A simple ‘anemone’ creature made to ripple in an unseen current using the support for Maya Fields introduced in Ziva VFX 1.4, the latest update to Ziva Dynamics’ soft tissue simulation plugin.
Ziva Dynamics has released Ziva VFX 1.4, a sizeable update to its skin and muscle plugin for Maya, enabling artists to control simulations with the software’s native Maya Fields.
The release, which will be on show at Siggraph 2018, also adds new tools for shrinking or growing tissues without having to remodel geometry, and a new Ziva Scene Panel to help navigate complex set-ups.
A powerful tool for creating stable, accurate simulations of soft tissues
First released publicly last year, Ziva VFX is designed to let users set up stable, robust simulations, preserving tissue volume exactly even under large deformations or when using large timesteps.
It supports a range of material types, designed to mimic 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.
Current users include international VFX facilities like Double Negative and Rising Sun Pictures.
New in Ziva VFX 1.4: support for Maya Fields, new Rest Scale for Tissues and Muscle Growth functions
The major new feature in Ziva VFX 1.4 is support for Maya Fields, making it possible to use the software’s native tools to control simulations.
That’s clearly going to be of most use for relatively thin sheets of tissue: use cases namechecked in the documentation include making wings ripple in the wind, or fins or gills ripple underwater.
Other new features include Rest Scale for Tissues, which enables an artist to grow or shrink a tissue uniformly in all directions, preserving collisions, gravity and simulation parameters.
The Muscle Growth function does the same thing, but works in a direction perpendicular to a muscle fibre.
Both are intended to enable riggers and animators to tweak the proportions of a character without the need to send it back to a modeller to modify the base geometry.
In addition, tissues get new Pressure and Surface Tension properties, designed to ‘shrink wrap’ fatty tissue around muscles, and intended as a more intuitive alternative to the fascia system added in Ziva VFX 1.1.
New Ziva Scene Panel helps users navigate complex simulation set-ups
Outside of the actual simulation tools, Ziva VFX 1.4 adds a new Ziva Scene Panel (zsPanel or simply zsP) to the user interface, designed to make it easier to locate specific nodes or items.
The panel uses a standard tree-like structure to organise complex scenes.
Pricing and availability
Ziva VFX 1.4 is available for Maya 2014 and above, running on Windows 7 and above or Linux.
The full Studio edition of the software, aimed at large facilities, now costs between $8,800 and $10,000; the Indie edition, aimed at individual artists, is rental-only, and costs $50/month or $500/year.
Free 60-day commercial and renewable non-commercial trial licences are also available.
Read more about Ziva VFX on Ziva Dynamics’ website
(Includes download link for the free trial editions)