View Full Version : Particle Flow Discussion

Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

01 January 2004, 10:02 PM
I just though that after the great success of the Mental Ray thread, that I would start a thread to discuss and figure out some of the new features in Max 6's particle flow. I would also like to include some blob mesh objects into the p-flow.

Some things that I will work on:

- Real looking water flow.
- Real looking smoke (small and large amounts)
- Flames
- Shrapnel and other explosions
- Mixing reactor and particle flow

I hope that some of you have questions and also bring some stuff to the table. I will try to keep a file with presets of all the p-flow stuff that I create.

This site has a good beta of their water flow system for free download. Check it out.

3d Glue (

Please offer any other information that you may have for particle flow or blob meshes.

Lets get started.

01 January 2004, 10:36 PM
just want everyone to know that i am here too and hopefully will stay current in testing all the new things that people do as well as doing some of my own. hope to get started this weekend.

01 January 2004, 11:08 PM
I would like to see some advanced tutorials on how to create realistic fire / smoke effects. Similar in quality to the examples on page 4 of this document:

Maybe this is not possible without plugin's and/or programming though?

At any rate, hopefully this thread will flourish with info.:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 11:20 PM
wow those guys over at ILM are off the chain:drool:

01 January 2004, 11:34 PM
Just wanted to mention some of Allan Mckays video tutorials about pflow, since I found his results very impressing (for example the cigarette smoke setup).

Here is the link:

EDIT: And here is a link to the initial thread here on CG talk:

cris castro
01 January 2004, 11:47 PM
i think there's too much mathematics in that

01 January 2004, 11:21 AM
I would like to know that what technique should be used to get a smooth detailed render between particles, like in the allanmckay examples?

01 January 2004, 02:46 PM
:drool: OMG!:drool: Thank you for the links. I will get on to trying to reproduce what he did as soon as possible.

But first let me go buy a new computer :cry:

I can see how this new particle flow could be used for many different setups. I hope that we end up with a very substantial library of particle events! Tack on some reactor and some cool textures and we are set.

Good luck to all.


01 January 2004, 04:11 PM
Yes, this stuff has got a easy learning curve. I did one of the tuts that Allan had on his web site. And I must say that Allan has me hooked on Particle flow now.:bowdown:

There is one question. Allan's dots are smaller than mine and his preview is more distinguishable because of it. How do I change the dot size?

More to come, but here is the test video.

test.avi (

01 January 2004, 04:15 PM
:drool: :drool: :drool:

Hey rans, i know you have been watching those allanmckay tutorials havent you? those things are freaking sweet. every free chance i get im trying to watch at least one. i gotta get a better computer... NOW:cry:

01 January 2004, 04:34 PM
If I recall correctly, to get the small dot's like on Allan McKay's you have to set 3ds up to use the software render mode. Not openGL or DirectX.

01 January 2004, 05:42 PM
its friday guys:applause: :bounce: :beer: :buttrock:
so tonight when i get off work i will start messing around with the pflow. that, from what i have read lightly touched, seems to have an easy learning curve and easy interface. i will have to wait until i get the inernet at home and can read all the posts at a very slow rate befor i can start to understand and mess with the MR Materials. hope topost some sweet work soon..

01 January 2004, 06:19 PM
hey Rans,
is you read this....

check your mail

01 January 2004, 08:12 PM
just got back from lunch and while i was gone i downloaded the creating cigarette smoke tut. from allans site. :drool: :drool: :drool:

that was sweet.
Hey rans, you seeing that yet. are you thinking what im thinking my friend?


01 January 2004, 09:14 PM
Hey just to tell everyone I have some video tutorials on PFlow over at 3dluvr ( I must say the PFlow is very easy to learn and also very powerful. This is the kinda stuff that I love. Folical9, I plan to do some video tutorials on Afterburn on how to create those effects you were saying. My friend and I are huge members over at 3DBuzz and were starting a new 3D community. I'm making some intermediate to advanced tuts on how to do smoke, explosions, fire, dust, and clouds.:)

01 January 2004, 09:40 PM
thanx for the links.... your link to your site is broken.

01 January 2004, 09:46 PM
Oh yeah, thats an old site that a friend made for me. I'm in production of Inferno-3D right now. :)

01 January 2004, 07:33 AM
Treed, thanks for the info. I will be looking forward to the new site. I was hoping to make the effects without additional plugins like afterburn though.

