First posted on 25 August 2022 for the public beta, and updated with details of the final release.
Sitni Sati has released FumeFX 6.0 for 3ds Max.
It’s a major update, turning the popular gaseous fluid simulator into a complete multiphysics system, with a new node-based architecture for creating particles, rigid bodies and soft bodies, including cloth and rope.
It is also possible to mesh particle systems to liquids, and integration with Autodesk’s Arnold renderer has also been extended, making it possible to render splines connecting particles as Arnold curves.
Other changes include a new animation playback system, which can be used for flocking simulations.
A staple of 3ds Max-based visual effects pipelines for over a decade
First released in 2007, FumeFX quickly became a go-to tool for 3ds Max artists looking to create gaseous fluid effects like smoke, fire and clouds.
It has been used by studios like Blizzard Entertainemnt, Blur Studio and Luma Pictures on a range of major movies and game cinematics, including 2022 Indian Telugu-language blockbuster RRR.
It is also now available for Maya and, more recently, Cinema 4D, but the 3ds Max edition remains the one to which new features are added first.
FumeFX 6.0: from specialist smoke and fire simulator to multiphysics and motion graphics toolset
FumeFX 6.0 is the first major update to the software since FumeFX 5.0 was released in 2018, but it’s clear what the development time has been used for.
The main new feature is NodeWorks, a new node-based environment for authoring simulations by wiring together over 140 readymade nodes.
It was initially intended as a more powerful way to control FumeFX’s existing voxel-based sims, but quickly evolved into a toolset for authoring particle-based simulations as well.
That change turns FumeFX from a specialist gaseous fluid simulator to a more general-purpose multiphysics toolset, also capable of simulating rigid body dynamics and soft bodies including cloth, rope and inflatables.
In addition, new particle meshing object ISurf makes it possible to mesh particle systems to liquids, including viscous liquids.
Support for Autodesk’s Arnold renderer has also been extended to make it possible to render particles as points, without meshing, and splines connecting particles as Arnold curves.
That makes it possible to create new motion graphics-style effects, shown in the video at the top of the story.
New character animation playback system for flocking simulations
NodeWorks is also capable of generating flocking simulations, with a new character animation control system making it possible to simulate groups of creatures or people, as well as simple geometry.
Users can trigger new animations according to other events in a simulation, with FumeFX blending smoothly between the two animation states.
Updates to the voxel simulation toolset
Updates to voxel simulations include a new Pyro vorticity type for adding detail to fire and smoke: according to the online documentation, the result “resembles pyroclastic flows with lots of tiny details”.
There is also a new Pressure parameter for better control of explosion simulations.
Now available subscription-only
In addition, Sitni Sati has discontinued perpetual licences of FumeFX, making the software subscription-only.
One-year subscriptions have a MSRP of $365/year for the full software or $95/year for a simulation-only licence: roughly half the price of the old perpetual licences, which cost $695 and $195 respectively.
Pricing, system requirements and release date
FumeFX 6.0 for 3ds Max is available for 3ds Max 2019+ running on 64-bit Windows 8 and 10.
The software is now subscription-only. Desktop licences have a MSRP of $365/year; simulation licences cost $95/year. Two-year and 90-day subscriptions are also available.
At the time of writing, neither the Maya or Cinema 4D edition has been updated to FumeFX 6.0.
Read an overview of the new features in FumeFX 6.0 on the product website
Read an overview of the new features in FumeFX 6.0 for 3ds Max in the online documentation
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