This release is a rather big one and has a lot of focus on improving BroDynamics, fleshing out existing features and adding new simulation mode to BroDynamics as well as two completely new tools - Renamer! You can read more about it below.
For those people who prefer to own their software and not pay for a subscription I also have good news - Lifetime purchase option is coming back in this release in a form of lifetime version which is limited to 1 year of updates. It will cost more, but I've decided to give a fair discount to everyone who already bought BroDynamics 2.x in the past.
Another very important part of this update is of most interest to studios, thanks to LimeLM BroTools now has support for Floating licenses. Floating licenses also come in a form of subscription or lifetime.
I decided to rename simulation modes to make their naming more transparent and intuitive to what they do. Documentation was updated to reflect this change as well, however there may still be traces of the old naming here and there. If you notice any, please, report so I can fix it.
Another big addition to the family of BroTools is a new Renamer tool. It's modular and is inspired by tools like Advanced Renamer for Windows. The best way to describe it is to check out some screenshots and a video which you can find in Documentation here
I'm also further improving BroTools UX around updating and licensing. For example in previous updates I've introduced pre-update backup, allowing users to restore to previous version in case there is an issue with an update. But you had to manually find and extract a zip archive which may've not been very convenient. So now I've added a
restore_backup.mel script which you can drag and drop into Maya's viewport and it will do it for you. It has to be a separate script, because of an assumption that if an update failed then BroTools might not even be able to load a menu.
There was also a critical bug concerning MacOS and Linux users that was making BroTools to not properly detect hardware IDs, and this change may require re-installing your licenses. Sadly it's not possible to auto-correct it in this case like it happened before.
Floating Licenses, powered by LimeLM TurboFloat server
Added 'restore_backup.mel' script. If there is any issue with the update you can drag and drop this script into Maya's viewport much like install.mel, and it will let you select a backup to restore to.
Updater windows now include warnings asking user to close all Maya instances before updating, as it may cause issues with the update. Additionally on Windows update check will not run if more than 1 Maya instance is running.
Added an option to skip an update, that will remember your choice and no longer notify you about an update to this specific version. If there's another version released that's newer than the one you skipped - it will notify you again.
Improved stability of licensing server connection test
Reduced spacing of some UI elements, specifically in License Manager and Preference Windows, to make UIs more compact
UI Style update
Added more tools icons for menu
Server side support for updating to and downloading specific versions, part of the work required to implement lifetime licenses
Improved stability of BroTools - Debug - Reload BroTools command
Improved licensing system to better handle multiple tools installs on same machine
Fix critical bug causing BroTools to not properly get hardware ID on MacOS and Linux
New Chain (nParticle) mode! Combines the best of... well, seems like all previous modes. It has proper inertia for both overlap and overshoot motion like Chain mode, but it's easier to work with and more predictable like Simple Chain. And it supports looping animation in a similar way as Point mode, meaning proper transfer of both position and inertia in the seam area. And it follows your existing animation and poses! And collisions with objects (any nCloth - Passive Collider). It will likely become new primary simulation mode for most animators.
Updated default values in Chain mode to provide a more uniform result
Renamed simulation modes in UI for transparency:
New tool - BroRenamer! Ultimate modular renaming tool for Maya, stack string processing actions in any order, preview rename, save and load presets and more!
Highlight of this release is addition of Cycle\Seamless Looping for Point and Chain modes!
Chain mode - also tweaked how it simulates start and end frame. It was skipping first 2 frames of the simulation to preserve initial pose, this was a rudimentary feature that was taking it's roots way back from version 1.x. Now it will simulate and match all frames including first ones, required for
Simple Chain mode - Is Loop? option renamed to Create seamless loop, should be more intuitive to understan what it does
Custom Scripts menu now supports running mel scripts
Custom Scripts menu now has reload button which will allow adding new scripts without restarting Maya or reloading entire BroTools plugin. It's only required if you add new files to custom scripts folder, reloading is not required to detect changes in scripts' code, they are loaded from disk for every execution
Custom Scripts now have Python and Mel icons
BroDynamics on startup will check Undo Queue state, if it's off it will suggest to enable it
Point mode - previously simulation was ending 1-2 frames before the final frame. Now it simulates until the very last frame properly. Tweaked frame walking logic to better match frames on different steps.
Fixed some logging bugs introduced by python 2 to 3 convertion
Fixed 'Object's name 'bro_dynamics_windowWorkspaceControl' is not unique.' error when trying to reopen BroDynamics UI or other BroTools dockable UIs when it's been docked before closing Maya
Improved message for offline activaiton
IKFK Switcher window is now dockable
You can now dock some windows together, for example you can combine IKFK Switcher, Tweeener and BroDynamics into one window. This concept will be improved in future versions
All dockable windows will now remember their docked state between maya sessions and when closed and reopened
Added an option to revert to old version to the main BroTools menu for users coming from BroDynamics 2.x
Fixed some HTTP error messages not showing up
New Tool! Tweeener - allows creating in-between and overshoot poses with a slider. Well, if you know TweenMachine - you know what Tweeener is. But it now comes included with AnimationToolbox, has sleeker UI and is going to be upgraded over time with new features.