01 January 2004, 10:58 AM
In maya there is Areteis Pyro for those effects,

for max i think we need to wait for chaos AURA...

In afterburn is very difficult too..

We can do the simulation with pflow, but what about the Photorealistic render?


01 January 2004, 01:09 PM
"We can do the simulation with pflow, but what about the Photorealistic render?"

What do you mean by "Photorealistic render"?

I think mental ray is realistic enough.

01 January 2004, 01:55 PM
Afterburn is a Photoreal render volumetric effect,with shadow ecc..

with pflow, u can do the simulation of the explosion, but when u go to render ur scene, what u see?Cubes?sphere with some cool materials?? without some sort of volumetric effect,the explosion can't be Photoreal..

01 January 2004, 03:38 PM
Anyone know when this Aura will be released? It looks really nice, and are there ways to do something like this with afterburn and pflow?

01 January 2004, 04:00 PM
For volumetric effects you need AfterBurn, I haven't heard of any free plugin for those...

01 January 2004, 04:26 PM
See first you need the movement of the particles. After that you add all the volumetric goodies to them to get the look you want. And no afterburn is incredibly easy to learn.

Also I have a scene with Afterburn and PFlow and I need help. How do I get AB to only effect this certain event in PFlow. I have the PFlow-AB operator in the event I want it in, but the AB effect is going on the whole particle system. Any ideas?

01 January 2004, 08:32 PM
show us the flow and we could hunt the problem down for you.
after burn and pflow works great together with the 3.1 release

01 January 2004, 02:07 AM
Well I can't give you the max file because the files to big or just a screenshot, cuz the maximum size is 20kb. I can get it to be 50KB but not 20KB. :wip:

01 January 2004, 02:15 AM
Originally posted by treed
Also I have a scene with Afterburn and PFlow and I need help. How do I get AB to only effect this certain event in PFlow. I have the PFlow-AB operator in the event I want it in, but the AB effect is going on the whole particle system. Any ideas?

Are you sure that in the Afterburn settings (Environment tab) you are selecting the Pflow-Aburn operator and not the PFSource?

01 January 2004, 02:21 AM
Ahh sweet, thanx KaMe. :)

01 January 2004, 08:29 AM
I can get it to be 50KB but not 20KB

just zip or rar the file, then see what you get. max files are outrageously bloated :) i have a few 50+MB files that zip down to 4mb

01 January 2004, 04:31 PM
Yeah, I tried that but it was still too large of a file.

01 January 2004, 06:56 PM
Customize>Preferences>Files>Compress On Save
This helped me alot for saving HD space...

01 January 2004, 09:44 PM
I just wanted to point you to Brandon Davis homepage where he put out some cool online video-tutorials about Particle Flow. Brandon has been closely involved in the development of Particle Flow.

Brandons homepage:

And his tuts:


01 January 2004, 09:47 PM
And did you see this cool example of Particle Flow use .. in combination with Max Scripting from Christopher Thomas - his crawling spiders example :eek:

Chris Thomas homepage:

And his tutorial:


PS. Note that Max 5.1 and finished animation is availabe for download on the tutorial page.

01 January 2004, 10:08 PM
I love the way that he used pflow to animate the spiders, but I dont have the scripting knowledge to keep up with him. I would love to get to spend some time in after burn some time.

I will have some more test renders up later in the week, im swamped at work right now.

Chris Thomas
01 January 2004, 06:01 PM
Pflow is a very flexible system and will allow most users to acheive most effects most of the time. However, some times you will quite simply hit a brick wall and need to find a solution. Thats where scripting comes in. Also, somtimes you may want to try something beyond the initial scope of pflows core operators. Again this is where scripting comes in.

To be honest the same goes for much of Max, and indeed CG in general. I would really recommend going through the pflow scripting tutorials that can be found on Bobo's site.

Each of those tutorials demonstrates a basic feature of scripting with pflow and if you read through those tutorials and the associated scripts you will see that you do not have to be a scripting ninja to script in pflow. (and indeed I am not, and I did)

First steps are try modifying Bobo's scripts to do something similar. Or maybe combining them. After doing these tutorials I was able to start thinking of doing my spider script.

