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Bifrost for Maya is here!

bifrost for maya image of colourful windstream over a cg image of a car

Bifrost makes it possible for 3D artists and TDs to create serious effects in Maya quickly and easily using a new visual programming environment.

Ready-to-Use Graphs 

From dust motes and volumetric clouds to fire and explosions, artists can explore a library of pre-built Bifrost graphs in the new Bifrost Browser to create great looking effects fast. Graphs can also be used as a starting point for creating custom effects from scratch. Users can then publish their own graphs to the Browser for other artists to easily find and re-use.

One Graph

In a single visual programming graph called the Bifrost Graph Editor, technical artists and TDs can mix nodes ranging from math operations, to file IO, particles, volumes, mesh or surface operations, and even simulations.

Realistic Previews

With Arnold integrated in Maya, artists can see exactly what their effects will look like after lighting and rendering, right in the Arnold Viewport. They can also see near-final previews of their effects in Viewport 2.0.

Not only do accurate previews reduce the potential for last minute iterations later on in production, they also provide artists with a more creatively engaging experience by making it easier to see the results of changes they make at interactive rates.

Detailed Smoke, Fire, and Explosions

New solvers for aerodynamics (Aero) and combustion make it easy for artists to create deceptively natural-looking smoke, fire, and explosions.

Simple artistic controls let artists adjust boundary conditions for effects to create more physically-accurate interactions with the surrounding scene and set up adaptivity to automatically add or remove detail depending on characteristics such as velocity, turbulence, and smoke density.

The combustion solver performs computational chemistry and thermodynamics to simulate the physical reactions of fire, flames, and explosions.

Artists can choose from an array of realworld fuels like methane and butane, and the solver automatically generates realistic outputs such as (digital) carbon monoxide and water vapor.

The Material Point Method

The Material Point Method (MPM) was made famous by its use as a snow solver in Disney’s Frozen. Autodesk teamed up with Jixie Effects, founded by members of the original research team, to develop a production-ready MPM solver. One of the key advantages of MPM is that the behavior of simulations remains consistent as resolution increases. While the original MPM work focused on granular simulation of snow, Jixie Effects has extended the Bifrost MPM solver to now tackle other phenomena, including:

  • MPM Granular – Simulates granular materials such as sand and mud, as well as snow
  • MPM Cloth – Simulates dynamic thin shells and cloth such as textiles, aluminum, and plastics
  • MPM Fibers – Simulates dynamics of each fiber (or strand) individually

High-Performance Particle System

Using particles to drive aerodynamic and combustion simulations is a common and effective workflow. Entirely crafted using visual programming, the new particle system in Bifrost adds even more power to what was previously possible with particles in Maya with the ability to now break open and customize the system as needed.

Artistic Effects with Volumes

To create a desired effect, artists often need to convert between meshes, points and volumes, and process volumes for artistic effects. Bifrost comes loaded with a number of nodes for these purposes including converting meshes, points, and particles to volumes; converting volumes back to meshes; smoothing volumes; sampling properties of volumes; and scattering points inside volumes.

Technical artists can also use visual programming to artistically process volumes including advecting volumes with noise and adding noise to a volume.

Flexible Instancing

Bifrost introduces high performance, render-oriented instancing empowering users to create enormous complexity in their scenes without having to worry about overloading memory or slowing performance. At the heart of instancing is point-based geometry.

Artists can create instances with any number of procedural and artist-driven techniques, and then apply them to scattered points, particle systems such as the MPM solver, and vertices of any other geometry. Instance shapes are flexible and can be easily adjusted using a simple selection mechanism that can select between multiple layers of variation.

For example, one layer might distinguish between grass and flowers, and another might drill down to select variations of each.

Tightly integrated with Arnold instancing and Viewport 2.0, artists can instance any renderable Bifrost geometry including meshes, volumes, strands or points, as well as fully renderable assets in the form of render archives, such as Arnold .ass files.

Detailed Hair, Fur, and Fuzz

The world is full of fibres. From hair and fur to fuzz, clothing, grass, and even dust, artists frequently need to model things consisting of multiple fibres (or strands). Bifrost makes it simple for artists to do so procedurally.

  • Using colored strands, artists can draw flowlines, vectors, and links between different elements to better understand data.
  • It’s easy to alter the way strands look with controls for adjusting thickness, color, and orientation.
  • Strands can be rendered using Arnold as either ribbons for hair shaders or cylinders for all other Arnold curve rendering options.

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