Fixed bug with SquashStretch tool showing errors and not reverting slider on selection change
Menus for fileops advertised in 2021.5.14 were missing on some platforms, this has been fixed
New Animation Layer checkbox! It will automatically generate a new animation layer and all simulated keyframes will go there. Should allow to improve iteration speed a lot, no need to remove keyframes or wait for undo command to finish, just disable current simulaion layer and run simulation again. It also preserves your existing keyframes, allows to compare different simulation results or stack simulations on top of each other.
GIF Playblast and other playblast tools that expected camera names to have "Cam_" will now support namespaces
License Manager window will now automatically select "Install" if you only have 1 license, so you can just click "Next"
License Manager will now show a warning suggesting to start a trial and a "Go Back" button if you don't have any licenses
Start Trial button was not available after running License Manager once
Pre-update backups will now include date and time when they were created
Fixed License Manager window width, it would open up too narrow to show license action dropdowns, causing confusion
Improvements to better support those upgrading from BroDynamics 2.x
Added File Tools menu containing some tools to help working with files and file browser. Available to both BroDynamics and BroTools users
Locate current scene - will reveal current scene folder in your system's file browser (Explorer in Windows)
Locate current project - will reveal current project folder in file browser
Find Textures - for every file texture in the project it will scan current project directory and subdirectories for a file with matching name and replace the path to the file. Can help find missing textures in the scene.
Find Textures In - does the same thing as Find Textures, but allows user to specify directory to scan in. Also recursive. Can be used to find missing textures or to replace existing textures with other textures in another folder, as long as they have same filenames.
A backup of BroTools folder will now be created before every update to allow user to easily roll back in case of a failed update
Fixed config read error preventing Point tab from showing in Maya 2022+ with Python 3
Fixed Python 3 (Maya 2022+) bug causing updater to fail file downloads
Changes how BroTools identifies hardware IDs, should help make it more stable and unify between different Python versions. It will attempt to upgrade old HID in the database, but if it fails it may require you to reactivate your license. To do it open License Manager, enter your email, click "Next" select "Uninstall" next to your license, click Next. Close any windows that show up, reopen License Manager, enter your credentials, click Next - select Install from the dropdown. Click Next. Your license should be bound to new ID.
Network host IP input changed from a text box to a dropdown list of IPs that are available for use with network licensing system for transparency
Fixed a bug causing menus for some tools to not be created
Python 3 and Maya 2022 support
Small UI tweaks
In Chain - Renamed "Use Nucleus (Collision mode)" checkbox into "Enable Collisions (Use Nucleus)" to make it more intuitive as to what this checbox is for.
New tool under Curves subsection - Cycle Animation Tangents (beta), helps with making animation loops
Hotfix - fixed email validation regex to match RFC 5322 Official Standard. Prior to this update some emails would be falsely detected as invalid.
Downloader speed up
Add file download progress indication to downloader
Fixed a severe bug affecting Unix (Mac and Linux) users that was breaking some of the menu entries from showing up, for tools like IKFK Switcher, broSelector and some others
Added licensing system to allow for more flexible licensing terms, subscriptions and trial periods
Updater reworked from scratch featuring per-file sync with checksum checks
New calendar based versioning system, instead of arbitrary numbers, it's now YEAR.MONTH.DAY of release. Versioning is now unified among all tools, as they all share same core modules.
Code improvements and optimizations
Installation script was improved to not require Maya restart
Cleaned up and improved logging styling, removed timestamps from logs as there is no use for them
New error message window
Transform matching now respects locked attributes
trackTransform now respects locked attributes
Better config option names in all configuration windows
Overall UI framework update
Overall UI styling update
Stopped using WebView anywhere in the UI as it was causing Maya to freeze in some cases. Which means that some thigns like changelog will now open in the web browser instead of being opened inside BroTools UI
Core function for writing files had a serious bug preventing it from writing any files that used this function
You can now use Shift+Drag selection on timeline to tell BroDynamics which frames to simulate!
Video tutorials with voice over!
Improved and Updated UI
More user-friendly and meaningful error message when trying to run simulation on objects without transforms in selection
Show error if trying to use BroDynamics with unsupported Animation Blending settings
Some now rudimentary menus and options were removed, like Help and some Preferences options
Fixed error preventing user from adding or editing license key in BroDynamics
Fixed issue where simulation could result in adding translation to control where it was locked by respecting locked attributes while matching transforms
Simple chain mode proxy joints parenting fix, fixed an issue where chain would not properly following animation in some cases
Fixed Presets - Load Defaults, which was broken for a while
Animation Toolbox is released!
IKFKSwitcher has been updated to match new BroTools frameworks and updated UI.
Code cleaned up
BroNode updates and improvements
Maya 2019-2020 improved compatibility
Added prefix to internal menu names to avoid potential clashing with other plugins
Added a configuration option to fallback to using a more reliable QTextBrowser instead of QWebEngineView. There was a slowly but surely growing number of users reporting Maya hanging when trying to import it, and disabling anti-malware software was not always a solution.
core.cfg was deprecated, as it was only used to define config and log directories, which was moved to environment variables
Maya menu improvements and bug fixes
Minor improvements, still pending major redesign
Maya 2019-2020 improved compatibility
Added 'Disable Viewport' checkbox which may allow to speed simulation up a bit more
Fixed a bug where some objects were not cleaned up from the scene when simulating with 2 objects or using Multi Pass Simulation checkbox