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Maya 2017 Overview

Maya 2017 Overview

What’s new in Maya 2017 and why it’s unique in terms of features compared to earlier versions? We are not implying that older versions of Maya especially from 2011 are not usable they are solid until today and future proof to 5 or more years but Maya 2017 packs interesting upgrades that can make the die-hard skeptic reconsider his idea.


First remember MASH? The Motion Graphics plug-in designed by Mainframe it was sold for older versions of Maya well Autodesk bought the product and refined it now it’s available in Maya 2017 as its motion graphics pipeline tool this alone can make you reconsider Maya 2017.

Arnold Render Engine

Render Speed

I use Mental Ray all the time, indeed Mental Ray is a solid Rendering Engine it was bundled with Maya since I don’t remember Maya version 6 in 2004 maybe when it was labeled Alias Maya, Mental Ray still was bundled with Maya until version 2016, but in 2017 there is a change Arnold now is your render engine. I was wondering why maybe giving the speed pump Arnold delivers over Mental Ray it might be a viable choice however I tested Arnold on the same machine I tested Mental Ray on and there was a slight increase in performance not that of an eye opener.

Render Quality

Arnold Render Quality was comparable to mental ray but with less tweaking. Often in MR I need to tweak the settings to get faster renders in Arnold it’s almost set for you just have to adjust how many samples you need.

Arnold IPR

Interactive Preview Rendering IPR in Arnold is almost 3x the speed of Mental Ray so if you want to preview faster Arnold will serve you in this arena.


Although Bifrost Fluid Simulation was included in earlier versions but it was enhanced further more in Maya 2017.


Now Maya has Workspaces one for each pipeline, this is a nice added feature to separate different pipeline workflows from each other which will increase efficiency.

Better UV Tools

There is a noticeable upgrades to UV tools in this version.

Refined XGen

You will find more features to XGen instancing tools.

New Graph Editor

The new Graph Editor is refined and modern you will feel more comfortable working with grapghs and anchor points with the new Graph Editor, it’s easier to work with than the classic one.


Maya 2017 added more performance to modeling tools and overall the tool feels lighter than say 2015 or 2016.


Should someone upgrade? If you are a professional who can get your job done with older versions of Maya, Maya 2017 will not add much since you certainly use a pipeline of tools to get the project done, but giving the features added to Maya 2017 you can get rid of half of those tools and use Maya to finish the job, for example Bifrost Fluid Simulations can add high quality Fluid Dynamics to your pipeline instead of using RealFlow, and MASH can add motion graphics capabilities instead of using Cinema 4D Mograph. XGEN also can save you from using plug-ins to generate instances of Objects.

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