Saturday, May 12th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Ziva Dynamics releases Ziva VFX 1.3

Ziva Dynamics’ breakdown of a lion animated using Ziva VFX, its Maya plugin for simulating soft tissues. Version 1.1 of the software added new options for wrapping sheets of connective tissue arond muscles.

Originally posted on 11 December 2017. Scroll down for news of the 1.3 update.

Ziva Dynamics has released Ziva VFX 1.1, the new version of its skin and muscle simulation plugin for Maya, adding new tools for wrapping sheets of tissue around muscles, and improving simulation performance.

A powerful tool for creating stable, accurate simulations of soft tissues
First released publicly earlier this 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 VFX facilities like Double Negative, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Image Engine.

New in Ziva VFX 1.1: new options for wrapping fascia over muscles, automated mesh analysis tool
Ziva VFX 1.1 adds new options for wrapping fascia – that is, sheets of connective tissue – around muscles, including a rest scale option to create a shrinkwrap effect, and a pressure option to apply external forces.

The latter pushes the fascia into the grooves between muscle segments, helping maintain muscle definition.

The process of tetrahedralising a mesh before simulation gets “significant” performance improvements: Ziva Dynamics claims it can be 5-10 times faster for complex meshes.

There is also a new mesh analysis tool to identify ‘negative volumes’ – regions of a mesh with inverted normals – which often look fine to a cursory inspection, but which break material attributes.

Updated 17 January 2018: Ziva Dynamics has now released Ziva VFX 1.2.

It’s a smaller update, but it adds an automatic mesh-checking system for identifying problems with source meshes, and improves performance: cloth sims, in particular, are “twice as fast on some simple benchmarks”.

Updated 12 May 2018: Ziva Dynamics has now released Ziva VFX 1.3.

Again, it’s mainly workflow improvements, the main one being the ability to set the default solver in multi-solver workflows, but there is also a new free downloadable character: the appealing ‘jellyphant’ above.

Pricing and availability
Ziva VFX 1.3 is available for Maya 2014 and above, running on Windows 7 and above or Linux.

Tthe Indie edition of the software, aimed at individual artists, is rental-only, and costs $500/year.

Free 60-day commercial and renewable non-commercial trial licences are also available.

Read a full list of new features in Ziva VFX 1.3

Read more about Ziva VFX on Ziva Dynamics’ website
(Includes download link for the free trial editions)

Download Ziva Dynamics’ rigged characters for Ziva VFX
(Requires you to enter credit card details, but the download is free)