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What’s new in Bifrost

Improve collaboration and deliver highest-quality production values in fewer seconds with Bifrost, Maya’s visual programming environment.

This release brings you a complete overhaul of viewport volume rendering, using new “NanoVTT” technology, as well as MPM Gel, an exciting new capability that simulates substances such as soft-serve ice cream. It also introduces native support for Apple Silicon for incredible performance that will take your art further.

Deliver highest-quality production values:

You can rely on Bifrost to produce content faster and more efficiently to meet growing demands. Maya’s visual programming environment handles huge, complex files, and libraries without slowing down productivity or causing an onset of delays and missed deadlines.

Improve collaboration:

You need a tool for non-destructive, collaborative editing to tackle complex projects. Bifrost-USD enables new content, from different artists, departments, and studios, to be added non-destructively to a scene.

Improve creativity, aesthetics, and quality:

The industry is shifting from quantity to quality of productions, increasing the importance of pixel-perfect visual effects. Bifrost offers the option of building custom effects or quickly getting 90% of the way to a final effect with pre-built graphs so that you can deliver detailed, natural looking effects like smoke, fire, explosions, sand or now, no matter their level of technical expertise.

What’s new in Bifrost

Apple Silicon Support

Bifrost now runs fully natively on both Apple Silicon and Intel Macs from a universal binary to help you achieve a new level of performance. Bifrost’s just-in-time compiler, Amino, also generates native ARM64 code allowing your graphs to be compiled into native code for Apple Silicon. The SDK has also been updated to allow building plugins as Universal binaries.

NanoVTT Viewport Volume Rendering

This release introduces NanoVTT viewport volume rendering. Bifrost has a highly efficient, state-of-the-art volume representation called the “volume tile tree”, or VTT, and needs a corresponding viewport rendering solution. NanoVTT delivers this in the form of a GPU-native volume format based on NanoVDB.

As part of this work, the viewport rendering code has been revamped. Volumes in the viewport more closely match Arnold renders by supporting more of Arnold’s features. This includes volumes with voxel colors rendering in the viewport. Fire and explosions can take advantage of physically based thermodynamic emission scaling, a recently released feature of Arnold. Level sets can be assigned a standard surface material for better visualization of levelset data. Volumes now render with an alpha channel in the viewport which is particularly useful for producing playblasts that can be composited.

Finally, the optimizations allow for viewing more total voxels to accommodate larger, more complex simulations without encountering the dreaded “TDR” GPU timeouts. All of this is customizable, allowing you to define volume viewport render settings in the graph to strike the optimal balance between render quality, features, and performance.


A new “gel” material has been added to the MPM solver. This material can model ice cream, cake icing, toothpaste, ketchup, melted chocolate, foam, and much more. It is customizable using physical properties such as yield stress and viscosity. Gel is integrated with the rest of the MPM system and can be used with influences, fields, and all manners of visual programming.

Enhancements to Property Transfer and Geometry Nodes

In property transfer, low-level components continue to be built to allow the implementation of geometry operations in the graph. These include nodes to transfer from multiple geometries to one geometry (“2D operations”), such as merging meshes or constructing trails from a series of point clouds.

Additionally, you can transfer properties by sampling the original geometry. These “weighted sum” operations can allow operations such as scattering points onto a mesh and sampling the underlying properties or UVs, splitting meshes, and more. These are opening up Bifrost as a no-code geometry-node building platform.

Backdrops and Sticky notes improvements

Sticky notes are now scaled automatically in height to accommodate their content. Various interactions with backdrops and sticky notes have been improved to give you a smoother experience

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What’s new in Arnold

Arnold is focused on helping you deliver highest-quality production values and improve pipeline flexibility and scalability.

This update brings you native support for Apple Silicon in Arnold for Maya and an improved workflow for texture files.

Enhancements to colour management workflows in 3ds Max, better USD and MaterialX support, as well as optimization and bug fixes, empower you to create colourful, life-like renders that leap off the screen.

Deliver highest-quality production values:

You can rely on Arnold to render content faster and more efficiently to meet growing demands. Arnold thrives on heavy data sets and handles complex work with ease, leveraging USD and switching between CPU and GPU rendering to suit production needs.

Improve pipeline flexibility and scalability:

You can seamlessly integrate Arnold with top 3D digital content creation tools like Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, and Katana.

Improve creativity, aesthetics, and quality:

Arnold offers a powerful, easy-to-use rendering experience that delivers beautiful and predictable results, letting you focus on being creative.

