How to Download Your Free Student Copy of Maya

For newcomers to the VFX industry, and especially for our students starting out with us at Escape Studios, it’s important to remember that Autodesk, who make the software Maya, offer an education copy of Maya for free, which can be downloaded from the official Autodesk site.

Autodesk Maya has been the dominant software package in VFX for over 20 years. I first used Maya 1.0 on “The Iron Giant”, back in 1998. And today it remains the most powerful package for 3D Modelling and animation, still the most widely used in industry.

Maya Student License

Our students can get hold of a free student license for Maya, which is restricted to non-commercial use. The license lasts for 3 years; you won’t need it longer than that because each year Autodesk releases a new version of the software.

Autodesk Maya “Indie License” – for Commercial Use

Autodesk has also launched a “Maya Indie License“, allowing students who have learned to animate using the free student version of the software to enter the marketplace at the much-reduced price of £275.

This is great news for our graduates; with this new license Autodesk offers junior digital artists the chance to “become a pro at a price you can afford”.  The idea is that recent graduates, freelancers, hobbyists and those starting out in the industry have a more affordable option to use the software.

Eligibility for Indie License

  • Your annual gross revenue from design work must be less than USD$100,000 per year
  • Only one license can be used per user or organization
  • You must be based in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK or the USA

The automatic renewal will be turned off before your annual subscription of Maya Indie expires. You may check your automatic renewal setting by going to your Autodesk Account.

What kind of laptop should our students buy?

Software & Hardware
To see more about software & hardware in the VFX industry, see the following blog posts:


The Escape Studios VFX Blog offers a personal view on the art of visual effects.

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