Alias Systems Corporation (formerly Alias|Wavefront), headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was a software company that produced high-end 3D graphics software. The company was formed in 1995 when Silicon Graphics bought Alias Research, which was founded in 1983, and Wavefront Technologies, founded in 1984, then merged the two companies. It is now owned by Autodesk, the producers of AutoCAD and 3ds Max.
Alias' best known product, the 3D modeling and animation package Maya, was delivered in 1998 and has released a major upgrade every 9-12 months. The last release made by Alias was Maya 7.0. Since the purchase by Autodesk all versions after 8.5 use a year-based naming convention, e.g. Maya2008. Other significant products include; the industrial design package StudioTools (formerly known as Studio, or just "Alias"), which is used extensively in the automotive, aerospace and industrial design industries, a 2D drawing and sketching application called SketchBook Pro, and back in 1992, an early Macintosh based 3D modelling and rendering package called Sketch!, etc.
On March 1, 2003, the company was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an Oscar for scientific and technical achievement for their development of Maya software. Wavefront Technologies founders Bill Kovacs and Roy A. Hall received a 1997 Academy Award for the creative leadership (Kovacs) and the principal engineering (Hall) efforts that led to the Wavefront Advanced Visualizer computer graphics system.
Later in 2003, the company's name was changed from Alias|Wavefront to Alias. In June 2004, Silicon Graphics sold Alias to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Accel-KKR, a technology-focused private equity investment firm, for US$57.1 million. In September 2004, Alias acquired Kaydara, adding the company's character animation and motion editing products to Alias' line of software.
Acquisition by Autodesk
On October 4, 2005, Autodesk, makers of 3ds Max and AutoCAD drafting software, announced plans to acquire Alias in a cash acquisition valued at US$182 million. On January 10, 2006, Autodesk completed the acquisition of Alias for US$197 million in cash.
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