Autodesk has released Maya 2019, the latest iteration of its widely used 3D animation, modeling, simulation and rendering software.

Among the improvements in Maya 2019 are a new cached playback system, upgrades that make viewport previews look more like the final Arnold render, and improvements to rigging tools, pipeline integration and more, the company said.

Maya 2019 screenshot

Specifically, Maya 2019 is said to give animators a more responsive working environment, with higher-quality real-time previews, allowing them to produce better animations by increasing playback speeds. Cached playback is a background process that analyzes a scene as an animator works, computing the necessary changes to individual frames and writing them to a memory cache that allows playback at a higher frame rate. This “Evaluation Cache” is turned on by default in Maya 2019. Watch the video below for more details on how it works.

Filters have been added to Maya’s graph editor, including a key reducer to refine animation curves and a Butterworth filter for removing noise from motion capture data. Riggers and character TDs will now be able to hide sets from the outliner in order to streamline scenes. The bake deformer tool has been improved, and new ways to work with deformer weights have been added, making it easier to write scripts for rig creation.

“The new features in Maya 2019 give artists a more responsive working environment so they feel more creatively engaged and can iterate faster to produce better quality,” said Autodesk’s Chris Vienneau, senior director, media & entertainment products, in a prepared statement. “Cached playback is going to reduce the need for playblasts by animators, and Arnold updates take the guesswork out of the equation, by making viewport previews closer to the final Arnold render.”

Maya 2019 is available as a standalone tool licensed for a single user for $1,505/year (less for longer-term subscriptions) or as part of the Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection of creative tools for $2,095 (ditto).

Autodesk Maya: