Autodesk Maya  2016 is a state-of-the-art 3D modeling, animation, and visual effects package. It has exceptional modeling, animation, rendering, particles, hair and fur, cloth, fluids capabilities and more. It can be used interactively with its graphical user interface on Windows PCs, programs can be written in MEL (Maya Embedded Language) scripting language as well as Python and C, and batch rendering jobs can be run on the SCC once Maya is installed there.

Maya is flexible and can be used any time 3D modeling and/or animation is required for either scientific or artistic work. There are a variety of output forms – fully animated and rendered mono or stereoscopic movies; single still frame images; 3D animated geometry sequences may be imported into immersive environments. Models can be exported for 3D printing.

Highlights: Maya is a state-of-the-art interactive package for creating computer graphics and animation. The learning curve can be steep but Maya is common in a variety of disciplines and industries, learning materials are plentiful, and the high-quality results are worth it.

Availability and Setup

Boston University has an educational institution site license for a range of Autodesk software including Maya, 3ds Max,  AutoCAD, and others. If you are an individual or department interested in using one of these products through the BU license server, please contact us at

Autodesk has a generous student and educators program and properly qualified people can download the software for free. See the Autodesk Education Community pages for more information.

Using Maya under Linux

To run Maya interactively on a Linux workstation where it is installed, type maya at the prompt.

Once Maya is installed on the SCC, batch rendering jobs may be submitted to the Shared Computing Cluster (SCC) using the command Render in a batch script. Type Render -h on the command line for a complete listing of the arguments.  For more information on writing a batch script for the SCC, send email to

Additional Help/Documentation

Full documentation and several tutorials are available within Maya Help.

Online, the Autodesk Maya site has many resources. Of special interest are the AREA and the Knowledge Network.

Questions, problems, or getting started (for Boston University Maya users)? Email