The idea behind the spide script is to show that you can drive the animation of particle by using various particle paramaters. In my example I'm using the speed of the particles to controll the animation speed of the spiders legs. However it would also have been possible to animated the spiders heads, palps or abdomens and have these animate based on proximity to food for instance or maybe to each other i.e. spider passes by on the left, and it looks over at it. If someone wanted to they could have taken this idea and created a crude kind of flocking system with it?

I recently also did a sample script that would take 200 pre-made omni lights, position them based on particles (omni_01 = particle1 positon etc). And then modify their hue and brightness based on the speed of the particles. It could be easily modified to modify the hue based on proximity to an object or maybe on size?

Anyway, there are a world of possibilities there, it just to be taken on board. Have an open mind and have a go. If you fail you don't have to tell anyone?


01 January 2004, 07:23 PM
Wow, thanks jmonkey2000,

I had seen his tuts. when I was looking around at p-flow stuff. I had never really thought about using p-flow for more than its original assumed purpose, particles. Now I see that with some scripting and some luck, you can achieve untold effects. Tonight, I will read up on some scripting and see how far I get before my head pops. A big thanks has got to go to Bobo for spending the time to make the awesome tuts. and go through it step by step.

The hardest thing right now is coming up with particle effects that my computer can handle. I am looking into some computers to buy and I think that I will focus in on a machine that can run some elaborate particle setups. Some kind of duel processing beast or something.

Best of luck and I hope to posts some examples soon. And I hope to see some also.


01 January 2004, 01:46 AM
Welcome to the thread Chris!

Thanks for the pointer to Bobos tuts (Wow!), and for your enlighting comments.

I love the idea and implementation of your spiders - something that I would have thought required Character Studio or similar. I also was thinking about flocking systems when I saw it. Cool idea having the spiders turn their head when some other spider is close, using the particle speed to control the legmotion etc.

That idea with creating lights based on particle also sounds very interesting. Could you not also create lights on the fly as particles are emmitted .. or is creation of objects not possible in pflow scripts? - is it possible to see your omni light pflow animation?

I hope to get some time soon to look more into depth on Pflow .. there is enough already to keep me busy for a very long time :)


01 January 2004, 02:55 AM
Here's more interesting research on smoke and fire. Again, would be nice to create something similar with Pflow.

Chris Thomas
01 January 2004, 04:19 PM
Ok, here are the omni lights and particle flow example files.


01 January 2004, 07:00 PM
Ok here is my first fire test..
I did not spend any time on the texture. I really just put this up here as a starting point. I need to find out better how the wind settings work. I will do some looking tonight.

I know that the fire is going to fast, and I would like to have some flames that break off and make the fire not so stream like. I think that I can do this by having the particles spawn new sets one they reach a certain age.

ZIP of Max file (


01 January 2004, 07:54 PM
I have a little question :

I have a Pflow particles system, and i want to have 2 or more different materials on a selection of it.. for examle, when they pass trought an object, they change color,or texture map..

Is possible??If so How to??


01 January 2004, 07:59 PM
Yes, you can have a collision test in your stack and that way you can set up a deflector with a continue set up in it. Have the collision make a change in the material operator.

01 January 2004, 08:30 PM
WHat i want to recreate is a pflow Fire system, where u have the inside color yellow/orange/red of fire, and outer color black of the smoke.. some sort of fade from inside to outside color..

maybe with a gizmo for selecting where is the fire and were is the smoke..
like the afterburn explosion demon..

thx for any help...

01 January 2004, 08:46 PM
great help rans. thanx for posting those. i will post mine as soon as its done.

01 January 2004, 10:19 PM
folical9, yeah that stuff is pretty cool on the site. I wonder what software was used to get that dynamic smoke look? I know PFlow could get the motion of it, but the shader is awesome. I bet Afterburn could pull it off pretty easily. :)

01 January 2004, 10:33 PM
Yeah, that smoke shader really makes that animation look great. I will be working to try and create a similar material to go with the Pflow testing here. (but it's gonna take some time and research)

01 January 2004, 11:28 PM
Thanks for sharing that file Rans. I've been messing with it for a couple of minutes (trying to get some smoke), and here's what I came up with:

I've added a highlight around it so it would show up better on the grey background here. I learned alot from your particle age material (never used that before). Overall the animation is looking good, but I have lot's more research to do on the death of the smoke and material.

01 January 2004, 11:36 PM
Hey thats really nice folical9. I just want to get the quality smoke that i saw on that one web page. I know Afterburn would be good but which shader would be better? I know RayMarcher is good for nice dense looking volumetrics while the Octane is for light, transparent things.

01 January 2004, 11:45 PM
"Hey thats really nice folical9. I just want to get the quality smoke that i saw on that one web page."

Same here...and I think the last image is a good starting point.

01 January 2004, 01:28 AM
Here is what i came up with playing a little with afterburn...
It's not 100% but...I used the Octane Shader...

01 January 2004, 01:46 AM
hey thats pretty good. I'll start experimenting and seeing what i can come up with.

01 January 2004, 02:37 AM
Ok heres my latest fire from PFlow. It's lots of small faceing particles with a high blur. The color was done in post, and the smoke is a seperate render comped in post. The movement is 3 winds a drag and udeflector and maybe a gravity, I haven't opened the file for awhile.

Movie (


01 January 2004, 02:48 AM
WOW!!!! wscates thats nice! Anyway you can post the file?

01 January 2004, 03:20 AM
Hey anyone know why my particle age isn't being affected by pflow? I'm just getting one straight color throughout the animation.

01 January 2004, 03:25 AM
Yeah i was having the same problem here...
1 You need a delete operator to define the Age of the particles (or they will live forever)
2 (if you're using the Particle Age Material) You need to use a Material Dynamic operator... Material static does not work...

01 January 2004, 03:28 AM
I can't post the file but I am working on a tutorial for it. The basic concept behind it is using an object to help drive some of the animation via a collision op. and a udeflector. A really low level bounce and about 10-25% friction. It's like if you hold an object over a flame the flame curls around the object. I'm about 1/3 the way thourgh the tut, and I'll post it as soon as I'm done with it.


01 January 2004, 03:32 AM
Ok, i put in a delete operator and have a material dynamic in the scene but it still is just one color. The color is just off of the display type color, its not even getting any info from the particle age map.

01 January 2004, 03:44 AM
Try this file.

Part_Age (


01 January 2004, 11:10 AM
Im having a little trouble with PFlow after i reformatted my harddrive, and.. It wont render PFlow systems.. Very very weird.. So I cant test out the changes I made to the fire, so for all I know it looks crap, tho - If anyone can try it for me, they will see what I had im mind anyways :)

Click here to get the .rar file (

01 January 2004, 05:04 PM
This is what i got...
You can see the final animation with some Color Correction HERE ( (Right click> Save target as)
and the image with no post is attached...
The color doesn't seem right to me... :shrug:

Edit: Updated the Color Corrected Animation

01 January 2004, 05:09 PM
Is there a way to get bits of the fire to break off and flot away together.

You may get a spawn test to pull that off, its just that right now all the fire that I do looks like dust and not a solid flame. Same goes with the smoke.

01 January 2004, 08:22 PM
I'm trying to get a nice smoke/fire effect with pflow and AB. I have two different AB systems and in one of the systems I have and explode deamon so its a really hot bottom but it has really transparent smoke. I still have much to work on the explode deamon part at the bottom but overall its coming together.

01 January 2004, 09:00 PM
Hey this is a really nice start ;) ...
I think that the smoke should be a little more darker... (Also make the background lighter too IMO)

I have been trying to make some fire without ABurn...
This is the final result ( ... added a little bit of smoke too...
I Still don't like the color of it :hmm:

01 January 2004, 11:43 PM
what material are you all applying to your particles? mine are just showing up as colored dots. not sure what im doign wrong

here is my test. first time to post an animation. hope it works

01 January 2004, 12:09 AM
"Due to an inordinate amount of abuse, visitors to
this free account from your region or
country have been restricted." =(

Cant see the video...
I used Shape facing + VideoPost Glow...

01 January 2004, 04:08 PM
dang, i guess i didnt get the posting right.

but thaks KaMe. shape facing + video post? i talked to BigRans last night and he told me somthing along the same lines. i will give it a shot

01 January 2004, 12:14 AM
Alright I have been playing around with the AB settings and I've improved on the effect. I darkened the smoke and the fire so its more tendril like. :)

01 January 2004, 06:09 AM
All right, I did some playing around and this is what I got for a fast test. There are some things that I will change, but I will post this for now. I hope that you all can take this and run with it.

