Alias has announced Maya 6.5, the newest version of the industry-standard 3D and special effects application.

The release delivers performance improvements and will be available this month.

The company explained: "By re-architecting the software to boost performance across the package, Alias has prepared Maya to provide the power and reliability to work with the heaviest models, scenes and animation data."

“This latest version of Maya proves the dedication of Alias to meet the needs of the game development community,” said Stephen White, programming director, Naughty Dog.

Alias has introduced new scene segmentation features to Maya. These offer artists more control over scene load times, project collaboration and overall data-handling performance.

Scene segmentation enhancements include new file referencing options such as proxies, reference locking and the ability to save changes back to a reference, as well as enhancements to existing file referencing features.

Additionally, the range of large CAD datasets that can be imported into Maya 6.5 has been expanded through the addition of the new STEP translator that allows efficient importing of files from most major CAD packages.

Maya 6.5 is loaded with performance improvements throughout key areas of the software, which assists artists in dealing more effectively with their large scenes and datasets.

Alias is introducing a new network rendering option that supplements the mental ray rendering capabilities within Maya 6.5 by taking advantage of the processing power of other networked computers.

Maya Complete 6.5 costs $1,999. Maya Unlimited costs $6,999. Upgrade pricing is $899 for Maya Complete and $1,249 for Maya Unlimited. UK prices unavailable at present.