Alias|Wavefront's Maya Personal Learning Edition is available for download.

This is a complete working version of Maya for Mac OS X, custom-built to offer a training path for graphics and animation students interested in learning 3D design and animation. Alias|Wavefront announced plans to release the solution at Macworld Expo, San Francisco in January this year.

This is a limited version of Maya - it watermarks files and saves them in a non-commercial file formats. However, all other functions are complete, including NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) modelling, animation, Maya Artisan, Maya Paint Effects, particles, dynamics and Maya's advanced rendering-capabilities. The solution can export 3D content using Macromedia's Shockwave 3D. This version of Maya cannot be used with standard plug-ins, however.

The company has opened a Web-based resource centre offering access to a variety of learning materials, discussion forums, and a content exchange, where users can share work. There's also a series of galleries for exhibiting work.

Alias|Wavefront plans to let Maya Learning Edition users renew licenses annually. The solution is available for download today. A CD version will be available in March for direct distribution. This will cost $5 plus shipping and handling.