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Kuzma Vladimirov
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Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2: A Guide for 3D Artists and Animators



Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2: A Comprehensive Review




If you are a 3D artist or animator who uses Autodesk Maya, you might be wondering what's new in the latest version of this powerful software. Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2 is a subscriber-only update that adds a lot of new features and improvements to Maya, making it easier and faster to create stunning 3D content.




Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2



In this article, we will review some of the most important changes and enhancements that Maya 2016 Extension 2 brings to the table. We will also compare it with the previous version of Maya and tell you how much it costs to subscribe to this update. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of what Maya 2016 Extension 2 can do for you and whether you should get it or not.


What's New in Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2?




Maya 2016 Extension 2 introduces three major new features that expand the possibilities of rendering, shape authoring, and motion graphics in Maya. These are:


  • New Render Setup System



  • New Shape Editor and Pose Editor



  • New Motion Graphics Tools



Let's take a closer look at each of these features and see how they work.


New Render Setup System




One of the biggest challenges of working on complex 3D scenes is managing the render settings for different render layers, cameras, lights, materials, and objects. Maya 2016 Extension 2 introduces a new render setup system that simplifies this process and gives you more control and flexibility over your render settings.


The new render setup system allows you to create and manage render layers, collections, and overrides in a hierarchical and intuitive way. You can easily add, remove, rename, reorder, and group render layers and collections, as well as assign objects, materials, lights, cameras, and other attributes to them. You can also create overrides for any attribute or node in your scene, and apply them to specific render layers or collections. Overrides can be enabled, disabled, isolated, or deleted with a simple click.


The new render setup system also provides a convenient way to use templates and export/import render setups. Templates are predefined render setups that you can apply to your scene or share with others. You can create your own templates or use the ones provided by Maya. You can also export your render setup as a JSON file and import it into another scene or project.


The new render setup system is compatible with Maya's native renderer (Maya Software), as well as third-party renderers such as Arnold, V-Ray, RenderMan, etc. You can switch between different renderers without losing your render setup settings.


New Shape Editor and Pose Editor




Another major improvement in Maya 2016 Extension 2 is the new shape editor and pose editor. These are two new editors that enhance the shape authoring workflow for character rigging and animation.


The shape editor is a centralized place where you can create and edit blend shapes for your characters. Blend shapes are deformers that allow you to morph one shape into another by interpolating between different target shapes. You can use blend shapes to create facial expressions, lip sync, muscle movements, etc.


The shape editor lets you easily add, remove, rename, reorder, group, and edit blend shapes and their target shapes. You can also use the new sculpting tools to sculpt your target shapes directly in the viewport. You can also use the new blend shape deformer to create blend shapes from existing geometry or curves.


The pose editor is a new editor that allows you to create and edit pose space deformers for your characters. Pose space deformers are deformers that allow you to correct the deformation of your character's skin based on the pose of the skeleton. You can use pose space deformers to fix unwanted skinning artifacts such as volume loss, twisting, pinching, etc.


The pose editor lets you easily create poses for your character's joints and bones, and then sculpt corrective shapes for those poses. You can also use the new pose interpolator node to blend between different corrective shapes based on the angle or distance of the joints.


New Motion Graphics Tools




The third major feature that Maya 2016 Extension 2 introduces is the new motion graphics tools. These are a set of tools that enable you to create custom animations using a procedural, node-based workflow.


The motion graphics tools are based on the MASH toolset, which is a plugin that was previously available separately for Maya. MASH stands for Motion And Shape Hierarchy, and it allows you to create complex animations by applying different nodes to a set of objects or points.


The motion graphics tools include the MASH nodes, the MASH network editor, and the motion graphics toolkit. The MASH nodes are the building blocks of your animation. They are divided into four categories: generators, modifiers, falloffs, and utilities. Generators create objects or points from scratch or from existing geometry. Modifiers transform objects or points based on various parameters such as noise, curve, signal, etc. Falloffs control the influence of modifiers based on distance or proximity. Utilities perform various operations such as color, visibility, instancing, etc.


The MASH network editor is where you create and edit your MASH networks. A MASH network is a collection of MASH nodes connected together in a specific order. You can easily add, remove, reorder, and edit MASH nodes in the network editor. You can also use the MASH network editor to preview and adjust your animation in the viewport.