What’s new in Arnold

Native support for Apple CPUs in Arnold for Maya 2014

Arnold now natively supports running under Apple M series CPUs, such as the M1 CPU. The Arnold for Maya plug-in is now available as universal binaries, increasing rendering speeds by 20% in selected benchmarks compared to running Arnold in Rosetta emulation mode.

Colour management in Arnold for 3ds Max 2024

Arnold for 3ds Max now fully supports the newly added, colour management workflows in the latest release of 3ds Max. This brings predictable and consistent colours that will match and fit in with the colours in the rest of your pipeline.

When enabled, it relies on built-in, or self-provided, OpenColorIO configuration files. You can now change the default rendering space, define a view transform in the Arnold Render View, and change the input colour space for textures default configuration.

Arnold also now supports the improved OpenColorIO 2.2.1.

USD improvements

This release contains many USD improvements and bugfixes in the USD procedural and the Hydra Render Delegate, helping you better work with heavy data sets. Arnold USD now supports MaterialX displacement shaders in USD scenes and is available both as part of the Arnold plugins and as an open-source project here:

Improved workflow for texture files

Arnold now enables the automatic generation of optimized TX textures from source textures as part of the rendering process. In this update, the automatic generation is improved and supports using texture files in scenes with different rendering colour spaces. Using optimized textures is critical for rendering speed and memory usage and having the TX conversion as part of the core rendering will help those without a dedicated TX workflow to achieve faster renders.


This update contains improved performance and behaviour for autobump, support for OpenColorIO, faster scene updates, and multiple Arnold API and usability improvements, allowing you to render more quickly.

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Capabilities in Maya 2024

Produce content faster and raise the bar of high-quality visuals with new capabilities in Maya.

This release brings support for LookDevX, an agnostic material editor that allows you to share materials seamlessly across the pipeline and includes a new, modern, node-based environment for authoring material graphs like USD, MaterialX, and Arnold.

Maya also offers you more artistic control with updates to modelling tools like Retopologize and the Boolean toolset, while animation and rigging updates keep you in the creative zone. These updates and new features are also available in Maya Creative.

Create photoreal scenes with powerful look development tools.


LookDevX is an agnostic material editor that enables standardized, portable material workflows. It allows you to share materials freely and accurately throughout a pipeline and includes a new, modern, node-based environment for authoring a variety of materials like USDShade, MaterialX, and Arnold.

LookDevX Graph

The LookDevX graph is an agnostic material graphing environment that currently supports material editing and authoring of USDshade graphs. Features like compounds, multi-level automatic node zoom, duplicating graphs, dedicated property editor, colour-managed colour pots and colour picker, direct material assignment, authoring UI are just some of available toolsets that will you to handle complex USD workflows.

USD Direct Material Assignment

The Outliner and LookDevX now support the assignment and removal of USD materials to one or more selected Prims in the USD stage. You can create new materials under the “mtl” scope list and control naming using environment variables. Material Subsets are functional and exposed in the USD Stage, but don’t currently support direct material assignment. Additionally, you can add materials to any selected material scope and move materials between scopes.

Attribute editor USD Material Support

The Attribute Editor can accurately compose USD materials with regard to UI groups and attribute names. A dedicated Material tab allows you to easily find and manage materials and shader properties. Custom authored materials and their UI groups are synced and are accurately represented between the LookDevX Property Editor and Attribute Editor.

Outliner USD Material Workflows

The Outliner has been enhanced to enable a comprehensive material workflow for artists. When performing direct material assignment, materials are created under a standardized or user-desired material scope name and are listed with regard to their compound organisation. You can move materials between scopes, add materials directly under your desired scope, and rename or delete selected materials. Multiselected actions are also supported for material assignment and for graphing materials from the Outliner to LookDevX.

Loading USD Material Graphs in to LookdevX

You can easily send USD materials from the Viewport and Outliner to LookDevX for any additional adjustments. Multiselect actions for graphing materials are enabled from the Outliner. You can also organize your LookDevX canvas by loading or clearing one or more selected materials.

Supporting different material libraries

LookDevX supports USD Shade, MaterialX and Arnold graphs giving you the flexibility to use various material libraries. Nodes are clearly illustrated using dedicated icons and prefixes on node types. LookDevX is designed and engineered as an Open Render plugin.

Material authoring workflow

LookDevX is a comprehensive material authoring workflow enabling look development artists to express themselves creatively and give them the ability to experiment with complex shading networks that can used by other artists down the pipeline. You can control minimum and maximum attribute range, customize the UI or selectively hide ports.

Produce high-quality visuals with interactive lighting and rendering tools.

