Autodesk Maya Student Version 2023 Download Guide for Mac/PC

As a professional filmmaker, Maya should be one of the most important programs to have in your arsenal. Maya is a 3D animation and visual effects software that lets you create complex characters and dazzling effects.

This quick tutorial will guide you through the process of downloading and installing the latest student version of Autodesk Maya for 2023.

The software development company Autodesk has introduced Maya 2023 edition for education purposes in Match 2022. Due to its vast number of features and overwhelming complexity, there is a significant time required for a newbie to get familiar with the software. For a student wanting to learn the program, it’s understandable to look for free ways to access it. Especially considering the not-so-affordable $225 monthly subscription price.

Run Microsoft apps on Mac with Parallels (50% OFF for students).

Whether you want to develop games or create epic movies for a living, Maya’s got your back. Besides the ability to create 3D models, simulations, and rendering, it has the complete toolset to quickly create stunning motion graphics, animations and effects. With Create VR app addon, you can create virtual reality scenes using simple curve and surface tools. Several Oscar-winning movies, such as Avengers: Infinity War and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, have utilized this tool to create breathtaking scenes.

System requirements

Maya is not a lightweight program, so you will need to have a computer that will have the capacity and performance not only to install the program but to perform heavy tasks such as rendering effectively. Generally, an SSD hard disk, lots of RAM and a high-performing graphic card are essential for any video editing software, not just this one. Here you can find the system requirements for each version. Maya 2023 requires Windows version 11 or 10, or MacOS of 10.14 or later, RAM of at least 8GB (16GB recommended), available disk space of 7GB for installation, 64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor with SSE4.2 or Apple Mac with M chip, one of the certified graphics hardware found on this page.

Windows configuration check

To see how much RAM your computer has, right-click on the Task Bar and click Task Manager. Then, click on the Performance tab and then Memory in the left panel.

To see what CPU is in your PC, go to Settings/System/About and under the Device specification, you’ll find the name of the processor and its speed.

Graphic hardware specification can be found by going to System information from the Start menu, then in the upper left corner, click on the + sign next to Components, and then click on Display in the expanded list. This will give you the name, type and ID of your graphic card.

Mac configuration check

With Apple devices, the process is much simpler. Go to Apple Menu / About This Mac and your get an overview of your Mac configuration.

How to Download Student Version of Maya

The educational license of Maya for students and teachers gives you access to the software for up to 3 years (yearly eligibility renewal). Here are the steps to follow: 

  1. Go to Autodesk Education page and click on the “Get Started” button
  2. On the next page, either sign in if you already have an account or click “CREATE ACCOUNT” if you are new
  3. Enter your personal information as well as information related to your field of study and the name of your educational institution
  4. Once you have access to Autodesk Education Community, pick the version you want to download based on your computer’s operating system and language
  5. Note down the serial key and product number. It will be shown on the screen and sent to the email address you have entered during the signup process
  6. Click on “BROWSER DOWNLOAD”
  7. Once the executable file is downloaded to your computer, open it and follow the installation instructions
  8. During the installation, you will be asked to enter the product key and serial number
  9. Once the installation is complete, open the software to activate the license

Keep in mind that every year Autodesk will review your details to see if you are still eligible to have an educational account and access.

Also, products enrolled in education programs constantly change. They regularly add and remove products from the program, so be sure to check regularly. 

The education version is only for non-commercial purposes. If you wish to charge for services or use it in a studio, you will need to purchase a commercial license which is available as a one-time purchase or as a monthly subscription.

Software features

Here’s why people choose Maya over other similar software:

  • Develop simulation with physical accuracy
  • Create realistic 3D models with geometry using edges, faces and vertices
  • Setup characters with lifelike performances and sophisticated skeletons
  • See scene changes in real-time with Arnold renderer with materials, lighting and cameras.
  • Review changes faster using cached playback 
  • Create, view and modify animations
  • And much more

You can see the full list of features here.

Best Autodesk Maya Alternatives

Blender – Free open source 3D modeling solution that covers many areas such as game development, video editing, rendering, simulation, animation, 3D modeling, rigging, motion tracking and more. Compared to Maya, it’s easier to set up, the support is superior and the software is more usable overall. While Maya is the industry standard for modeling and animation, Blender is still a good fit for small studios and startup projects.

Wings3D – Free and open source but only for modeling as it doesn’t support animations.

SketchUp – Geared towards architects, interior design and engineering. Freemium model.

Recap

Compared to other software companies, Autodesk has a generous policy when it comes to giving its products for educational purposes. Not only do you get 3-year access but also the ability to try many other products other than Maya. The list of software available for students always changes, so be sure to check Autodesk’s education page regularly. All you have to do is create a free education account by including information such as the field of study and the name of your educational institution.

Alexei Miron
Lead content writer and tech enthusiast bringing a decade of experience in the software industry to students. Father of two little princesses and a passionate table tennis player.