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Raycasting visualised using arrows

Version 2.1 of Bifrost for Maya makes it possible to build compounds using rapid point-cloud queries, nearest-neighbour searches and raycasting. The user interface for setting datatypes on nodes has been improved to make graphs more readable, and file I/O has been improved as well.

Bifrost visual programming environment in Maya was developed to create major effects procedurally in Maya. Its simulation system for liquid and fluid effects uses a FLIP solver, generating liquid from emitters that let it fall under gravity, interact with colliders to direct the flow and create splashes, and use fields to create jets and other effects. Artists can build their own custom effects – compounds and graphs – to use and share with other artists. These include dust storms, volumetric clouds, fire and explosions.

Artists can now design geometric queries with new nodes and compounds that have been added for quickly querying the closest point or location, points in a radius, and raycasting. Combined with a new scope for visualising geometric queries, these nodes create an opportunity to build a range of new compounds, including collision deformers and attribute transfer.

New options make Bifrost graphs more readable and simpler to navigate, for example, a new icon helps identify auto-looped ports. The value nodes will now display the actual number they represent, instead of simply ‘value’, and toggles display all node types, rather than just node names.

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Querying closest points

To improve file input/output, Alembic IO nodes now support reading and writing multiple meshes with a single file, keeping UV and painted attributes intact. Bifrost strands can now be serialised as Alembic curves and Bifrost points can be serialised as Alembic points – in both cases, all per-point properties are kept intact. All file path parameters now have a file-browser button, making it quicker to work with file nodes in production.

The FCurve Editor now contains pre- and post-extrapolation functions, better framing and clamping capabilities, and a several UX enhancements that make it easier to edit curves.

Among the FX updates, the Aero and particles graphs have both been simplified and improved to address workflow and readability. Other smaller features have been added including properties that flag particles that have collided with an object, and meshing of density volumes. The MPM sand, snow and fluid nodes have also been updated with new ports and shortcuts, making it easier to add custom properties.

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Missile Hit, one of three new graphs in Bifrost 2.1

It's now possible to render Aero simulations, which create atmospheric and gaseous effects like smoke and mist, that exceed 4GB in size, and transferring large Bifrost datasets to Arnold is also now more efficient. Users who want to employ these updates will need to have MtoA 4.0.3 or later.

Version 2.1 also has three new graphs, now available in the Bifrost Browser – Fast Aero, Missile Hit and Vehicle