Well, only a few YEARS behind the rest of the pack, Autodesk finally got Maya up to speed with the rest of the world for modeling (and a bit for rigging), and also gave Mudbox a much-needed upgrade. Some of my favorites:
- NEX got integrated!!! Finally, some real modeling tools that do the things that modelers need done every single day.
- Automatic joint placement - placing a joint is finally somewhat natural, where the computer actually does some of the thinking for you and places the joint in the middle of the volume where you are clicking, and in miror mode nonetheless. Modo had this 2 versions (years) ago. Just sayin' ;)
- Smart Decimation - lowers the poly count while not creating an absolute mess that is pretty much unusable.
- RETOPOLOGY! It's basically been the main thing that modelers need now with the advent of Mudbox, ZBrush, and 3DCoat. Sculpting is great and all, but it's useless for animation unless you can make the mesh lightweight and usable.
- Directed retopology - draw lines on the surface and have the algorithm obey the guides (a la 3DCoat and QRemesher)
- Fully Automatic retopology - let Mudbox figure it out. It looks like it does a pretty darn good job.
I still believe that these additions are awesome, but I'm still worrisome that this big, bloated behemoth that is Maya is still not quite nimble enough to stay with some of the more streamlined programs. Since I have to use it every day, let's hope that I'm wrong.