Originally posted on 31 July 2022. Scroll down for news of the thinkingParticles 7.2 update.
cebas Visual Technology has updated thinkingParticles, its particle and physics plugin for 3ds Max.
thinkingParticles 7.1 adds five new solvers for simulating ‘hyperelastic’ materials like rubber and jelly.
Other changes include a new particle multiplication operator for up-scaling simulations, the option to export particles in PRT format, and the option to display simulation volumes in the 3ds Max viewport.
A popular simulation tool for 3ds Max-based visual effects pipelines
First released two decades ago, thinkingParticles is a powerful procedural simulation tool that has been used by leading VFX studios including Scanline VFX, FuseFX and Bottleship VFX.
Originally geared primarily towards particle-based destruction and gaseous fluid simulations, it later added a SPH (Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics) solver for liquids and soft bodies.
Subsequent updates have added tools for manipulating volumetric data in OpenVDB format.
The software is also now bundled with finalRender, cebas’s GPU-accelerated spectral renderer.
New in thinkingParticles 7.1: MPM solvers for hyperelastic materials like rubber and jelly
The 7.1 update builds on the new Material Point Method (MPM) simulation system introduced in thinkingParticles 7.0, which featured dedicated solvers for snow and sand.
To that, thinkingParticles 7.1 adds five new MPM solvers for ‘hyperelastic’ materials, like rubber and jelly.
New Tracer operator increased particle counts to up-scale fluid simulations
Other new features include Tracer, a particle multiplication operator that increases the number of particles in a simulation without “adding extra load” to the solver.
The new particles are created outside the main simulation and ‘dragged along’ by their counterparts within it, making it possible to upscale low-particle-count simulations without significantly increasing processing time.
According to cebas, Tracer can be used in sand or snow simulations, but “really shines when up-sampling fluid simulations”.
Workflow improvements and smaller features
Workflow improvements include the option to export particles in PRT formt, widely as an interchange format for particle data; and to display volumes in the viewport, as rendered fog or smoke, wireframes or voxels.
You can find a full list of changes, including updates to SPH fluid simulation, via the links below.
Updated 19 September 2022: Cebas has released thinkingParticles 7.2.
The update introduces ME-L (Math Expression Language) a new multithreaded scripting language specifically tailored to manipulating OpenVDB data within thinkingParticles.
According to cebas, it can “achieve breathaking speed-ups in handling and manipulating volume data”.
Pricing and availability
thinkingParticles 7.2 is available now for 3ds Max 2021 and above. The software is available on a rental-only basis. Subscriptions now cost $55/month or $660/year.
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