Autodesk has announced updates to its media and entertainment tools, including Autodesk Maya, 3ds Max, Bifrost, and Arnold with support for Apple Silicon and an AI powered Beta of Maya Assist.

Autodesk says the updates will help with “streamlining post-production and games pipelines” and “further open standards and bolster artist-driven animation, modeling, and simulation workflows. They also boost performance with support for Apple Silicon. On top of that, we’re collaborating with Adobe to build a material standard, and with Microsoft to unveil a beta version of AI-powered Maya Assist.”

“Whether they’re working on the next big blockbuster, streaming content, or games, our customers use a lot of different tools to get productions out the door. It’s a top priority for us at Autodesk to help connect their workflows, so they can work nimbly and efficiently across teams and projects,” said Diana Colella, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “That’s why we’ve focused our development efforts on integrating open standards like USD, LookDevX, and OCIO across our tools. We’re excited to continue on this path, building deeper connections between our solutions and third party tools, so that our customers have truly connected workflows for collaboration.”

LookDevX, a new agnostic material editor in Maya, standardises material workflows, allowing artists to “create complex shading networks that can be shared freely and accurately throughout studio pipelines” enabling artists to “author a variety of materials like USDShade, Material X, and Arnold that can then be used by other artists across multiple projects.”

Changes to modelling and colour management in 3ds Max include a new Boolean modifier that “offers a modern and intuitive way to produce clean geometry, and updates to the Array modifier help create beautiful, nature-like scenes, procedurally.”

Updated colour management tools built around the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) and OpenColorIO (OCIO), “give artists complete control over colours with Colour Management. From Viewport to final render, colours are predictable and consistent, so artists know that colours match and align at every phase of production.”

On top of LookDevX and Hydra for Maya, Maya gains new tools and workflows across its animation, modeling, and simulation toolsets including updates to Retopologize and the Boolean toolset and streamlined animation tools, including a redesigned Time Slider, make navigating and editing animations “more fluid and intuitive.” Bifrost, Maya’s visual programming environment, “offers visual effects artists a complete overhaul of viewport volume rendering, using new, state-of-the-art NanoVTT technology, as well as MPM Gel, a cool new capability that simulates substances such as soft-serve ice cream.”

Maya–including Bifrost and Arnold for Maya–now also runs natively on Apple Silicon.

Autodesk has also unveiled an AI-powered private beta of Maya Assist, which provides a new way of interacting with Maya scene data using Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service. This allows artists to automatically manipulate scenes using natural language text prompts directly in Maya. The private beta launches on April 5. To apply, visit:

To help standardise workflows and enable smoother interoperability across tools, Autodesk is working to bring Autodesk Standard Surface and Adobe Standard Material into one new material model that can be used across product portfolios and adopted by the wider industry. Autodesk is  “actively engaging with the MaterialX governance group to ensure that the new model can be integrated and fully encoded within a MaterialX node graph.”



Jon Creamer

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