Standard Surface

The Standard Surface shader is now the default shader for new objects in Maya. This offers a better out-of-the-box experience with quick access to a higher quality, physically based, flexible uber-shader that can represent a wide range of looks in the viewport as well as renderers such as Arnold. This includes metals, paint, clay, plastic and more.

Better default lighting in the Viewport

The default lighting in Maya has been improved to give better results with the new default Standard Surface shader. This will enable you to create new objects as well as default materials and lighting more easily. Additionally, new settings have been exposed for tuning default lighting.

OCIO 2.2 Integration

New updates to OpenColorIO 2.2 include several notable features including new ACES configs with improved accuracy and user-experience. Added support for config archives will enable make sending configs between collaborators more reliably. Built-in configs will allow convenient access without the need to download a config.

Create CG assets seamlessly with a robust modelling toolset.

Retopologize Improvements

  • Feature Preservation: Preserve features like hard edges, edges by angle, and user-defined edge Component Tags during the retopologize process. New feature preservation options allow you to maintain specific areas of detail on input mesh and control or guide the resulting edge flow of a retopologized output mesh.
  • Symmetry support: Retopologize meshes that require symmetrical topology using controls for axis and direction, take into account world and object space, as well as orientation and pivot offsets. This is useful for things such as characters and creatures, as well as any hard surface objects that require mirrored topology on two sides, for example, a chair or a mechanical part.
  • Mesh Pre-check: A new option called “Scan input mesh for issues” warns you about potential problems with your mesh or about certain options that may cause undesirable results with a given mesh. Tips will also be provided to help you troubleshoot.

Make Live

  • Multiple object support: Make Live now supports multiple objects at a time and provides visual feedback in the UI to help you identify which objects are live, including colored highlighting in the Outliner. You can target as many objects as you want in the viewport for things like snapping and constraining objects or components, as well as supporting Quad Draw workflows.
  • Quad Draw Improvements: Quad Draw has been updated to work with multiple Make Live objects as well target meshes that have been set to Smooth Mesh preview mode. You can use Quad Draw to create new, simplified geometry on top of more complex collections of target meshes such as full characters that are made up of many individual pieces like clothing, armour, gear, and more.

Unsmooth Mesh

This new feature allows you to reduce the number of subdivisions of any catmul-clark smoothed, high-res mesh. You can now reverse the subdivision of more complex meshes while maintaining the overall shape and volume. This can be useful for creating low-resolution versions of meshes that have been smoothed and subdivided during the sculpting process.

Boolean Toolset

Improvements to the Boolean toolset give modellers more control when adding and editing new input objects in the Boolean Stack. Additionally, a new Interactive Update option provides a way to improve boolean performance while working with complex dense meshes.

Produce life-like performances with modern animation workflows.

Time Slider UI/UX Improvements

The Time Slider and its associated tools have been redesigned to provide a more intuitive and modern experience. This includes improvements to key, waveform and bookmark display, as well as interaction modes for moving and scaling keyframes, setting time ranges and more. You will be able to navigate and manipulate the timeline more intuitively and edit your animations more easily, directly in the Time Slider.

Animation Curve Brushes in the Graph Editor

New brush-based curve editing tools in the Graph Editor let you intuitively shape groups of keys. Using the Grab, Smooth and Smear tools, you can now interactively sculpt and refine the shape of curves to adjust or clean up existing animation. This is particularly useful for working with dense animation curve data such as motion capture or baked simulations.

Key and curve editing utilities

Several new key and curve editing features including offset curves, clamp curves and remove keys let you quickly modify the time and/or value of selected keys, ranges of keys or whole curves.

Interactive Key Scaling Improvements

A new key scaling widget removes the guesswork from the Scale Keys tool by introducing a manipulator as an alternative to the traditional gestural method. It will also display a value for your keys as you drag, or let you enter a percentage directly in the numeric value fields. This makes scaling curves and keys more intuitive and allows animators to control scale with more precision.

Unreal Live Link for Maya

Stream animation data seamlessly between Maya and Unreal 5.1.

Work with precision using enhanced rigging tools.

Reorder Rotation

The new Reorder Rotation feature lets you change the rotation axes of a selected object and also evaluates and shows the likelihood of gimbal lock for each. You change the rotation order of a control after it has been animated or when you don’t want to change the object pose.

Skin Cluster / Component Editor – Multi Skin Clusters

You can now have more than one Skin Cluster on a single piece of geometry, opening the door to many new possibilities for riggers. Artists will have the ability to easily layer deformations like creating a layer for squash and stretch, a layer for kinematic motions, and another for fine details. This also opens up possibilities for alternate weighting for a variety of needs, both technical and artistic.