I have a m-blur on the camera, and 1 wind with a p-age for the material.

If you have any questions, I will post the file so that you can all use it as a start.

I know that there is no smoke, but Im taking this one task at a time.

Fire AVI (

zip file (

Chris Thomas
01 January 2004, 01:44 PM
Here's a test that I did quite a while back now with plfow. Its a just for fun thing, I though it would be cool to do some kind of meteorite breaking up effect. The flame is a little lame but there you go.


p.s. Could the biped posts be removed from theis topic mod? They are as the poster stated, completely off topic.... Hmm

01 January 2004, 02:25 PM
Originally posted by da_rock21
qiuck question thats a little off topic. does anyone know any good character studio biped tutorials. maybe not tutorials but just a little explanation of what they buttons do. its taking me forever to learn these things.

The manual?

01 January 2004, 03:39 PM
thanks a lot for that suggestion urgaffel, i never thought of that:argh: the manual doesnt help.
but last night and this mourning i have been non stop on the biped and after much trial and error i have learned most of the keys and there purpose.

sorry to be off topic. back to PFLOW

01 January 2004, 01:18 PM
If anyone dont have any place to upload their PFlow MAX files, jpeg images, animations etc - I've just installed a file uploader here :

PFlow Uploader (

Wich you all can use for more easy sharing of files.. e.g. - Upload a .max file and a .jpg file of the same name, so they display underneath eachother, an you can view the image and download the max if interrested. Or drop a .nfo .txt of the same name also. Hope this is interresting for you :)

01 January 2004, 04:11 PM
I just uploaded a pic and a max file for people to take a look at. :)

01 January 2004, 04:27 PM
Nice! Glad it actually worked :) I changed the name of the .max file so it was the same as the .jpg so they would be located above each other - So they would be in context :)

01 January 2004, 02:50 PM
Wow, deetee thanks for the uploader. I will work on some stuff and get it up there soon. Is there a way that we can link to it on this forum?

Thanks again for the upload.
:applause: :applause: :applause:

01 January 2004, 03:12 PM
There we go! Added a link to the discussion on the page, we're all set now I think :)

01 January 2004, 05:25 PM
ok. here is a short little test from me. its listed as flameball.avi.avi
on deetee's server

more tweeks to come

01 January 2004, 08:55 PM
Hey, Great idea deetee :thumbsup:
I uploaded 2 files (KFire.rar e KFire.txt - That third KFire.avi is not mine) and the uploader works really great! :applause:

01 January 2004, 09:37 PM
Ah, sorry - Thought the fireball.avi.avi was the same - It would be nice if you upped a picture with the same name too, for easier viewing of the effect enclosed in the .rar - But overall it seams to be working out nice :)

I added some missiles and electroballthing to the list too.

01 January 2004, 09:42 PM
i did another one, but its 1mb and i cant load it to deetee's server and i dont have one of my own. after its ".zip" its still 99kb.

any ideas

01 January 2004, 09:44 PM
Give me 2 minutes, and I'll UP the limit

01 January 2004, 10:03 PM
ok, i posted an explosion on there, i still have to go in and adjust the gradiant maps on the smoke but this is only a first pass

01 January 2004, 11:35 PM
on the allan McKay cigarette tutorial his smoke whips around back and forth very acruatly but the resolution of the video is too low for me to see what operators he has on there. does anyone know or have an idea. or is it possibly a pflow script?

01 January 2004, 12:01 AM
Yes, i actually have the max file of exactly what he did, i just followed it. I'll upload it in the pflow uploader. Its called cigarette smoke.

01 January 2004, 07:41 AM
TO---> KaMe

Can u post an example file of ur scene, or just the Afterburn and demons settingS please?

Ur fire looks really Good..


01 January 2004, 03:10 PM
thanks treed. i appriciate the help on the cigarette smoke. i did a quick one of my own and still have some tweeking to do. maybe adding more particles, i dont know yet. here is my test

man this PFlow uploader is great. thanks again deetee:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 03:26 PM
da_rock21, try smaller particles and more of them. It might be my player but they don't seem to move smoothly, perhaps a bit too much drag. Other then that it looks like it's coming along good. Here is a one I did a few months ago. Cig Smoke (


01 January 2004, 05:08 PM
wow will, that was nice.

i new somthing was wrong with it and you are right they dont move smoothly. but i will be playing with it more soon

01 January 2004, 05:12 PM
I tried making a nailgun that sticks nails to the wall, but i couldnt get the "spring" effect on the nail working..

read the .txt and test the .max file if you can help me fix the last bit.

01 January 2004, 06:18 PM
i adjusted my earlier explosion and have posted my latest adjustments. what do you all think?

01 January 2004, 07:55 PM
Originally posted by wscates
da_rock21, try smaller particles and more of them. It might be my player but they don't seem to move smoothly, perhaps a bit too much drag. Other then that it looks like it's coming along good. Here is a one I did a few months ago. Cig Smoke (


Wow, Will that looks great. Is there any way we could get a sample of the file to see how you have the material and particle size setup? Thw problem I have with smoke is it looks grainy cause you can see every particle.


01 January 2004, 07:59 PM

What type of particle are u using in the cig smoke animation?

and what type of material?? Are u using Motion blur??

Please , help me in creating a Realistic one, like your...


01 January 2004, 11:42 PM
Ok, I'll try to remember the settings since I don't have max in front of me. Materials, just the display setting in PFlow, a dark white almost a light grey. I think the size is at 0.2 or so on the shape faceing event. Image based motion blur somewhere around 1 in the PFlow Properties and in the render dialog at around 3.5 or 3. Something else you can do if your rendering out your particles as a seprate pass is to use the soften filter, the higher the number the softer the look. As for number of particles, over 600 frames at a total count not rate is around 500,000 to 700,000.


01 January 2004, 01:19 PM
I hope it's not to late to join in :)

Heres a test sample from this project we had going last year for some anti-flamable textiles.
All the particles have procedual maps that change over time, i would have made them more complex but max's materialeditor is way too messy :) (looking forward to a final version of SME)
Anyway i don't have the max file right here, but if someone is interested i could post it as well later. (it's at work).

link to tests :

01 January 2004, 01:35 PM
theotheo : That just slick :) I think most of us would be pleased if you posted the .max, .jpg and a .txt over at the PFlow Uploader ( .. Since this thread is all about learning, I hope ppl will post learning files of what they show here in the thread.

Den s forresten skikkelig stilig ut :)

01 January 2004, 05:40 PM

Cool FIre! :), When u can if u post an example file , u make me(and some others here) very happy !

Thanks for help.

01 January 2004, 06:32 PM
Originally posted by MCage
TO---> KaMe

Can u post an example file of ur scene, or just the Afterburn and demons settingS please?

Ur fire looks really Good..

That fire was not done using Afterburn... It's simple particles with lots of motion blur... And composited in combustion...

Here you can see the original rendered in 3dsmax (left) and after playing with the image in combustion (right)...
I could do a tut on that if anyone is interested... But i only have access to Combustion 2.1 demo here at home (That means a red cross in the middle of the viewport - But i don't think this is a problem).

(Sorry for going OT :shrug: ... The discussion here is PFlow)

01 January 2004, 06:43 PM
Here is "3dsmax and fire" thread I started while ago. It might be intresting.

01 January 2004, 08:16 PM
hope its not to late for another pflow fire. no glow, just a imageblur value of 5, some wsm and lots of particles. material: just additive shapefacing. this took me just 30 minutes and its not worked out. maybe on weekend i can do more on it but maybe feel free to add some things and upload it again.

pf_firetest.max (

pf_firetest.jpg (

forget to say. this works only with static camera scenes because of the excessive use of imagemotionblur. but in combination with afterburn for smoke it can be looking really convincing i think

01 January 2004, 08:34 PM
mcage & deetee : i will post the file tomorrow, but i could give a quick breakdown of the system.

It`s acctually 1000 particles with a detailed procedual generated maps, Containing something like 4-5 sublayers. I think the material is quite complex to manage due to the "constraining looks" to max`s mat.edit.
But the particles are shape facing with variable width, hight,speed and rotation.

What i`d really like to try is to animate all the different sublayers of the material. And aswell creating different copys of the original material with ...lets say a different seed in the noise map. Just to create the extra variation.

