Maya 2020 and Arnold 6 Upgrade Animation, Bifrost and Arnold GPU
Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU Maya-to-Arnold
Autodesk Maya 2020 includes over 60 updates to its animation tools, and to the graph editor and time slider. Maya’s visual programming environment Bifrost has performance enhancements and major new simulation function updates. Arnold 6 is also part of this release, and can now be used for production rendering on both the CPU and GPU.
Animation bookmarks help mark, organise and navigate through specific events in time and frame playback ranges. Animation playback is faster and more predictable now due to caching. Previously, whenever a scene was modified, Maya needed to update and redraw, and artists had to create a Playblast to review the changes, which could be time-consuming, depending on the modifications and the size of the scene.
Now, Maya builds a cache of the scene and only recomputes the part of the animation that was updated, so that changes can be displayed immediately. Cached playback includes new preview modes, layered dynamics caching and more efficient caching of image planes.
Rigging and character TD work has been made simpler with matrix-driven workflows, nodes for precisely tracking positions on deforming geometry, and a new GPU-accelerated wrap deformer.
Bifrost Visual Programming
Bifrost for Maya gives artists a single visual programming graph in which nodes, from math operations to simlations, can be combined. As well as the Cached Playback support (above) and better performance, Bifrost has undegone a number of other updates and now includes new MPM (material point method) cloth constraints. Because MPM doesn’t require constant re-meshing and remapping, it suits large material deformations like cloth and has some advantages over simulating cloth with soft-body calculation, or using the Maya Nucleus solver node.
Bifrost MPM cloth simulations
Bifrost supports the creation of highly complex scenes. New ready-to-use graphs are available to speed up creation of commonly required effects, and a new physically based combustion solver and aerodynmics in Bifrost have been developed to help create natural-looking fire, smoke and explosions. A high performance new particle system makes it possible to use aerodynamic simulations to drive particles, and particles to drive aerodynamic sims, simulating granular materials like snow and dynamic cloth.
Strands can be used for procedural modelling, while the user adjusts thickness, colour and orientation. Volumes can be processed for artistic effects also, converting directly between meshes, points and volumes. Users will be able to work with more realistic previews after lighting and rendering in the Arnold viewport, and use instancing that is more compatible with rendering.
Remesh and Retopologize help save time on model clean-up.
Viewport 2.0 improvements make it possible to interact with and select dense geometry or a large number of smaller meshes faster in the viewport and UV editors. Remesh and Retopologize functions are modelling enhancements that help users avoid spending a lot of time cleaning up models.
Maya 2020 is now available as a standalone subscription or with a collection of tools within the Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection.
Autodesk Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU
Autodesk Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU was developed to give artists and studios more speed and flexibility when adapting to unpredictable working environments, and to scale rendering capacity to accommodate production changes. Users can toggle between CPU and GPU rendering from the interface with one click, while maintaining the same settings. Arnold GPU is based on NVIDIA’s OptiX framework and optimised to take advantage of NVIDIA RTX hardware, RTX GPUs and RTX Server.
Arnold GPU supports most Light Path Expressions.
Because interactivity and speed are considered important to the creative process by allowing time to explore and iterate, from look development to final frame rendering, Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU focusses on performance gains that both increase interactivity and produce the same results as the CPU renderer. Specific performance improvements made for efficiency include faster subdivisons, an improved Physical Sky shader, and dielectric microfacet multiple scattering.
Open Standards and USD
Since the beta release earlier in the year, the lights, shaders and cameras in the Arnold GPU tools have been updated, and it now incorporates on-demand texture loading and support for Open Shading Language (OSL) and OpenVDB volumes. Arnold GPU also supports most LPEs (light path expressions) describing the transport of light through a scene. GPU noise is now about the same as CPU noise when using adaptive sampling, which has been improved to give more predictable results with various renderers.
Open Shading Language support.
Among further open standards collaborations are a collection of components for Arnold in the USD (Pixar Universal Scene Description) ecosystem, now available online on GitHub. These include Hydra render delegates to bridge the Hydra viewport (integrated with the user’s software to display the USD) and the renderer. Other components are Arnold USD procedural, and USD schemas for Arnold nodes and properties.
Arnold 6 with Arnold GPU is available as a standalone subscription or with a collection of tools within the Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection. For the first time, monthly, annual, and 3-year single-user subscriptions of Arnold are available. Arnold GPU is available in all supported plug-ins for Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, and Katana. www.autodesk.com