them more manageable. These tools include the new Maya Assets toolset, which enables users to encapsulate a set of nodes into a single container and publish a view of the data suited to the artist’s task. The release also offers a new Render Proxy feature in mental ray, and additional multi-threading work and algorithmic speedups that boost interactive draw, simulation and rendering performance for even the heaviest scenes.

Maya 2009 gives modelers and texture artists unprecedented control over polygon modeling and UV texturing through powerful selection management features, efficient modeling workflows and precision UV unfolding and layout options.

Tighter schedules and budgets demand that projects and pipelines take full advantage of available resources. Maya 2009 supports collaborative, iterative workflows and promotes data reuse. The software has a new animation layering paradigm that provides animators with increased non-destructive flexibility, as well as an updated Render Pass toolset that offers precise control over render output and optimizes integration with Autodesk Toxik procedural compositing software.

New Creative Tools

Maya 2009 offers an innovative Maya nParticles dynamic simulation module and an extensive Maya Muscle feature set. nParticles is part of the Maya Nucleus Unified Simulation Framework, a ground-breaking approach to creating complex physics simulations that interact directly with each other. Furthermore, to help studios capitalize on the growing popularity of stereoscopic 3D films, Maya 2009 offers a flexible new stereo camera rig, complete with in-viewport stereo viewing.

Pricing and Availability Autodesk anticipates that Maya 2009 will be available in English in October 2008. Maya 2009 will be supported on the Windows and Linux operating systems (64-bit and 32-bit versions), as well as Mac OS X for Intel-based Macintosh and PowerPC computers (32-bit version only).

Autodesk suggested retail pricing is US$1,995* for Maya Complete 2009 (Standalone) and US$4,995* for Maya Unlimited 2009 (Standalone). The upgrade price from Maya Complete 2008 to Maya Complete 2009 is US$899*, and the upgrade price from Maya Unlimited 2008 to Maya Unlimited 2009 is US$1,249*.

* International pricing may vary.


Toxik 2009 offers high-performance compositing and visual effects capabilities, particularly for large-format digital film and television projects. When combined with the new Autodesk Maya 2009 modeling software, the two products provide an accelerated and iterative 3D-to-2D workflow. Both products are being showcased at SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles, California, August 12-14 at Autodesk booth #501.

Joerg Bruemmer, head of compositing at PICTORION das werk, noted, “The Toxik software’s tight integration with Maya and intuitive color correction tools have improved the way I composite. Toxik lets me focus on finishing shots faster, as I no longer have to worry about data management.” PICTORION das werk in Germany offers digital post-production services for film, TV, advertising and music video projects.

New Feature Highlights in Toxik 2009

Accelerated 3D-to-2D Integrated Workflow

Toxik 2009 can generate compositions based on Render Pass and Render Layer setups imported from Maya. Artists can pre-visualize their scene as it will appear when composited, allowing them to only iterate and refine required elements. This accelerates the 3D-to-2D workflow, eliminating unnecessary re-renders and reducing the need for round-tripping.

Stereoscopy and Set Extensions

Toxik 2009 offers new tools that bring a pseudo third dimension to 2D imagery. These tools facilitate the creation of virtual set extensions, and the production of stereoscopic films.

— Artists can import geometry via the Autodesk FBX file format from Maya or other 3D applications, and project a matte painting or rendered
image onto it through the camera.
— The illusion of depth or perspective can be further enhanced through a new mesh displacement feature.
— Render pass setups can be imported directly from Maya.
— Stereo output can be viewed while playing back a scene and while interacting with it.

Enhanced Tools for Visual Effects

Toxik 2009 offers a range of customer-requested enhancements, including:

— A new Warp 2D tool to deliver advanced, non-linear, spline-based image warping.
— A new Lens Blur tool to change the shape of the lens in the virtual camera, to simulate real-world camera effects such as rack de-focus.
— The ability to view images created in Toxik on Windows on broadcast-quality display devices.

Toxik 2009 features a new file-based data model, facilitating collaborative workflows without adding complexity for those who prefer to work standalone.

Product Availability and Pricing

Autodesk anticipates that Toxik 2009 will be available in October 2008. Suggested retail pricing for a single seat of Toxik 2009 (Standalone or Network) is $3,495 USD*. The suggested retail price upgrade from Toxik 2008 to Toxik 2009 is $875 USD*.


“Our goal is to make early stage digital assets resemble their final ‘on-screen’ forms as closely as possible,” said Dave Cardwell, Mudbox product designer at Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “Starting with accurate models makes the production process more efficient and provides a higher-quality end result. For example, you’d want to know early on whether a prominent brow will shadow a character’s eyes. That’s why Autodesk Mudbox 2009 has texture painting tools and on-target display features; these will help artists build and refine better 3D models.”

“The introduction of Autodesk Mudbox 2009 sparks a revolution in computer graphics tools, bringing about a paradigm shift in how designers and artists do their work,” said Habib Zargarpour, senior art director at Electronic Arts.

New Feature Highlights in Autodesk Mudbox 2009

Texture Painting

A new, production-ready toolset makes it easy for artists to paint multiple diffuse, bump, specular, and reflection textures across multiple high-resolution maps on their models:
— Users can paint directly on 3D models to add detail precisely where it’s required, regardless of UV distortion or surface complexity.
— Reference images can be painted onto a model from screen space using the new Projection brush.
— Users can paint multiple maps on multiple UV tiles simultaneously and assign multiple UV tiles on a single mesh.

