Alias Systems Corporation

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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 became part of Autodesk in 2006.


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! (Sketch![1] was the precursor of Alias Maya (it provided the basis of the core NURBS editing tools), which in turn was based on a product that the company bought, and its key developer went to work for Alias.)

On March 1, 2003, the company was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an Academy Award (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.[2] 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.[3] In September 2004, Alias acquired Kaydara, adding the company's character animation and motion editing products to Alias' line of software.

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.[4][5] On January 10, 2006, Autodesk completed the acquisition of Alias for US$197 million in cash.


  1. ^ "Alias Sketch! v1.5 - Macintosh Repository". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  2. ^ Teggart, Donna; Kernahan, Heather (July 17, 2003). "Alias/Wavefront Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Announces Name Change to Alias" (Press release). Toronto: Alias. Business Wire. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Transaction Increases Focus on SGI Core Systems Business, Boosts Liquidity". Press release. April 15, 2004. Archived from the original on May 2, 2004. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  4. ^ Cohen, Peter (October 4, 2005). "Autodesk acquires Alias". PC World.
  5. ^ "Autodesk Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Alias". Press Release. Autodesk. October 4, 2005. Archived from the original on 2013-10-04. Retrieved September 7, 2013.

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