View Full Version : What exactly is/do the plugin Krakatoa ?

04-28-2012, 01:38 AM

What exactly is/do the plugin Krakatoa ? I don't get it. Is it an important improvement for VFX such as smoke, fire, explosion and water?


04-28-2012, 10:25 AM
It multiplies the number of particles using cache on your HD drive (for example, default particle flow will pretty slow down when reach million particles, and Krakatoa can operate with 10's of millions particles, or even more).
Then, Krakatoa have it's own render, that shades particles in very nice way, and a lots of other cool stuff (like collision test, etc...)

04-28-2012, 09:07 PM
It is a particle rendering, caching, manipulation, and management system. It has/is being used in film/tv/tvc all the time.

Just search Krakatoa in Vimeo or Youtube.

04-29-2012, 02:17 AM

What exactly is/do the plugin Krakatoa ? I don't get it. Is it an important improvement for VFX such as smoke, fire, explosion and water?


Hristo Velev (aka Glacierise on this forum) explains it pretty well in his recent review on Max Underground:
Pay particular attention to the "Overview" topic.

All that being said, explaining what Krakatoa is and is not is a bit like explaining what The Matrix is - you have to see it for yourself. :cool:
Initially, it was mainly developed to render obscene amounts of particles. For various technical reasons, mainly due to certain limitations of 3ds Max itself, it then grew into a set of tools to create, manipulate and manage these particles both inside the Max scene and on disk, and even includes bonus tools that extend Particle Flow.

For me personally, the main benefit of Krakatoa in 3ds Max is its ability to generate and manipulate particle sequences as a form of reusable asset. Such sequences can be saved once and then loaded multiple times with different transformations, particle counts, timing, materials and maps. They can be deformed by most Max deformation modifiers, and can be culled using arbitrary geometry objects to shape them into new forms. All their channels can be used as inputs in node-based flows to produce new channels, and data can be acquired from other scene objects, meshes and particles. Krakatoa also provides several dedicated object to convert on the fly geometry volumes, splines, hair strands, FumeFX voxels etc. to point clouds that can also be modified, mapped and deformed as particle sequences.
On several projects including "Journey 3D" and "Avatar", a single particle sequence was reused dozens of times within the same frame using different deformations and timing, thus reducing both simulation time and disk usage while delivering hundreds of millions of particles.

And all this is just scratching the surface.

Krakatoa is not a simulation package though. You want FumeFX, Phoenix, RealFlow, Naiad, Thinking Particles etc. to generate data beyond what PFlow can give you. But it is a great companion to these products, and also integrates well with most other Thinkbox plugins, esp. Frost and Genome. So it is just a piece of the puzzle.

Here is one of my favorite Krakatoa videos, particle motion generated mostly using FumeFX and Particle Flow:
For more real-world examples, see here:

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