Introducing Bifrost for Maya

By - - Maya
5 mins
Last modification: 2 Aug, 2019

I'm happy to announce that Bifrost - a new visual programming environment in Maya - is here! Using Bifrost, you can create your own custom effects, publish, and share them with other artists to use across different shots, scenes, and even shows. We're also rolling out a ton of pre-built graphs to help you get started creating effects like dust storms, fire, snow, and sand super fast. 

This project has been a labor of love for my team, but it wouldn't be what it is today without the dedicated support of our band of beta users. I'd like to give a huge shout out and thank you to all of you - Without your help, this would have been a very different release!

Here's a quick summary of some of the highlights:

One Graph
Using the Bifrost Graph Editor, you can build visual programming graphs to do scattering, instancing, deformation, volume processing, dynamic simulation, material assignments, file IO, and even mix in low-level math nodes - without switching contexts or graph semantics.

Detailed Smoke, Fire, and Explosions
Using the new physically-based solvers for aerodynamics and combustion, it's now possible to create deceptively natural-looking smoke, fire, and explosions. Simple artistic controls make it easy to adjust boundary conditions for your effects so that they interact in a more physically-accurate way with the surrounding scene. You can also set up adaptivity to automatically add or remove detail depending on characteristics like velocity, turbulence, and smoke density.

The combustion solver performs computational chemistry and thermodynamics to simulate the physical reactions of fire and explosions. You can choose from an array of real-world fuels like methane and butane, and the solver automatically creates realistic outputs like smoke or water vapor.

The Material Point Method
The Material Point Method (MPM) was made famous by its use as a snow solver in Disney’s Frozen. We teamed up with Jixie Effects, founded by members of the original research team, to develop a production-ready MPM solver. One of the key advantages of MPM is that the behavior of simulations remains consistent as resolution increases. While the original MPM work focused on snow simulation, Jixie has extended the Bifrost MPM solver to now tackle other phenomena, including:

-  Granular materials such as sand and mud, as well as snow
-  Dynamic thin shells and cloth such as textiles, aluminum, and plastics
-  Dynamics of individual fibers (or strands)

New High-Performance Particle System
Entirely crafted using visual programming, the new particle system in Bifrost adds even more power and scalability to what was previously possible with particles in Maya. Particles can be used as an effective way to drive aerodynamic and combustion simulations - and vice versa. 

Artistic Effects with Volumes
Bifrost comes loaded with nodes to help you convert between meshes, points, and volumes, and process volumes for artistic effects, including:

-  Converting meshes, points, and particles to volumes
-  Converting volumes back to meshes
-  Smoothing volumes
-  Sampling properties of volumes
-  Scattering points inside volumes

Rendering-Friendly Instancing
Bifrost introduces high-performance, rendering-friendly instancing, enabling you to create enormous complexity in your scenes. 

You can apply instances to scattered points, particle systems such as the MPM solver, and vertices of any other geometry. Instance shapes are flexible and can be easily adjusted using a simple selection mechanism that can select between multiple layers of variation. For example, one layer might distinguish between grass and flowers, and another might drill down to select variations of each.

Tightly integrated with Arnold instancing and Viewport 2.0, you can instance any renderable Bifrost geometry including meshes, volumes, strands or points, as well as fully renderable assets in the form of render archives, such as Arnold .ass files.

The world is full of fibers. From hair and fur to fuzz, clothing, grass, wires, and dust, Bifrost makes it simple to model things consisting of multiple fibers (or strands) procedurally.

Realistic Previews
With Arnold integrated in Maya, you can see final-pixel previews of effects right in the Arnold Viewport, helping to remove the guesswork of what your effects will look like after lighting and rendering. You can also see near-final previews of your effects in Viewport 2.0.

Ready-to-Use Graphs
From dry ice and volumetric clouds to fire and explosions, explore a library of pre-built Bifrost graphs in the new Bifrost Browser to create great-looking effects fast. Pre-built graphs are also a great starting point for creating your own custom effects from scratch. You can then publish your graphs to the Browser for other artists at your studio to easily find and re-use.


