Apple CEO Steve Jobs billed Richard Kerris as the "former director of Maya Technology" during the Mac OS X part of his Macworld Expo New York 2001 keynote address yesterday. Macworld caught up with him after the address to see what he plans next.

Although Kerris spoke about Maya for OS X, he is no longer an employee, but actually a customer of Alias|Wavefront. Speaking of his departure from Alias he said it was due to "philosophical differences" with the company's board of directors. That said, Kerris insists that the departure was "amicable and professionally handled".

Jobs personally invited Kerris to take part in the keynote despite his departure from Alias. As a free-agent, Richard had considered speaking about other 3D applications as an all-round 3D guru. However, he said that he wanted to see the product - which was in many ways his baby - get as good a start as possible.

Team Maya Kerris also paid tribute to the development team - IV Nagendra and his team based in India; Ming Mah in Toronto; and Larry Coopet and Bruce Hickey in Santa Barbara - led by Andrew Pearce, the new director of Maya Technology.

Having spent some quality time with his family, Richard is now considering a number of job offers - although he was reluctant to name the favourite. He has also been working on a secret project that will ensure "movies will be made differently in the future".

The mysterious project is said to include an Academy-Award winner, an Academy-Award nominee and an Apple veteran. It will be a separate but complimentary product to Maya - and possibly other 3D applications. Richard Kerris promised more details of the project, and other news, in the coming weeks.

Maya offer In related news, Alias|Wavefront confirmed Maya for OS X will ship on September 25, and orders are already being taken at Macworld Expo in New York.

Anybody pre-ordering the high-end 3D software will get a goody bag of extras. The Productivity Pack, as it's called, includes a voucher for a free Wacom tablet, a copy of The Art of Maya, a three-button mouse, a training DVD, and a limited edition Maya Jacket.

Anybody ordering before the end of this year will receive a year of maintenance. This includes both upgrades and support for the software.

The extravagant give-away is included free, but the software will cost US$7,500. UK pricing is not yet available, but will be in line with the US pricing, according to the company.