Looks like the product pages aren’t up yet but mentions XGen.
the page is working here…
Must have went up shortly after my post!
XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator
With the extension for Maya 2014, you get access to the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator technology used by Walt Disney Animation Studios in the hit animated films Tangled, and Bolt, and by Pixar Animation Studios in Toy Story 3. XGen enables you to generate curves, spheres, and custom geometry on the surface of polygon meshes in order to create and groom hair, fur, and feathers on characters, and quickly populate large landscapes with grass, foliage, trees, rocks, and debris trails. With geometry created procedurally at render time, XGen enables you to handle large amounts of instanced data that would slow down a system if loaded in memory. The rendered effect can be previewed interactively in the Maya Viewport 2.0 hardware-accelerated display; you can control the appearance and behavior of the primitives by setting attributes, painting maps, creating expressions, or using the included XGroom interactive grooming toolset; long hair can be controlled by creating guide hairs, which can be simulated using the Maya nHair toolset.
New Retopology Toolset
The NEX modeling technology first integrated in Autodesk Maya 2014 software has been further extended to offer a streamlined workflow for retopologizing meshes; the Quad Draw tool now integrates a new Relax and Tweak feature with Soft Selection, and a new interactive Edge Extend tool. You can now optimize your meshes for cleaner deformations and better performance from a single toolset within Maya.
Maya now employs a robust and efficient new library for faster and more reliable Boolean operations on polygon geometry. The new technology has been extensively tested and optimized on a number of complex high-resolution datasets, and delivers dependable results on open surfaces.
Bullet Physics Enhancements
The Extension for Maya 2014 delivers several enhancements to the Bullet plug-in that enables you to use the open source Bullet physics engine to create large-scale, highly realistic dynamic and kinematic simulations within Maya. Delivered in conjunction with AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), the Bullet plug-in now offers the ability to create compound collision shapes from multiple meshes; produces better collisions with concave shapes, thanks to a new Hierarchical Approximate Convex Decomposition (HACD) algorithm; integrates with Maya Forces; and support rigid sets for increased scalability.
Wow, I must say with the releases of 2013.5, 2014 and 2014.5, AD has got me pretty excited about Maya and the development again.
It looks like a very solid middle-release. Can’t wait to see what xGen is like in practical terms. The notion and description sounds great, but I have no idea how it will play out in Maya.
Yep, it’s a pretty good time to be a Maya user. There’s a lot of exciting development going on behind the curtains.
Looks very cool, excited to try out the xGen stuff. I wonder if this means VP2.0 will finally support Strokes now (he asks hopefully).
Awesome … looking forward.
…also, i am very glad to see that those guys are active on NEX development and it’s getting attention and with it the whole modeling in Maya.
I just hope this kind of updates (and more) will continue in the future! Keep up the good work Autodesk, you can do it!
now if only companies would port their plugins to it
I have a hard time getting excited about any of this stuff if the rest of the industry is unwilling to bother porting to the Extension releases
Ext releases are usually binary compatible with the .0 releases, so no porting is necessary.
2013.5 was an exception (an infuriating one!) where apparently they just couldn’t for the first time in years retain binary compatibility within a major cycle, and therefore 2013 ext ended up as the largely unsupported (by plugins) release it was.
There’s no indication insofar 2014.5 will be the same, so you should be able to assume that plugins won’t be affected and won’t require porting.
That’s good. They really managed to isolate 2013.5 users from the whole world. Even renderfarm companies didn’t support 2013.5
Binary compatibility breaking in 0.5s is a major issue.
99% of the time it’s just a matter of recompiling, but ext releases being a maintenance perk and transitional for many means most will simply not bother supporting them.
AFAIK 2013.5 was an extremely rare and regrettable exception though. In general you should assume binary compatibility, and if a plugin fails for a simple 0.5 jump report it as an issue.
Again this entirely depends on what industry you work in.
2013.5 put our DX11 viewport in the hands of very large developers working on Playstation 4 and Xbox One at a time they really needed it.
I see this as one of the successes Autodesk has achieved in recent years when it comes to delevering technology when it is needed and not 2 years too late.
Sure if you work in film or non-next gen games the hassle of having to find all recompiled plugins again was not worth it. But if yoy where in the middle of getting your pipeline setup for PS4 or Xbox One I can imagine it could not come soon enough.
That is not to say we did everything perfect and there is no room for improvement. There always is.
One problem with announcing 2013.5 is we could not really communicate the importance of our choices because PS4 and Xbox One were not public knowledge.
I know there was good reason for it (discussed elsewhere), and I’m sure if the step was taken enough people needing it badly enough warranted it.
Just saying it’s exceptional and not something that should become a case of “they should stop doing it” when it only happened once in… Don’t remember how long actually.
.5s are getting somewhat weird though, 2013.5 and 2014.5 in many regards have bigger improvements than their .0 counterparts.
Is making maintenance more desirable a motivating factor or just coincidence?
The blanket binary compatibility issue across versions though is a regrettable state of things in Maya.
(some) Other apps don’t suffer for the same problem and practically every trivially interfaced plugin can live for years without a recompile, and quite a few non-trivial ones as well as long as a subdomain isn’t overhauled (IE: ICE ports in Soft one or two releases ago requiring tweaks and/or recompiles for related plugins, but not requiring we recompile EVERYTHING else ).
XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator looks interesting, is it similar to Multiscatter? All I see from the net about this is Autodesk signing the deal a couple of years ago to licence it.
I am not part of those management decisions so I cannot give you the exact answer, but to me it has mostly felt like coincidence. We look for value to add in every release and then see what things we are working on line up with an extension or full release. When we feel it is ready during that release cycle, it gets added as a new feature.
Totally agree. I am not a fan of this myself.
Our API could have been designed to not be so binary compatible sensitive.
there was an explanation of how API binary compatibility issues show up here:
The 2014 Extension is both scene and API-compatible with 2014
The XGen stuff - what actually gets sent to the renderer? Calling it a ‘Preview’ button implies this is not the final content. When dealing with RenderMan, does it do the equivalent of a DelayedReadArchive or something similar? Are we creating references using the XGen stuff and will it need an update from Pixar to work with RMS/RPS?
Anyone got a clue?
I am sure it will eventually work just fine, it is a Disney/Pixar tool after all.
thank God - binary compatibility. I can actually use V-Ray and other plugins in 2014.5