The motion graphics toolkit is a collection of presets, templates, and examples that you can use to create motion graphics in Maya. You can access the motion graphics toolkit from the content browser or the MASH menu. You can also create your own presets and templates and share them with others.


What's Improved in Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2?




In addition to the new features, Maya 2016 Extension 2 also brings a lot of improvements to existing features and workflows in Maya. Some of the most notable improvements are:


  • Enhanced Symmetry Modeling



  • Enhanced UV Editing



  • Enhanced Polygon Modeling



  • Enhanced Animation Performance



  • Enhanced Bifrost and XGen Features



Let's see how these improvements affect your work in Maya.


Enhanced Symmetry Modeling




If you work with symmetrical objects or characters, you will appreciate the enhanced symmetry modeling features in Maya 2016 Extension 2. These features make it easier and faster to model symmetrical objects and maintain their symmetry throughout the modeling process.


The enhanced symmetry modeling features include new symmetry options, tools, and display modes. You can now enable symmetry for any object or component in your scene, regardless of its position, orientation, or topology. You can also choose between different symmetry modes, such as world, object, topology, or radial. You can also use the new symmetry tools to create, edit, or delete symmetry planes, as well as snap or align objects or components to them. You can also use the new symmetry display modes to visualize the symmetry planes and components in the viewport.


Enhanced UV Editing




Creating and editing UVs for complex models can be a tedious and time-consuming task. Maya 2016 Extension 2 simplifies this process by providing a new UV toolkit that contains a set of tools and options for UV editing. The new UV toolkit is a dockable window that you can access from the UV editor or the modeling menu.


The new UV toolkit lets you easily perform common UV editing operations, such as cut, sew, unfold, layout, align, straighten, etc. You can also use the new UV shell display to see the UV shells of your model in different colors and sizes. You can also use the new UV layout options to optimize the distribution and packing of your UV shells based on various criteria, such as area, shape, resolution, etc.


Enhanced Polygon Modeling




Polygon modeling is one of the most fundamental and versatile skills in 3D modeling. Maya 2016 Extension 2 provides more flexibility and control over polygon modeling operations by adding new modeling tools and enhancing existing ones.


The new modeling tools include bevel, bridge, poke face, cut faces tool, quad draw tool, multi-cut tool, etc. These tools allow you to create and edit polygons with more precision and ease. You can also use the enhanced modeling tools such as extrude, insert edge loop tool, target weld tool, etc. These tools have been improved to provide more options and feedback for your modeling actions. Enhanced Animation Performance




Animating complex scenes and characters can be a demanding task that requires a lot of computing power and memory. Maya 2016 Extension 2 improves the playback speed and interactivity of your animations by introducing new evaluation modes, parallel rig evaluation, GPU override, and other performance enhancements.


The new evaluation modes allow you to choose how Maya evaluates your scene during playback. You can choose between DG, Serial, or Parallel modes, depending on the complexity and interactivity of your scene. The DG mode is the default mode that evaluates the scene in a dependency graph order. The Serial mode is a faster mode that evaluates the scene in a linear order. The Parallel mode is the fastest mode that evaluates the scene in multiple threads.


The parallel rig evaluation is a feature that allows Maya to evaluate your character rigs in parallel threads, instead of serially. This can significantly improve the playback speed and interactivity of your character animations, especially if you have multiple characters in your scene. You can enable parallel rig evaluation from the preferences or the evaluation toolkit.


The GPU override is a feature that allows Maya to use the GPU to perform certain operations that are normally done by the CPU, such as deformers, constraints, dynamics, etc. This can also improve the playback speed and interactivity of your animations, especially if you have a powerful GPU. You can enable GPU override from the preferences or the evaluation toolkit.


Enhanced Bifrost and XGen Features




Bifrost and XGen are two features that allow you to create realistic simulations and effects in Maya. Bifrost is a fluid simulation engine that lets you create liquids, foam, splashes, mist, etc. XGen is a geometry instancing engine that lets you create hair, fur, feathers, grass, etc. Maya 2016 Extension 2 expands the capabilities of these features by adding new options and tools.


The new Bifrost features include adaptive foam, guided liquid simulation, aerodynamic forces, surface tension, viscosity, adaptive meshing, etc. These features allow you to create more realistic and detailed fluid simulations with more control and flexibility. You can also use the new Bifrost graph editor to create custom nodes and graphs for your simulations.