Performance Enhancements

Recognized for its ability to handle data-heavy models, the latest version of Mudbox offers greater interactivity while working on high-resolution meshes. In particular, camera manipulation and brush speed have been improved, enabling artists to work interactively with 3D models that are fully subdivided into tens of millions of polygons across the entire mesh.

On-Target Display

Mudbox 2009 includes a host of rendering technologies that leverage the power of the OpenGL application programming interface (API) and today’s powerful graphics cards. The software offers an accurate, on-target environment for real-time evaluation as the digital asset is manipulated, as well as for enhanced interactive presentations to clients and art directors.
Improved Interoperability with Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max
Mudbox 2009 provides enhanced interoperability with Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max software through improved matching of normal and displacement maps produced by Maya and 3ds Max.

Artist-Friendly User Interface

Mudbox 2009 continues to deliver a highly intuitive user interface that gives artists the freedom to focus on the art of 3D modeling.

For a complete list of new features and enhancements in Autodesk Mudbox 2009, visit

Pricing and Availability

Autodesk anticipates that Mudbox 2009 will be available in October 2008. Mudbox 2009 will be supported on the Microsoft Windows XP Professional and Microsoft Windows Vista operating systems. Autodesk suggested retail pricing is $745 USD*.
*International pricing may vary.

Stitcher and ImageModeler

Stitcher Unlimited 2009 helps create wide-angle and panoramic images in a few easy steps. With an intuitive user interface and an automatic photo-merging engine, the software is ideal for generating virtual tours for the Web, matte paintings for movies, environment maps for 3D rendering and panoramic prints for artistic display.

ImageModeler 2009 offers a new approach to 3D modeling: generating 3D models from 2D digital images. The software’s easy-to-learn, three-step workflow of calibration, modeling and texturing lets users achieve photorealistic results with real-world accuracy.

New Feature Highlights in Stitcher Unlimited 2009

— Fully Automatic Engine: Create partial or full spherical panoramas in just a few clicks. Stitching, alignment and color correction can be automated.
— Double Shot: Stitch images taken with a two-shot fisheye lens; an effective way to create fully spherical virtual tours with only two pictures.
— High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support: Create exceptionally high-quality environment maps and panoramas through the embedded HDR workflow, with support for EXR and HDR input and output.
— Full interoperability with Adobe Photoshop and support for many industry-standard image, Web and video file formats.
— Hotspot Support: Create QuickTime VR hotspots for Web content with links that can be integrated within a panorama, and reference another panorama.
— Tripod Cap: Users can cover up the tripod in their image with an image of their own.
— Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Acceleration: Optimized to take advantage of graphics card GPUs for preview rendering in the main Viewport. The GPU is now also used to accelerate final renders.
— Selectable Rendering Area: Using the crop tool, artists can precisely select an area to be rendered, even in full-screen mode.
— Redesigned User Interface and Workflow: Includes new icons and a new palette to manage thumbnails more efficiently.

New Feature Highlights in ImageModeler 2009

— New Calibration Engine: Generates a 3D model or scene using calibration points based on one or more panoramas or photos.
— 3D Measurement: The ruler toolset calculates real-world distances and angles between points, eliminating the need for complex laser measurements onsite. This is of particular benefit to architects.
— High-Performance Photo Texturing: High-quality texture extraction; texture mapping is a one-click, automatic process and photorealism is built-in.
— User-friendly Interface: The UI color can be customized and source images can be viewed as thumbnails.
— Improved Interoperability with other Autodesk software products: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk 3ds Max Design, Autodesk MotionBuilder and the AutoCAD family of products.
— Full interoperability with Adobe Photoshop and support for many industry-standard image, Web and video file formats.

Autodesk anticipates that Stitcher Unlimited 2009 for Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh will be available in English, French, German and Japanese in October 2008. The Autodesk suggested retail price for Stitcher Unlimited 2009 software is $350 USD*. ImageModeler 2009 for Microsoft Windows is expected to be available in English in October 2008. The Autodesk suggested retail price for ImageModeler 2009 software is $995 USD*. * International pricing may vary.

4 thoughts on “Autodesk Announcements @ SIGGRAPH”

  1. Let me start by saying I’m a huge mac fan boy, that said:

    Mac when they were coming out with leopard said that they would be porting 1 version of their code to 64 bits…then about 3 maybe 4 months before the release of leopard…they changed their mind to a different version of code that is a huge PITA. Most devolopers don’t know it well, or don’t want to be bothered with coding in it. Snow leopard is bringing back what they had originally said and more devs will beable to to code 64bit mac programs.

    So while leopard is a “64 bit os” no one wants to go 64 with their code.

  2. According to my readings it was actually Apple who changed from allowing two different code bases (carbon, cocoa) to only using cocoa at the last minute. They had been working on carbon64 which WAS supported by the likes of Adobe and probably others and then at the last minute Apple decided to only support cocoa, leaving the companies to change much of the code in their apps. So while you may love your beloved Apple, as I do as well, this was squarely on Apple’s shoulders not the Adobe, Autodesk manufacturers. It’s not an issue of laziness. And while I would like 64 bit apps I’d rather them take the time they need to do it right.

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