Autodesk has debuted a feature-rich Bifrost for Maya update for more streamlined and flexible workflows, including the debut of the open source Bifrost-USD integration. Developed to drive open industry standards and help creative facilities produce content more efficiently to meet growing audience demand, the Bifrost update further introduces a host of simulation, scattering, and USD workflow enhancements for Autodesk’s node-based visual programming system for procedural creation.
“We are following up our release of the Operator SDK in Bifrost with a powerful demonstration of what it can do: we used it to create all of the Bifrost-USD integration,” said Bifrost Senior Product Manager Jonah Friedman. “With Bifrost-USD open sourced, our users can build the whole Maya-USD ecosystem including Arnold-USD and Maya-USD to make them work with their own USD core. They can use it as a code example – more than a code example, as it’s an example of a real production project. They could even implement their own features.”
The new Bifrost update includes the following feature highlights:
- Open Source Bifrost-USD: Bifrost-USD is now available as an open-source USD ecosystem within Maya or as a standalone project on GitHub. The Bifrost-USD project includes wrapped USD types that flow in the graph, ability to monitor USD low-level operators, translation tables to handle integration with the host DCC, compounds that expose Bifrost-USD functionality to users, documentation, tests to ensure all components are functioning correctly, and custom USD tools and builds to improve pipeline flexibility and scalability.
- Redesigned Backdrops and Sticky Notes: A complete overhaul of backdrops introduces more functional and aesthetic annotations. Backdrops enable teams to outline, identify, and separate notable areas in graphs, while sticky notes are ideal for annotating comments and instructions for more efficient communication among teams.
- Enhanced UI Editing: Widgets like sliders, colour pickers, and a new combo box can now be added to artists’ compounds without requiring any coding.
- Upgraded MPM Simulation: Introduction of new collider stickiness makes it easier and more intuitive for artists to create a snowball impact with the desired amount of snow left clinging to the wall. Additionally, new per-particle activation supports complex disintegration effects, as well as location-based activation for efficient footstep simulations in large environments.
- Streamlined Simulation Diagnostics and Scopes: To streamline physics simulations, a unified set of diagnostic tools have been added to MPM and Aero, allowing artists to visualise velocities, temperatures, and more, and explore the solver’s internal state to understand the physics behind the effects.
- Low-Overhead Evaluation: Various overheads have been reduced to improve performance, including arrays of input data that increased the speed to run a graph by 30-fold. These improvements are most important for the Bifrost Board node, but also apply to the Bifrost Graph Shape node.
- Bifrost Geometry, Property Transfer and Alembic Improvements: To simplify creating complex geometry algorithms from scratch, new property transfer helps teams streamline use of custom properties, while creating a first bath of procedural geometry compounds in the process. This includes basic compounds – such as delete and filter points, faces, and strands – each able to preserve UVs, normal, and any user data. It also includes separate mesh, detach faces, and add points. Additionally, Bifrost’s Alembic implementation features improved performance with indexed properties, including UVs and face vertex normals to better preserve user data. A one-click solution also now converts Bifrost data into a Maya mesh.
Get Bifrost with a standalone Maya subscription or with the Autodesk Media and Entertainment Collection. View the Bifrost release notes for further information, and find the Bifrost-USD project on GitHub. Additional details on the evolution of Bifrost are available in What’s New in Maya, and free tutorials can be found on the Maya Learning Channel.