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

For more information on Bifrost, visit the Bifrost for Maya documentation portal.

Also, make sure to check out the new Bifrost community hub to access pre-built graphs, tutorials, and the latest news on Bifrost development, as well as the new Bifrost forum where you can ask questions and share your own knowledge about creating effects procedurally using Bifrost.

Published In
  • Maya
  • Bifrost
  • Film & VFX
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| 1 year ago
Just started playing with Bifrost graph and my first question is why does it not work with NURBS?! Will it ever? Second thing I noticed is there's no direct way to get UV information. I've seen others post compounds for this. But why isn't there a "get_uv_position"?
keeping my audience up to date:
@marcus: i guess the new extension keeps you pretty busy. you pointed out that some of the documentation can be found in the graph window. it sure does. however, due to the restricted space, it does not give a general view. example: the "assign_material" node. Input = geometry, just fine. output: the modified object. fine, too. but with a "source_air" and "simulate_air" sequence, where do i feed the output information into? in other words: in order to create sexy tutorials i need more docs about the workflow. the tiger in snow is great, the beads strands are wonderful. great teasers, but with a big gap to how to achieve the effects. cheers! how is duncan? send him my regards.
| 1 year ago
@Marcus: This post doesn't mention anything about water or ocean simulation (like in Naiad). Is that not part of Bifrost?
Edited by znJlYySJ 1 year ago
| 1 year ago
What is the best way to integrate bifrost liquids with bifrost graph workflows?
| 1 year ago
Bifrost can be downloaded right here on AREA:
| 1 year ago
@Kane, yes just like ICE, Bifrost treats all point data the same. In fact, in most cases you can iterate/work on voxel data the same as with point data.
| 1 year ago
@Andrea - The new framework does not render anything obsolete - unless you stop using it :) We are not currently planning on removing anything just yet. Maybe in the future, we will, based on how Bifrost is used and if too few customers are still using Maya Fluids and Nucleus. I would recommend going straight into Bifrost to solve your production problems in smoke, fire, explosions, particles, cloth, instancing/scattering and custom mesh deformation. You can also hook up all those things. GPU acceleration is in our future plans yes.
| 1 year ago
@Alexander - Bifrost Extension for Maya is not available for LT. You can reach out to your sales rep for questions about Student License and the new Indie license, both of which I believe to work with Bifrost - but best check with your local sales rep to be sure. That "more information" simply refers to the downloads area, and the new Bifrost hub here on AREA.
| 1 year ago
@Maximilian and others: Most of the nodes and compounds do have in-app documentation. If you click on the little "Info" tab on those nodes you will see it - directly in the Bifrost Node Editor. However, there is also online documentation, which you can find here:
hi marcus, we need docs! strands and fibers sound great. i can see the nodes, but no documentation... second thing: pls check out this brief tutorial i did today for my audience. is all the stuff we did using bifrost in the past obsolete and incompatible? best, ——maximilian
Edited by G8OxeLmg 1 year ago
| 2 years ago
3 questions, will this be Available for Maya Lt? Second question, where will we find the download link? Or will this be a part of the Autodesk installer? Third, it said stay tuned for more information tomorrow (yesterday) where can we find that more information?
Edited by xi529nPx 2 years ago
| 2 years ago
great work! just a bunch of questions... 1) does it mean this new framework renders the Maya Fluids and Nparticles obsolete? will be they removed in subsequent Maya updates? 2) can we expect any GPU acceleration in future updates?
Edited by bx4tlDfn 2 years ago
| 2 years ago
thanks, Marcus Nordenstam!
| 2 years ago
Is it as good as ICE was in that discontinued software that was killed before its time? In other words is it as agnostic to point cloud or vertex data?
| 2 years ago
has path flow ?
| 2 years ago