What's New in Autodesk Maya

Welcome to What’s New in Autodesk® Maya® 2011.

Maya 2011 features a powerful new set of tools for creating and re-purposing character animation. With an updated interface that helps artists be more efficient, and a new 64-bit offering for Mac OS® X, Maya 2011 is more accessible. In addition, Maya 2011 addresses production pipeline challenges, with an accelerated viewport display for large scenes; a completely new UI toolkit; and new solutions for 3D editorial, color management, scene segmentation, and rotoscoping.

Refer to the following sections for details on all the new features in Maya 2011.

General and Performance

New to Maya 2011 is a fresh customizable interface with many enhanced windows and editors. Assets and File Referencing are enhanced to help modularize your scenes. Finally, Maya 2011 features a number of performance enhancements to improve your overall experience.


Maya 2011 provides a number of modeling features to streamline your workflow. Bezier curves are now available so you can adjust curvature on the fly. In polygon modeling, you can now connect arbitrary components on a polygon mesh and spin edges along their midpoint to quickly change the topology of your mesh. Additional features such as object level soft selection and invisible faces give you more options for interacting with your models.


Accelerate pre-visualization with new 3D editorial features. The new Camera Sequencer lets you import and export editorial content (including movie, audio, and timecode information), layout and manage camera shots in a sequence, and playblast movie footage for playback and review. Other enhancements for animators include multiple audio track support, scene timecode options with heads-up display, improved global timewarping effects, and several Graph Editor improvements that make it easier to view, select, and edit animation data.


Create characters with realistic skin deformation in less time with new skinning tools and workflows: interactive skin binding, dual quaternion smooth skinning, enhancements to the Paint Skin Weights Tool, and improved weight normalization.

In addition, an improved non-destructive animation retargeting workflow lets you easily reuse, correct, and enhance your character animation. Based on the Autodesk® HumanIK® libraries and animation layers, you can easily transfer animation and adjust retargeting parameters live, without baking to see results.

You’ll also find new Point on Poly and Closest Point constraints, new weight mirroring support for the blend shape, cluster, jiggle, and wire deformers, and several other deformer improvements.

Paint Effects

Add phototropic effects to painted flowers and leaves using new Flower Face Sun, Leaf Face Sun, and Sun Direction attributes. Maya 2011 also offers a new Transfer All Strokes to new Object option that simplifies transfers of paint strokes from low to high resolution meshes.


Improvements to the Dynamic Relationship Editor let you view, create, and edit connections between multiple dynamics objects.

Fluid Effects

Several new Fluid Effects features enhance the realism of your fluid simulations. In Maya 2011, an Auto Resize option automatically resizes 2D and 3D fluid containers, reducing simulation and batch render time. Improved internal lighting features let you preview lighting and shadow effects in the scene view before rendering your fluid effect.

New fluid emission methods give you more control over how fluid is emitted into containers, including options for mapping emitted fluid to 2D textures. Additional fluid container property options, fluid solver enhancements, and new fluid behavior attributes are also included.


Maya 2011 includes a Collide Strength attribute for controlling the force of nCloth collisions as well as paintable Rest Length Scale, which lets you easily create ruffles and flares in simulated clothing. A new option for nCaching improves results when simulating off the end of nCaches.


In Maya 2011, you'll find a number of new per-particle attributes, including Rotation, Friction, Bounce and Stickiness. Create more realistic liquid simulations with new Surface Tension and Viscosity Scale attributes. Maya 2011 also has enhanced nParticle output mesh features, with per-vertex shading and velocity, as well as improvements to mesh quality and performance.

Rendering and Render Setup

New to Maya 2011 is the Viewport 2.0 that provides large scene performance optimization. The Hypershade has also been redesigned to allow for easier and faster render node creation. The new pan/zoom feature allows you to pan and zoom in 2D and the color management feature allows you to control the color profile associated with inputs to and outputs from rendering. You can even use color management on 32-bit floating point HDR images in the Render View. Other features include the multi-camera rig tool for stereoscopic cameras and new ambient occlusion pass attributes.

MEL and Python

PyMEL is now installed with Maya. New MEL and Python commands have been added, and new flags added to existing commands.


The Maya Help now features a static navigation bar, phrasal search, and PyMEL reference documentation. This release also includes a new File Referencing tutorial, and updates to existing tutorials.


New API classes have been added, and new methods added to existing classes. For a list of new and updated API classes, as well as a list of new example plugins, see the following: