Animator Michał Gamrat has released mgNodes: a free Maya plugin that provides a “small framework for processing points based on Nvidia CUDA technology”.
What’s a framework for processing points, then?
mgNodes provides a collection of nodes for distributing and manipulating points across a surface. You can control parameter values manually, or by painting directly on the surface, and it works with animated meshes.
Being CUDA-based, it also co-opts your graphics card for the computation, making operations much faster.
The tutorial video explains how to use individual nodes in more detail, while the video above shows some possible uses – including real-time deformation, and using point data to control particle simulations.
It also includes one of the more weirdly compelling demo animations we’ve seen lately – which seems to show the Silver Surfer breaking wind into a field of long grass. You can decide for yourself at 01:00.
For Windows and Linux users only
mgNodes is available for Maya 2013 running on Windows 7 and Gentoo/Funtoo Linux. Obviously, being CUDA-based, you’ll need an appropriate Nvida graphics card to make use of it.
Read the documentation for mgNodes on Michał Gamrat’s website
(Includes download link)