At SIGGRAPH, Autodesk announced a new visual programming environment in Maya called Bifrost, which makes it possible for 3D artists and technical directors to create serious effects quickly and easily.
“Bifrost for Maya represents a major development milestone for Autodesk, giving artists powerful tools for building feature-quality VFX quickly,” says Chris Vienneau, senior director, Maya and Media & Entertainment Collection. “With visual programming at its core, Bifrost makes it possible for TDs to build custom effects that are reusable across shows. We’re also rolling out an array of ready-to-use graphs to make it easy for artists to get 90% of the way to a finished effect fast. Ultimately, we hope Bifrost empowers Maya artists to streamline the creation of anything from smoke, fire and fuzz to high-performance particle systems.”
Bifrost highlights include:
- Ready-to-Use Graphs: Artists can quickly create state-of-the-art effects that meet today’s quality demands.
- One Graph: In a single visual programming graph, users can combine nodes ranging from math operations to simulations.
- Realistic Previews: Artists can see exactly how effects will look after lighting and rendering right in the Arnold Viewport in Maya.
- Detailed Smoke, Fire and Explosions: New physically-based solvers for aerodynamics and combustion make it easy to create natural-looking fire effects.
- The Material Point Method: The new MPM solver helps artists tackle realistic granular, cloth and fiber simulations.
- High-Performance Particle System: A new particle system crafted entirely using visual programming adds power and scalability to particle workflows in Maya.
- Artistic Effects with Volumes: Bifrost comes loaded with nodes that help artists convert between meshes, points and volumes to create artistic effects.
- Flexible Instancing: High-performance, rendering-friendly instancing empowers users to create enormous complexity in their scenes.
- Detailed Hair, Fur and Fuzz: Artists can now model things consisting of multiple fibers (or strands) procedurally.
Bifrost is available for download now and works with any version of Maya 2018 or later. It will also be included in the installer for Maya 2019.2 and later versions. Updates to Bifrost between Maya releases will be available for download from Autodesk AREA.
In addition to the release of Bifrost, Autodesk highlighted the latest versions of Shotgun, Arnold, Flame and 3ds Max. The company gave a tech preview of a new secure enterprise Shotgun that supports network segregation and customer-managed media isolation on AWS, making it possible for the largest studios to collaborate in a closed-network pipeline in the cloud. Shotgun Create, now out of beta, delivers a cloud-connected desktop experience, making it easier for artists and reviewers to see which tasks demand attention while providing a collaborative environment to review media and exchange feedback accurately and efficiently. Arnold 5.4 adds important updates to the GPU renderer, including OSL and OpenVDB support, while Flame 2020.1 introduces more uses of AI with new Sky Extraction tools and specialized image segmentation features. Also on display, the 3ds Max 2020.1 update features modernized procedural tools for 3D modeling.