This release includes major workflow improvements and new features aimed at making content creation easier than ever before.
Recent updates to Maya's time precision capacity has created a limitation where binary (*.mb) files saved in this version of Maya (2018) are not backward-compatible. If you have files that need to be opened in previous versions of Maya, save them as ASCII (*.ma) files. See the topic How Maya counts time for more details on how timing is handled in Maya.
Maya now fully transitioned to Viewport 2.0
Viewport 2.0 is now the primary viewport and hardware renderer in Maya. The legacy default and high quality viewports are no longer available in the Maya user interface. To ensure that Viewport 2.0 supports your requirements, Maya 2018 includes a number of viewport workflow enhancements, feature additions, as well as performance and stability improvements. See Viewport 2.0 enhancements below.
Also, improvements to the user and API guides help you take full advantage of Viewport 2.0. See Working in Viewport 2.0.
Updates to the Viewport 2.0 API allow developers to more easily transition to Viewport 2.0 and build new tools in Maya's viewport. See What's New in API in Maya 2018.
For additional developer resources, see the Maya Viewport 2.0 API Porting Guide, which can be found at http://www.autodesk.com/developmaya.
Viewport 2.0 enhancementsMaya 2018 introduces a number of Viewport 2.0 feature enhancements for modelers and animators as well as for shading and lighting. Some highlights include:
- Native support for OSD 3.1 now allows modelers and animators to preview the final subdivided shape and surface of adaptive openSubdiv geometry. For example, see the realtime results of smoothed subdivision and displacement when sculpting an adaptive openSubdiv mesh or view creases in the mesh while animating. You can also take advantage of adaptive tessellation and have your model participate in lighting and viewport effects.
- Simplified displacement preview workflow, which includes an Alt + 3 hotkey to toggle displacement preview on and off to minimize workflow interruptions.
- Support for complex shading networks on displaced surfaces. This includes realtime preview of ramps, adjustments to texture file attributes, and multi-tiled UV textures.
- Addition of previously unsupported viewport effects including point light shadows, and ambient occlusions.
- Improved transparency with the addition of a new Alpha Cut transparency algorithm. Alpha Cut provides high quality transparency and accurate object sorting without performance trade-offs.
For a complete list of Viewport 2.0 enhancements, see What's New in Rendering and Shading in Maya 2018.
New Script Editor features
New features have been added that simplify your workflow when loading a MEL or Python script from a file. For example, the Script Editor tab now indicates the name of the file, and you can save changes directly to the file through the Script Editor.
Node Editor improvements
It is now easier to connect nodes, and you can simply click the source and destination ports to create connection lines. It is no longer necessary to drag with your mouse to connect attributes. You can also press Esc to release a connection line.
Select from different connection line styles: bezier, straight, corner, and s-shape.
When creating nodes using the Tab menu, you can now press Enter to create the first node or the only node in the list.
When selecting a node, you can now choose to highlight also the incoming and outgoing connection lines. To choose this option, enable Options > Highlight connections on selected. This option is most useful when working in a densely populated node graph.
Ports are now highlighted when you mouse over them.
ATF export support
Maya now supports the ATF (Autodesk Translation Framework) file translation system. See Import and Export files with Autodesk Translation Framework (ATF).
Maya interface improvementsA number of improvements have been made to the Maya interface. These include:
- Search field for the Plug-in Manager.
- Better docking highlights: The interface now highlights more clearly when dragging windows to better indicate where that window will be docked.
- Vertical docking for shelves.
- New icons: Various icons around the interface have been modernized so that they scale better.
Automatically save Workspaces
You can now choose whether or not to automatically save workspace layout changes in the Workspace layout options.
A new form of fully customizable scripting has been added to the Channel Box. To use it, select one or more attributes and then Alt + right-click them to display an in-line editor, then input a command. For more information, see Dash scripting.
Content Browser improvements
In addition, it now saves its window layout, current path, and other settings separately per workspace.
- Performance improvement: The Content Browser now opens much faster than before.
- Enhanced functionality: It now saves its window layout, current path, and other settings separately per workspace.
- Python support: The Content Browser now sources .py files. Dragging and dropping one into the scene automatically executes its onMayaDroppedPythonFile method. For more information, see Find and import files from the Content Browser.
Reverse cycle through attributes
Important updates to the Maya API
Maya 2018 includes a number of API updates and additions that require you to recompile your plug-ins as well new ways to make plug-in development more efficient. For information, see What's New in API in Maya 2018.