Autodesk’s dynamic December duo includes both Maya 2020 and Arnold 6, a release that brings Nvidia RTX GPU acceleration to the Arnold ray-tracing renderer for the first time.

A new Nvidia Studio Driver is also out, supporting the release of Unreal Engine 4.24 as well as the latest Maya and Arnold versions. Nvidia said Autodesk was the first company to commit to RTX-accelerated rendering technology.

Autodesk said Maya 2020 has 60 new updates, including performance improvements and new simulation features in Maya’s Bifrost visual programming environment. GPU acceleration will improve caching features for modeling, shading and rendering.

Autodesk Maya 2020

Maya 2020 Highlights

  • Over 60 animation features and updates to the graph editor and time slider.
  • Cached Playback: Experience faster animation playback and more predictable results with new preview modes, layered dynamics caching, and more efficient caching of image planes.
  • Animation bookmarks: Mark, organize, and navigate through specific events in time and frame playback ranges.
  • Arnold GPU: Access Arnold 6 for production rendering on the CPU and GPU.
  • Bifrost for Maya: Significant performance improvements, Cached Playback support, and new MPM cloth constraints bring even more power to the visual programming environment.
  • Viewport improvements: Interact with and select dense geometry or a large number of smaller meshes faster in the viewport and UV editors.
  • Modeling enhancements: Spend more time modeling and less time cleaning up your models, with new Remesh and Retopologize features.
  • Rigging improvements: Simplify rig and character TD work with matrix-driven workflows, nodes for precisely tracking positions on deforming geometry, and a new GPU-accelerated wrap deformer.

Source: Autodesk

Arnold 6 features improved lights, shaders and cameras with on-demand texture loading and support for Open Shading Language and OpenVDB volumes, Autodesk said. GPU noise is said to be “on par” with CPU noise when using adaptive sampling techniques, which have been improved for more predictable results. And users can easily switch between CPU and GPU rendering in Arnold without changing settings.

Autodesk Arnold 6

“We’ve worked closely with Nvidia to optimize Arnold GPU to run on the latest RTX GPUs and RTX Server,” said Autodesk’s Chris Vienneau, senior director, media and entertainment products, in a prepared statement.

Maya 2020 and Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU are available by subscription on a monthly, yearly, or three-year basis as standalone tools or as part of Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment Collection software suite. Maya is $195/month, $1,545/year or $4,170/three years, while Arnold is $45/month, $360/year or $970/three years. The full software suite includes both tools as well as 3ds Max, MotionBuilder and Mudbox and costs $270/month, $2,145/year or $5,790/three years.