Paint Skin Weights – Numeric Deformer Weight Visualization

A new Weight Visualization setting in the Paint Skin Weights Tool lets you display weight influence numerically in the Viewport. Animators and riggers can view and edit the influence of weighting on surrounding joints and influences more precisely.

Other Rigging Improvements

  • Rigging Math Nodes: A robust set of math nodes have been added to the suite of utility nodes that riggers can leverage for complex character rigs. This includes nodes such as sin, pi, cos, log, lerp and many more. The nodes allow riggers to combine simple math operations into node graphs that make up complex rig components.
  • aimMatrix and blendMatrix improvements: A new matrix setting has been added to both the aimMatrix and blendMatrix nodes. SpaceMatrix is a set of Pre and Post Matrix floats that multiply inputs and outputs. This will allow riggers to create setups without the need for extra multMatrix nodes.

Artist-friendly updates.

Mac M1 architecture support

Artists on the Mac platform will now be able to run Maya on modern systems with the latest M1 architecture.

Viewport Panel Filter UI

In the Show Menu of the Viewport, menu items are now sorted into categories in alphabetic order. You can also save custom filter presets allowing you to quickly switch between filters in any given viewport to focus on your work.

Hydra for Maya

This first look of Hydra for Maya enables you to use Pixar’s Hydra rendering framework as a viewport inside Maya. This plugin is part of the USD for Maya and is open source. With Storm, you get Hydra’s primary rasterization render engine which is highly scalable, multi-pass and includes OpenSubdiv mesh rendering support. With the render delegate system, you also have the ability to use the renderer of your choice.

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Capabilities in 3ds Max 2024

3ds Max brings new capabilities and improvements to modelling, animation, and rendering tools so you can focus on being creative.

The new Boolean modifier offers a modern and intuitive way to produce clean geometry while updates to Array enable you to create beautiful nature-like scenes procedurally.

You can also confidently rely on Colour Management to see colours consistently across the pipeline – from Viewport to final render.

3ds Max continues to add animation improvements to help you bring characters to life.

Build complex designs with robust modelling tools.

Boolean Modifier

Produce clean geometry with a modern and intuitive Boolean modelling workflow in 3ds Max. The new Boolean modifier within the trusted modifier stack enables you to edit and manipulate mesh output with ease and speed. This includes a new Boolean operand called Split as well as Mesh and VDB-based Boolean operations.

Array Modifier

Create beautiful and complex designs procedurally with new features and updates to the Array modifier.

  • Generate spiral-based distribution patterns with the new Array modifier distribution type called Phyllotaxis which works from the centre out and generates natural designs.
  • Assign Material IDs to mesh data on a per-face and per-element basis using new methods like random, ordered, first, middle, and last. Additional controls for N times and Phase are also included.
  • A new “progressive” option in Array’s Transform controls for Radial, Spline, and Phyllotaxis distribution types let’s you alter transform data so you can progressively change from first to last mesh distribution.

Retopology Tools 1.3

Use the latest version of Autodesk ReForm with the Retopology modifier in 3ds Max.

Editable Poly & Edit Poly Modifier

  • Editable Poly and Edit Poly bring improvements to retriangulation of polygonal face data like Face splitting by insertion of edges, Slice, Cut, Bridging, Vertex extrusion, and Edge extrusion.
  • Similar to the capabilities found within Editable Poly, Edit Poly now includes the same automatic retriangulating of polygon faces when a vertex, edge, or face component has been adjusted to cause edges and hidden faces to cross.
  • When performing a Cap option on an Editable Poly or an Edit Poly modifier, the faces that are generated are now also applied to the same smoothing group so you can create beautiful results.

Symmetry Modifier

When a new Symmetry modifier is applied, it will now operate on the X axis by default allowing you to better match the operate to how you create your art content.

Editable Mesh and Edit Mesh Modifier

Improvements to AutoSmooth enable you to achieve better results when performing the operation on an Editable Mesh or Edit Mesh modified object.

Spline Vertex Welding

Enhancements to weld operations of Spline objects enable you to generate complex assets with accuracy. Use the Spline vertex weld operation to bond a destination vertex to your target vertex with better precision and achieve predictable results when performing a Spline Extrude operation on Knot components and edge components.

Faster STL Import

STL, a file format commonly used for 3D printing, can contain millions of triangles of data. You can now load STL files faster with improved performance to the File Import. The STL Import dialog UI also brings enhancements for better efficiency.