The new XGen features include interactive grooming tools, clumping modifiers, expression editor, preset browser, etc. These features allow you to create more natural and varied hair and fur effects with more ease and efficiency. You can also use the new XGen graph editor to create custom nodes and graphs for your effects.


What's the Price of Autodesk Maya 2016 Extension 2?




If you are interested in getting Maya 2016 Extension 2, you might be wondering how much it costs and what are the benefits of subscribing to it. Here are some answers to these questions.


Maya 2016 Extension 2 is a subscriber-only update that is available for Maya users who have an active subscription or maintenance plan. If you already have a subscription or maintenance plan for Maya 2016 or earlier versions, you can download and install Maya 2016 Extension 2 for free from your Autodesk account.


If you don't have a subscription or maintenance plan for Maya, you can purchase one from Autodesk or an authorized reseller. The price of a subscription or maintenance plan for Maya varies depending on the type and duration of the plan. For example, a monthly subscription for Maya costs $195 USD per month, while an annual subscription costs $1545 USD per year.


The benefits of subscribing to Maya 2016 Extension 2 include:


  • Access to the latest features and improvements in Maya



  • Access to previous versions of Maya



  • Access to technical support and online resources



  • Access to cloud services and storage



  • Access to other Autodesk products and services



You can also check out the Autodesk website for more information on the pricing and benefits of subscribing to Maya 2016 Extension 2.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Maya 2016 Extension 2 is a powerful update that adds a lot of new features and improvements to Maya, making it easier and faster to create stunning 3D content. Whether you are into rendering, shape authoring, motion graphics, modeling, animation, simulation, or effects, you will find something useful and exciting in this update.


If you are a subscriber or maintenance plan holder for Maya 2016 or earlier versions, you can download and install Maya 2016 Extension 2 for free from your Autodesk account. If you are not a subscriber or maintenance plan holder for Maya, you can purchase a subscription or maintenance plan for Maya from Autodesk or an authorized reseller. The price of a subscription or maintenance plan for Maya varies depending on the type and duration of the plan.


We hope that this article has given you a comprehensive review of Maya 2016 Extension 2 and its features, improvements, and pricing. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading and happy creating!


FAQs




Here are some common questions that readers might have about Maya 2016 Extension 2:


  • Q: How can I download and install Maya 2016 Extension 2?



  • A: If you are a subscriber or maintenance plan holder for Maya 2016 or earlier versions, you can download and install Maya 2016 Extension 2 from your Autodesk account. You will need to sign in with your Autodesk ID and password, and then go to the Products & Services section. There you will find the download link and installation instructions for Maya 2016 Extension 2.



  • Q: How can I learn more about the new features and improvements in Maya 2016 Extension 2?



  • A: You can learn more about the new features and improvements in Maya 2016 Extension 2 by visiting the Autodesk website, where you will find detailed documentation, tutorials, videos, blogs, forums, and other resources. You can also check out the What's New in Maya 2016 Extension 2 video on YouTube, which gives you a quick overview of the main changes and enhancements in this update.



  • Q: How can I get help or support for Maya 2016 Extension 2?



  • A: If you need help or support for Maya 2016 Extension 2, you can contact Autodesk's technical support team, which is available 24/7 by phone, chat, or email. You can also visit the Autodesk Knowledge Network, where you will find answers to common questions, troubleshooting tips, best practices, and other useful information. You can also join the Autodesk Community, where you can interact with other Maya users and experts, share your work, get feedback, and learn from each other.



  • Q: How can I give feedback or suggestions for Maya 2016 Extension 2?



  • A: If you have any feedback or suggestions for Maya 2016 Extension 2, you can share them with Autodesk by using the Feedback Tool in Maya. You can access the Feedback Tool from the Help menu or the status line in Maya. The Feedback Tool allows you to send your comments, ideas, bug reports, or feature requests directly to Autodesk's development team. You can also attach screenshots or files to your feedback.



  • Q: How can I stay updated on the latest news and developments for Maya 2016 Extension 2?



  • A: You can stay updated on the latest news and developments for Maya 2016 Extension 2 by following Autodesk's social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. You can also subscribe to Autodesk's newsletters and blogs, which will keep you informed about new features, updates, events, webinars, etc. You can also check out Autodesk's YouTube channel, where you will find videos on various topics related to Maya and other Autodesk products.



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