An Open, More Flexible Bifrost is Here
Transform your creative workflow with an open, more flexible Bifrost. This update continues Bifrost’s steady progress as a node-based visual programming system for procedural creation including simulation, scattering, and USD workflows. It open sources Bifrost-USD integration, improves UX with backdrops and sticky notes, UI editing, and contains numerous improvements for simulation and procedural geometry.
Outcomes this update helps you achieve
Improve Pipeline Flexibility and Scalability
Studios can rely on Bifrost to produce content faster and more efficiently to meet growing audience demands. With custom USD tools and builds, you will be able to build Bifrost-USD alongside Arnold-USD and Maya-USD.
Graph authors gain better graph authoring tools to organize and annotate complex projects collaboratively.
Improve Creativity, Aesthetics and Quality
MPM users will find the MPM Solver more powerful and customisable for the creation of detailed, natural looking effects. Furthermore, all simulation users will find their simulations easier to understand with diagnostics.
Open Source Bifrost-USD
Bifrost-USD is now open source. Following up on the release of the Operator SDK in Bifrost 2.5, we are now releasing a major project that is built with it - the Bifrost-USD integration. Bifrost-USD now exists alongside Arnold-USD and Maya-USD as an open-source USD ecosystem inside of Maya. Bifrost-USD is also usable outside of Maya.
The Bifrost-USD project is available on GitHub with a permissive Apache Version 2.0 license. It includes the wrapped USD types that flow in the graph, the operators that expose USD low-level operators, the “translation tables”, which handle integration with the host DCC, the system to build all of this, the compounds that expose Bifrost-USD functionality to users, their documentation, and the tests to ensure the whole thing is working correctly.
Facilities which have their own USD builds will be able to build Bifrost-USD with the rest of the MayaUSD ecosystem. SDK users will have a working example of a significant project.
Backdrops and Sticky Notes
With a complete overhaul of backdrops, annotations in Bifrost are more beautiful and more functional. Where previously backdrops were used for both organisation and annotation, there are now two complimentary features: Backdrops are for outlining, identifying, and separating notable areas in graphs. Sticky notes are for annotation, and are ideal for comments, explanations, and instructions.
Sticky notes have a preset color palette, and backdrops have a matching palette of semi-transparent colours. Together these can colour-code a graph, dividing it into visually distinctive regions with a disciplined aesthetic.
Legacy backdrops in older assets are automatically converted into the new backdrops and sticky notes. Graph authors will immediately benefit from the new layouts and won’t need to worry about upgrading their content. Backdrops are far more usable with numerous improvements and bug fixes.
Bifrost is a platform for you to author your own compounds via visual programming – no code. With sliders, color pickers, a brand-new combo box, and more widgets to come, compound and graph authors can add these widgets to their own compounds without editing JSON code. The UI editing tools on compounds can also be used to create port grouping.
The second installment of granular updates for MPM introduces collider stickiness and per-particle activation. Stickiness makes it simple and intuitive for you to nail a snowball impact with the desired amount of snow left clinging to the wall. Activation influences allow for complex disintegration effects as well as location-based activation for efficient footstep simulations, especially in large environments.
Simulation Diagnostics and Scopes
Physics simulations can be complicated beasts. Sometimes you get unexpected results, and a visualisation of what’s happening under the hood can illuminate what’s happening better than a thousand words. As such, an improved, unified set of diagnostics have been added to MPM and Aero. You can easily visualise velocities, temperatures, and more. You can explore the solver’s internal state to understand what’s happening and see the invisible details of physics.
Building on work in Bifrost 2.5.1, we are continuing to try to un-block Bifrost in animation rigs. Various overheads are reduced substantially. In some examples, such as arrays of input data, the speed to run a graph, including overheads, was increased 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
Bifrost is making steady progress as a geometry manipulation platform. Bifrost can be a low-level programming language, allowing you to create geometry algorithms from scratch. However, there was one sticking point: dealing with a lot of custom properties. We are fixing this with property transfer and creating a first batch of procedural geometry compounds in the process.
This includes basic compounds such as delete and filter points, faces, and strands, each able to preserve data such as UVs, normals, and any user data. It also includes separate mesh, detach faces, and add points. These all also functions as examples for how to implement geometry nodes which fully support all user data. We also have new low-level facilities such as filter_array and prefix sum, allowing these compounds to be efficient and simple.
Additionally, our Alembic implementation now does a much better job with indexed properties such as UVs and face vertex normals, preserving user data. There is also a one-click solution for converting Bifrost data into a Maya mesh.