STL Check Modifier Processing

Significant performance improvements to the STL Check modifier allow you to perform operations on dense polygonal meshes and objects with greater speed.

Material Modifier

Applying the Material modifier to a Spline object that is renderable via settings of the Spline or the Renderable Spline modifier will preserve it as a Spline object type. The Material Modifier will also now retain explicit normals when applied to a Mesh based object.

Produce high-quality visuals with interactive rendering tools.

Colour Management

Effective colour management tools built around the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) and OpenColourIO (OCIO) are a must for today’s modern pipeline for Film and TV production. You now have complete control over colors with Color Management in 3ds Max. From input to output, the viewport to final render – colours will be predictable and consistent, giving you the confidence that colours will match and fit in with the colours in the rest of your pipeline.

Compound Notes

Managing complex shader graphs can be difficult due to the large number of nodes and connections that can be employed. With Slate Material Editor (SME) Compounds, you can collect any number of graph nodes into a single compound representation in the Material Editor, enabling a method to reuse a collection of nodes in other shaders and simplifying the representation of this data.

Material Switcher

The Material Switcher is a new node in the Material Editor that enables a simple control method for you to manage the display of multiple material variants that can be applied to objects and USD data in your 3ds Max scene. It will allow you to organize and store thousands of materials in one convenient Switcher material. You will also be able to swap the assigned shader of your objects easily and quickly. These changes will be updated in the viewport and your render.

Slate Material Editor

The Slate Material window has been improved using QT, a cross-platform software for creating graphical user interfaces. The window can now be docked anywhere inside the 3ds Max UI, letting you optimize and customize the interface the way you like.

Additional updates have been added such as a new SME Element under the Colors preferences that gives you total control over how the different maps and materials appear in the SME. An option to draw the connecting wires behind nodes has been introduced, helping you keep your shader graph cleaner and more readable.


MaxtoA and Arnold now support Color Management workflows if you choose OCIO mode inside of 3ds Max.

  • Arnold now enables the automatic generation of optimized TX textures from source textures as part of the rendering process. Using optimized textures is critical for rendering speed and memory usage and having the TX conversion as part of the core rendering will help users without a dedicated TX workflow to achieve faster renders.
  • Arnold and the Arnold Render View have been updated to work with Color Management in 3ds Max 2024.
  • MaxToA now passes all color information from 3ds Max to Arnold for rendering by handing over the entire OCIOconfiguration for rendering.

Seamless workflows with USD 0.4.0.

USD Export SDK

Plugin developers can now wrap USD Export extensions into a context that consolidates all the necessary settings for the plugin to properly run. You can choose which plugins are being used at export-time. This helps you better control how the plugin works when exporting data reduces the checkboxes to check when exporting USD with specific plugins.

USDSkel Support

The USD Exporter now supports exporting Skin modifiers into USDSkel. There are preferred when re-using skeletal animations across many characters, scenes, and projects. USDSkel creates much smaller USD files than vertex animations.

Bring characters to life with enhanced animation capabilities.

Transform List Controller

The Transform List allows for multiple Transform controllers to be added to an object as layers of blended animation data. A new method enables you to easily refine and iterate upon your work through unique animation data for each layer and controls how and when the layer of data can blend together.

  • Mix Transforms: Previously, only nodes could have a transform controller. With the Transform List, you can now blend node transforms directly without additional scripting or complexity.
  • Isolate Isolation: You can now choose to iterate on options and edit list entries in isolation for better control.

Updates to Motion Paths

Motion Paths now support a larger set of position controllers enabling animators to have a wider range of support to manipulate animation data directly in their viewport.

Artist-friendly updates.

Mesh & MNMesh Changes

Experience improved stability and performance gains with an updated. The internal structure of Mesh and Poly data has been updated to offer improved stability and performance gains.

Search in the Modifier List

Navigate, find and apply your desired modifier with a new search capability in the Modifier List. You can now type in the modifier you want to apply to filter a search to those results.

MAXscript Improvements

Based on community requests, improvements to MAXScript include an option to not show scripts on error, the ability to enable/disable change handlers via code, the ability to set a spinner control scale at runtime, and other small changes.

Substance and ATF

Substance comes installed with the latest version of 3ds Max. NX import now supports NX 2206.

Revit/Inventor Importer

The RCE and Inventor Server installers have been removed from the initial download bringing a faster install experience. They will remain downloaded from your account portal or included in deployments. They will also install when you attempt to import this type of data into 3ds Max when needed.

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