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I received an email (and a tip submission; thanks ppmax!) with a press release from Maya about a new free version of Maya, a $7,500 animation system. Here's a snippet from the release:
San Francisco - January 7, 2002 - Alias|Wavefront today announced that it is developing the Maya Personal Learning Edition which will provide users of Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows with unlimited, free access to Maya. Maya Personal Learning Edition will give 3D graphics and animation students, current industry professionals, and those interested in breaking into the world of computer graphics (CG) an opportunity to explore the award-winning Maya Complete software, in a non-commercial capacity. Maya Personal Learning Edition will be available in February of 2002.
If you've never seen Maya in action, it's simply amazing. I spent quite a bit of time near their booth at MacWorld, just watching what this software can do. It's certainly not something you'll pick up in five minutes' usage time, but it is a very powerful package that can create some very powerful visuals. This new Personal Learning Edition is a great way to get your feet wet without first writing a very large check!

If you're interested, Alias|Wavefront has an information page on their site where you can sign up for an email reminder when the Personal Edition is available for download. I can't wait to try this package out for myself...
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Start a petition for Maya OS X
Authored by: chaseter on Jan 10, '02 11:44:08AM

I wonder if Alias could be persuaded to make their OS X version available under the same learning program? I don't see why not. I would love to get my hands on the Mac version rather than run it on Windows 2000 or NT. Wouldn't you agree?

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Pay attention.
Authored by: Chas on Jan 10, '02 12:33:16PM

You didn't read that closely enough. The press release IS for a MacOS X version. There has been a 30-day time-limited demo of Maya 4 available for a long time, but there has never been a demo version of Maya 3.5 for MacOS X. This will be the first version.
Personally, I'd rather see A|W put their efforts into producing a MacOS X version of Maya 4 Unlimited. The current MacOS X version lacks basic features like bevels and booleans that are the mainstay of Maya 4. Most people select this package for the advanced features like Maya Cloth and Maya Fur, which are not available on the Mac.

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