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Chapter 1. Using Maya Well > Your Development - Pg. 6

Using Maya Well 6 As their markets and products evolved, Wavefront and Alias developed other niches, but they didn't last long. Driven by the need to match competitors' features, the companies kept innovating and imitating, trying to land the biggest share of the market. Sometimes they simply bought the com- petition, as when Wavefront purchased Abel Image Research in 1988 and Thompson Digital Images (TDI) in 1993. At other times, they played leapfrog with features such as particle systems and dy- namics. The competitive forces were ultimately healthy for both companies, at least as far as the products go. With their merger in 1995, Alias and Wavefront could combine their knowledge and experience to develop a fresh new product. With such a project (coding a fresh entertainment-oriented product) already in the works at Alias, it was almost an obvious solution to bring in the expertise of the Wavefront personnel. Presented to the world in 1998, the happy parents named their new baby Maya and changed the industry. Maya was an immediate success. Designed for flexibility, raw power, ease of use, and extensibility, Maya made life easier for a great many animators. Industrial designers might still use the Studio and AutoStudio products for complex surfacing, but animators flocked to Maya. Things that had previously required complex coding were now accessible through graphical interfaces. Tab A could be moved from Slot A to Slots B or C painlessly. The guts of the product itself were viewable and alterable, thanks to a powerful new language, MEL. Maya took the tools and experience of the previous products and presented new and easier solutions to problems--and then tackled entirely new problems. Maya changed the computer graphics business. Once the private reserve of only particularly well- funded enterprises, Maya brought more power and value. Now within reach of even the serious hobbyist, Maya has made its powers of illusion available to a market hungry for more and better media content. Maya is growing up very well.