Avrage frame on those clips was is about 37 secs on a 1400mhz amd with 768ram.

But i`ll post the .max file tomorrow...

Hope this helps :)


01 January 2004, 08:50 PM
Originally posted by sidvici
hope its not to late for another pflow fire. no glow, just a imageblur value of 5, some wsm and lots of particles. material: just additive shapefacing. this took me just 30 minutes and its not worked out. maybe on weekend i can do more on it but maybe feel free to add some things and upload it again.

Ahh... additive... totaly forgot about that... great tip sidvici...
Great fire you got there too :thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 10:33 PM
Hey deetee, I created a PFlow thread over at 3dbuzz and I was wondering if we could share the pflow uploader?

01 January 2004, 12:31 AM
treed: Sure man, if its for the fellow good - Let them upload till they get warm :)

01 January 2004, 12:40 AM
OMG, sweet, thanks man. I made the announcement over at 3dbuzz if you want to take a look at it.

01 January 2004, 11:21 AM
Stole this little piece over at 3dbuzz - Its a fireworks-concept made in PFLow, by David J - I made som tiny enhancements to it, mostly material, glow and a few minor changes. But it looks pretty speet i think. The rockets themselves and the bursts should move alot faster tho but.. I think this was a cool little system!

The image :

The Video (

The Maxfile (

The Description (

01 January 2004, 02:56 PM
thats pretty cool deetee. a few minor pointers....

maybe speed it up a bit. if it is fireworks then they need to take off a bit faster. and for the explosion particles maybe there should be a few spawned partled spreading off of your main streamers. it looks really good, maybe this can improve it more.:thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 03:10 PM
hey da_rock21, nice smoke avi. really interested in your material setup. can you post the max file?

01 January 2004, 03:17 PM
sure.. sorry i didnt post it sooner. it needs more particles because they spread out and dont flow near the end of the file. anyway,

here it is

01 January 2004, 08:36 PM
Ok, I just finished a tutorial on cig smoke so here it is. Cigarette Smoke Tutorial (
I hope ya find it useful. It was done in Flash so ya need to have Flash to be able to view it.


01 January 2004, 08:56 PM
Hey wscates. Thanks for that tutorial, I'm sure it will help lots of people.

01 January 2004, 09:21 PM
OMG, I think it would be the coolest thing if BrandonD and amckay got involved in this thread. Do you know how much we'd learn? It would be so awesome. Those are the guys that I initially learned all this from anyway. :cool:

01 January 2004, 10:29 PM
yep, easy understanding tutorial. very useful will :thumbsup:

01 January 2004, 10:32 PM
Boy, Im sorry I have not had the time to do any work with this thread. I have been in training and doing other things all week. I hope to get back in and do some work soon.

01 January 2004, 10:57 PM
Yeah, i've been real busy too. Ok heres my latest WIP of an Afterburn explosion. I'll post two files called explosion1, and explosion2 so you can see the changes I made. The main differences are that in the first one it was way to dense and the colors were too bright. So I like how explosion2 came out. Tell me what you think. I will get around to rendering out the whole animation, because it'll take all night.

01 January 2004, 02:16 PM
hey treed, those explosions look great. so when are you gonna post the AVI?

01 January 2004, 04:02 PM
....and maybe an example file.....

01 January 2004, 04:57 PM
still tring to get a good flame.

01 January 2004, 05:13 PM
Rans, its looking a little too much like thick red clay dust. like from back home:D .

but its getting closer. the particles look good. i think its the materials

01 January 2004, 05:52 PM
I'm glad you guy's liked the tutorial. I decided to go a little more basic for the next one. A question I get alot is what are the settings for my wind spacewarps. So I'm going to attempt to do an in-depth tutorial on the wind spacewarp and what the diffrent settings are and how to work with them. I think alot of people jump into particles trying to do the more advanced things and skip the basics. What normally happens is one of three things: 1. They get so frustrated and quit. 2. They produce crappy results. 3. They put themselves in a corner by only being able to reproduce tutorials, not being able to make the nessacerry changes to a production enviroment. So hopefully this tutorial will help them learn how to use the tools to their benifit and not get stuck into just reproduceing tutorials.


01 January 2004, 05:56 PM
I forgot to say it's looking better Rans.


01 January 2004, 10:43 PM

Are u using some plugins? Is that afterburn or just a LOT of Particles???


