16 Apr 2024

Introducing the first M&E oriented APS service – Flow Graph Engine!

As you’ve likely seen with the Autodesk industry platform vision, we have three terms: Forma (AEC), Fusion (MFG), and now Flow (M&E) is coming into the platform with the Flow Graph Engine service. This service will allow you to evaluate Bifrost graphs in the cloud and therefore offload the heavy compute requirements that could only be run locally before. Autodesk Maya will include this functionality in the future directly from within Maya, but as a developer you can now automate and evaluate those Bifrost graphs directly from your pipeline using industry standard REST API.

First things first, this is a public beta, so you can directly access the documentation here. The docs also contain a pointer to a code sample to show the basics of the service. You can provide feedback and input via this survey link

The general idea is that you can take Bifrost graphs and evaluate them in the cloud. Let’s take a closer look at the functionality. First, a Bifrost graph is contained within a JSON file. In order to evaluate the graph, there will also be inputs, like geometry or volume data that needs to be included. The code sample is using the USD format to import geometry for the input scene, but it could also be using any format supported by Bifrost depending on the requirements of the graph. You will also specify the output(s) and then download the results of the computations.

In order for the service to be extended into the future, you will see there is a concept of “executor”. If you are familiar with the APS Design Automation service, this is similar to the “engine” idea. Currently Flow Graph Engine supports only the Bifrost “executor”, but as you start working with it, know that other executors are being considered for the service. This is one area we are interested in knowing more from you… What other M&E “executors” might be interesting? For example, we are working on a retopology tool, that typically is also very compute intensive. Does it make sense for this style of service? Again, please provide your feedback via this survey link.

For more information on the Autodesk Flow initiatives, see this industry page: https://www.autodesk.com/company/autodesk-platform/me There is also a link there to get updates on the progress and evolution of these exciting platform developments. 

For reference, Bifrost graphs can be authored directly in Maya. For more details about Bifrost and Maya’s ability to author those graphs, see these documentation links: 
•    Introduction to Bifrost: https://help.autodesk.com/view/BIFROST/ENU/?guid=Bifrost_Common_working_in_bifrost_html
•    Bifrost for Maya: https://help.autodesk.com/view/BIFROST/ENU/?guid=Bifrost_MayaPlugin_bifrost_for_maya_html
•    Bifrost sample graphs: https://help.autodesk.com/view/BIFROST/ENU/?guid=Bifrost_MayaPlugin_get_started_with_sample_html


Related Article