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Dear Autodesk: Bifrost graph editor

Message 1 of 7
1076 Views, 6 Replies

Dear Autodesk: Bifrost graph editor

Mr or Mrs Autodesk,

The new Bifrost graph editor is a game changer for Maya, a long awaited and much welcomed turning point but as a paying customer of some 12 plus years I am concerned that it might end up being niche and only used by high level TD's as it's currently a bit complicated (when going much further down the rabbit hole) for mere mortals like myself .
As a Maya generalist and company owner I am definitely technically minded, have technical people close by but much more creative and my mathematical and programming ability is sub ape, but I like thousands of other Maya users have always managed to create great content with Maya but always dreamed of a (dare I say it) Houdini type procedural workflow for dynamics, instance, destruction and general awesome vfx user friendly non destructive addition to Maya  .

I have been playing around in the BGE picking up bits of information from all over the internet (of which is very scarce at the moment) building my own mpm sims, playing with instancing, having a go at strands but it has taken me weeks to understand the nodes and what they do, why they do it and why you should connect a 'level set' from a sim to a 'volume to mesh' to create a mesh around your sim. Why not just make one node out of the two in future and call it 'create mesh' ? perhaps you will.

What I don't want is a bunch of pre made compounds in the bifrost window that anyone can make, well I do to a degree, but I want to be able to make my own bespoke versions without having to have a math degree and understand 'if' 'add' 'function' and all that non creative terminology which doesn't exactly tell you how to make something or even give you a whisper of how this can be done .

I think this could be huge for Maya and having spent thousands of pounds and thousands of hours on and with Maya, I am hoping that this is indeed going to be a new turning point, however I am concerned that it isn't . I am concerned that this is a testing ground scenario and that Bifrost will stand on its own one day and Maya and even max will be gone . If that is the plan (and I might of heard a little bird or two mention this) then I/we need to know because I need to start learning a new platform now . I have heard Blender (as much as it pains me to say) is far superior to Maya right now, with a massive community of artists all laughing and joking about Maya, how expensive it is (compared to zero expense) and all coming together in great big jolly forums, sharing scripts etc like we Maya folk had back in the day with highend3d etc . It bothers me and I need my mind settling . I'm even seeing big games devs handing money over to the blender team to push it on further.
Can you help. Be honest, whats the future for Maya? is 2020 going to rock?!?!  As a paying customer it's your duty to tell us where we are going with all of this. 
Can I sleep tonight ?
and please please please can I go and feel superior around Blender users again ?

Kind regards
Mr sleepless Paranoid Maya artist.

P.S Stands, strands look amazing and they have been dangled in front of us using insane looking simulations coupled with instances, but for the love of 3D can someone show us how to use them 'properly'.

Message 2 of 7
in reply to: PhilRadford

Dear Mr sleepless Paranoid Maya artist,

I think you raise a number of good points. I don't think I can address all of them, but I will gladly share my thoughts on the topic of ease-of-use. We have absolutely no intention of letting Bifrost remain only in the hands of maths experts and programming-savvy TDs. We have many plans in the works for improving the experience of using the Bifrost Graph Editor (see my post on that topic here: Using Bifrost – perspective on the current UX), but we also are looking beyond the graph and thinking about how to create a bridge to a more artist-friendly workflow. We believe that the benefit of Bifrost will only be fully realized when it is accessible by all Maya artists, but also has the depth and power that the most sophisticated users are looking for. When this is a fluid experience where an artists can grow, explore and go as deep as they want, and a TD can customize and create tools to meet any demand - that's when you will sleep soundly again.  🙂




Ian Hooper
UX Architect
Message 3 of 7
in reply to: ihooper

Thank you. You have eased my paranoia and allowed me to have some weapons against the Peaky Blenders.
I will rest now before my retribution.

Thank you for the link.


Mr reassured Maya artist

Message 4 of 7
in reply to: ihooper

On a different note, if you guys need any testers from a different areas of the industry I would be happy to help and do some video tutorials on my work flow. I've done a couple already.

Message 5 of 7
in reply to: PhilRadford

Sorry to disagree with you Mr sleepless Paranoid Maya artist, but you don't need a math degree, but rather a Phd in Mathematic AND Physic.


Still I don't figure why they release Combustion and Strands with so little information (the only technical video available are just out of scope for 99% of people)

Message 6 of 7
in reply to: moiamy

Indeed. I guess they are hard at work improving it so much that the time it would take to get everyone across the functions as it currently stands is pointless as the new versions will be coming out soon without the need to have said phd's .

Message 7 of 7
in reply to: PhilRadford

but we also are looking beyond the graph and thinking about how to create a bridge to a more artist-friendly workflow. 


Hopefully one day it's possible to customize the UI of a graph for Bifrost (and Maya), so graph publishers can tailor the UI to make it as user friendly as possible.


Having a tailored UI to a graph that works the same in Bifrost and Maya would be very beneficial.

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