Autodesk Bifrost for Maya Proceduralises and Automates VFX Creation

Autodesk Bifrost Strands

Artists can use Bifrost to model elements consisting of multiple fibres or strands procedurally.

Based on visual programming, TDs can use Autodesk Bifrost for Maya to build and customise effects, and then reuse them for different projects. A library of pre-built Bifrost scene graphs, about 90% complete, has been released at the same time, viewable in the Bifrost Browser, as starting point for creating custom effects from scratch. Users can then publish their graphs to the Browser for other artists in their studio or team to locate and re-use.  

Using the Bifrost Graph Editor, a single visual programming graph can be built to handle scattering, instancing, deformation, volume processing, dynamic simulation and so on without changing context or your graph relations.

Artists have new physically-based solvers in Bifrost for aerodynamics and combustion to create very realistic smoke, fire and explosions. Artistic controls are included to adjust boundary conditions to allow them to interact in a physically accurate way with the rest of the scene, and to set up automatic adaption for the level of detail according to velocity, turbulence and smoke density.

Autodesk Bifrost Instancing

Bifost instancing

The combustion solver performs computational chemistry and thermodynamics to simulate the physical reactions of fire and explosions. By choosing from different fuels like methane and butane, the solver automatically creates realistic smoke or water vapor.

Bifrost also has a new Material Point Method (MPM) solver. It was initially developed and used as a snow solver. Autodesk has joined its developers to create a production solver that results inrealistic granular materials, dynamic thin shells and cloth, and individual fibre dynamics.

Bifrost also comes with a complete range of nodes that help convert between meshes, points and volumes to create artistic effects. The particle system is new, built entirely using visual programming to increase the effectiveness and scalability of particle workflows in Maya, such as a way to drive aerodynamic and combustion simulations.

Autodesk Bifrost Realistic previews

Realistic previews.

Artists will have more scope for increasing complexity in their scenes using instancing. For example, instances may be applied to scattered points and vertices of various types of geometry. Instance shapes are flexible, adjusted with carefully controlled layers of variation. Integration with Arnold instancing and the Maya Viewport 2.0 means users can instance renderable Bifrost geometry including meshes, volumes, strands or points, and Arnold .ass files.  
Artists can now model elements consisting of multiple fibres or strands procedurally, producing looks with detailed hair, fur and fuzz. Due to the integration of Arnold in Maya, artists can see exactly how effects will look after lighting and rendering directly in the Arnold Viewport in Maya. You can also see near-final previews of your effects in the Maya Viewport 2.0.

Autodesk Bifrost Ready to use graphs

Bifrost comes with ready to use scene graphs as a head start on effects.

Bifrost for Maya is now available for download. It will work with any version of Maya 2018 or later. It will also be included in the installer for Maya 2019.2 and later versions.

Bifrost for Maya was introduced at SIGGRAPH 2019, where Autodesk showed the most recent versions of Shotgun, Arnold, Flame and 3ds Max. Shotgun has a technical preview of a new secure enterprise version supporting network segregation and customer managed media isolation on AWS, opening opportunities to collaborate in a closed network pipeline in the cloud. Called Shotgun Create, now out of beta, it establishes a cloud-connected desktop experience and revealing which tasks demand attention. It also creates a collaborative environment to review media and exchange feedback.

Arnold 5.4 adds updates to the GPU renderer, including OSL and OpenVDB support, for speed and flexibility. Building on the recent Z Depth Map Generator and Human Face Normal Map Generator that use machine learning, Flame 2020.1 makes greater use of AI with new Sky Extraction tools and specialised image segmentation. Also at the show, the 3ds Max 2020.1 update adds procedural tools for 3D modelling as well.