Monday, June 11th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Ephere releases Ornatrix for Maya v2

Ephere has released Ornatrix for Maya v2, a major update to the Maya edition of its hair and feathers plugin, adding a new physics system, a new Scatter operator, and a Weaver object for generating woven fabrics.

The update also adds new hair clumping and braiding controls, improves Alembic hair import, and adds a dedicated Ornatrix V-Ray primitive for rendering hair in V-Ray.

Version 2 has been in beta since last October, so strictly, this is Ornatrix for Maya 2.1.5, but it’s the first ‘official’ release in the update cycle.

A versatile Maya hair plugin used by leading game developers
First released in 2016, Ornatrix for Maya brings the established 3ds Max hair and fur plugin to Maya users.

It offers a range of workflows for generating and grooming hair, including parametric or brush-based editing.

The software is in use at a range of game development studios, including Capcom, where it was recently used on the promotional art for Devil May Cry 5.

New Moov physics system and hair animation options
New features in Ornatrix Maya v2 include Moov Physics, a complete new hair physics system.

The system is designed to provide artists with a simple way to interact with simulations in real time, provides a range of alternative simulation models, and supports Maya force fields and collision objects.

Unlike the existing Dynamics operator, which is based on Nvidia’s FleX technology, it can be used on any operating system or graphics card, and is fully extensible via Python scripting.

Users can also use a new Adopt External Guides operator to drive the animation of a complex hair system via a set of guides simulated in another application.

Ephere describes the workflow as similar to skinning a character, with the guides functioning like the bones of the character’s skeleton.

There is also a new Oscillator operator, intended as a quick way to generate secondary motion for hair without the need to run a full simulation.

It supports gravity and standard Maya fields like Air, Turbulence and Vortex.

Clumping, braiding and other grooming controls
New grooming tools include a self-descriptive Clumping operator, which works off either the original guides used to generate the hair, or external guide shapes.

There’s even a ‘sub-clumping’ system to control how strands stick together within each clump.

The Clumping operator can also be used in conjunction with a new Braid object to create braided hairstyles, in a similar way to the 3ds Max edition of the software.

The update also adds the Max edition’s Push Away From Surface operator, plus a new Resolve Collisions operator for art-directing intersections between hair and surrounding objects without the need for a full sim.

New tools for creating woven fabrics and complex scattering systems
Other new features include Weaver and Weaver Pattern: two new operators for generating Ornatrix hair guides over a mesh surface.

The new nodes are intended for generating woven materials like rattan, chainlink fencing, and cloth.

There is also a new Scatter operator for copying strands from one object to every strand in another object, intended for generating more complex hair-based objects, like feathers or grass patches.

The scattering pattern can be generated randomly, or controlled by parametric editing or an image map.

Improved Alembic import, V-Ray rendering and overall performance
For pipeline interoperability, there is now a dedicated new Ornatrix V-Ray primitive, intended to enable hair with low segment counts to render more smoothly in V-Ray.

Importing hair generated in other software in Alembic format now keeps “all information intact”

Performance has also been improved – Ephere doesn’t put a figure on the speed boost, but you can see a side-by-side comparison with v1 at 00:56 in the video at the top of this story.

There is also a long list of smaller improvements, which you can find via the links below.

Pricing and availability
Ornatrix for Maya v2 is available for recent versions of Maya running on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. A workstation licence costs $499, and the plugin can be installed on any number of render nodes for free.

Read a full list of new features in Ornatrix for Maya v2 in the online release notes

Read more about Ornatrix for Maya on the product website