Ziva Dynamics has released Ziva VFX 2.0, the latest version of its soft tissue simulation plugin for Maya.
The update improves simulation performance, adding an experimental new Iterative solver, the option to cache tet meshes generated during simulations, and support for Maya’s Cached Playback system.
A powerful tool for creating stable, accurate simulations of soft tissues
First released publicly in 2017, Ziva VFX is now a staple of visual effects pipelines, with users including DNEG, Scanline VFX and Image Engine.
The plugin mimics the stiffness, density and volume preservation of real tissues, including bone, tendons, muscles and skin; and supports multiple types of physical damping.
As well as editing parameters directly, Ziva VFX supports a brush-based workflow making it possible to paint material properties and mesh resolution, and even paint in muscle attachment points and muscle fibres.
New in Ziva VFX 2.0: improved simulation performance and playback
The first major update since the release of Ziva VFX 1.9 in 2020 – and the first since Ziva Dynamics was acquired by Unity in January – Ziva VFX 2.0 features a number of improvements to simulation peformance.
The zSolver node gets a new solverToleranceFactor control, enabling users to trade the precision of a solve against the time taken to compute it.
Users can also select a new Iterative Solver, provided as an alternative to the default Direct Solver.
It’s still an experimental feature, and currently only supports the default BackwardEuler integrator: one of four numerical integration methods available to calculate the state of a simulation at the next time step.
The update also features a “powerful reimplementation” of the QuasiStatic integrator, often used to generate blendshapes, intended to improve performance and stability.
Other changes include a new cacheTetMesh attribute for the zTet node, which enables users to cache the tetrahedral meshes Ziva VFX generates from the surface triangle mesh of the tissue.
Enabling caching reduces tetmesh building times, particularly on machines with few CPU cores, at the cost of increasing file size.
In addition, Ziva VFX now supports Maya’s Cached Playback system, used to speed up viewport playback of character animations, although only for users of Maya 2022.
The release is not backwards-compatible, with the online documentation warning that opening simulation set-ups created in Ziva VFX 2.0 using previous versions of the plugin will cause Maya to crash.
Ziva VFX Utilities updated to include Scene Panel 2
Changes to Ziva VFX Utilities, the accompanying set of Python utilities, include Scene Panel 2, a new version of the GUI for viewing, organising and editing Ziva VFX nodes.
The new version, ultimately intended to supersede the original Scene Panel, provides a dedicated toolbar for performing common operations, and adds a Component View of the objects currently selected in the scene.
Pricing and system requirements
Ziva VFX 2.0 is available for Maya 2019-2022, running on Windows 7-10 or RHEL/CentOS 6.5+ Linux.
Ziva VFX Indie, intended for productions with total revenues of under $500,000/year, costs $50/month or $500/year. For larger projects, Ziva VFX Studio is priced at $1,800/year.
Perpetual Studio licences are available “upon request”.
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