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Maya: “So ya wanna be a rock 'n roll star” revisited [animation product]

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In 1995, the company today known as Alias/Wavefront (A/W) held a press conference to announce its next-generation animation product, Maya. A/W claimed this future 3D animation tool would increasingly serve the artist, not the other way around. Maya addressed a basic problem: When artists working at a drafting table reach for a new pencil, they never look away from the part of the drawing they're working on. Artists at a workstation, on the other hand, must divert their eyes to choose the next tool from a series of nested menus. A/W concluded it should design its next-generation graphical user interface (GUI) around the notion of not forcing the artist to look away from the work area to keep working. One possible solution would organize the menus based on a compass metaphor (North, South, East, and West). Maya 1.0 for Irix was released in January 1998. It kept faith with the GUI promises, but implemented them in a different way: nested menus radiate in a compass layout centered on the current cursor position, allowing the eye to remain on the subject. Maya contains many features from A/W's flagship product, Power Animator, famous for its contributions to Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park among other films. It's both a character animation system and a soft/hard body dynamics environment. It will eventually replace Power Animator and include new technologies

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Mar/Apr 2000

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