01 January 2004, 11:36 PM
OK, i'll render out my explosion animation tonight. So i'll post it up soon. :)

01 January 2004, 12:50 AM
No MCage, Im just using pflow with around 400 particles. Nothing special. I just have some p-age and some other standard maps. I will post the file when I get back to work next week. I have done some work to the colors so that it looks not so much like clay dirt.

01 January 2004, 03:16 PM
Alright, I uploaded the AB_explosion animation now. Ok this was done using pflow of course with a pbomb in the middle exploding the particles. Its really nothin special, just trying to improve on my AB skills. :)

01 January 2004, 09:01 PM
Very usefull thread this is one and the Mental Ray threads are. I'm a bit too busy to contribute, but I will follow with great attention. If I find something usefull I'll add. Just wanted to say thanks to you guys for sharing.

01 January 2004, 05:23 PM
Ok this new explosion that I just uploaded took 8 hours to render. Its called

01 January 2004, 01:08 PM
nice explosion, maybe a bit to much drag IMO and the fire wents a bit late into smoke. but nice look at all :)

i suggest you should post a link, cause its going a bit confuse on pfupload. dont know witch file is from whom. maybe we could leave our name in the filename.

01 January 2004, 06:21 AM
I was trying to make PFlow work with reactor and found out how easy it is... With a REALLY simple script...
Just uploaded a zip with the animation and the max file if anyone wants to take a look...

>>LINK<< (

The script has some bugs but it works...
The first ~5 seconds of animation are just simple particles, then a Reactor simulation takes place...

Originally posted by sidvici
i suggest you should post a link, cause its going a bit confuse on pfupload. dont know witch file is from whom. maybe we could leave our name in the filename.

Yeah, its getting confusing over there... Agree with putting our names on the files...

01 January 2004, 06:38 PM
aahhh, everytime i read the bad "s" word, a cold shower running down my back. :eek:

hm, it seems i had to learn max script to enter a new level(or at least understanding what your script exactly does ;) )

01 January 2004, 12:35 AM
I accidently uploaded something i already had in there. Could someone delete I'm sorry for that.

01 January 2004, 08:29 PM
Quick question, I just downloaded the Afterburn demo and it doesn't seem to work with mental ray? Is this because it's a demo, or am I doing something wrong?

01 January 2004, 08:52 PM
Actually Mental Ray isn't compatible with Afterburn. It's not Sitni Sati's fault, its just the guys at mental images never made it work with it. :cry:

01 January 2004, 09:04 PM
DOH!...crap, ok, thanks treed.

01 January 2004, 09:09 PM
folical, check your PM box.

02 February 2004, 06:43 PM
Well sorry to switch subjects, but I really need help on this. Ok I have everytihing working the way I want to. I rendered some frames to see if it would all look ok before I render the animation. Well for some reason the glu3d liquid is dissapeared on me. If i render like frame 15 i see it as a still image, but when i start rendering out as an anim i don't see it anymore. I only see it at frame 1 but after that its gone. Please help my ASAP, Thanks. Also tried different materials to see if that was it, but it does the same thing. Why would it dissapear after frame 1 on the animation, and then i render out any still frame anywhere it shows up? Thats what really confuses me. Heres the attachment.

02 February 2004, 07:47 PM
got similar problems with older versions. with the latest (1.1.49.. i think) the problem was gone(so far). however, you should also post this case on the 3daliens forum.

02 February 2004, 07:56 PM
I did post it there. And I thought 1.1.48 was the latest?

02 February 2004, 10:07 PM
ok, here is a nice kind of a flame. its the same setup than before, just some other turbulences and more windspeed. get the glow effect via additive shapefacing. hope you like it :)

jpg (

avi (

02 February 2004, 02:21 PM
It may have something to do with the demo is expired. Other than that I have no Idea. Did you try to make another test file and see if the same problem pops up?

thats all I got...

Can you post your file?

sidvici.. what type of compression do you have on that AVI? I cant get it to work in my win player.

02 February 2004, 04:01 PM
ok, i ve uploaded a quicktime mov. i tried to optimize the turbulence. looks a bit better now. some kind of oily flames. i wonder how easy and fast you get results in pflow. this 4 sec render took 15 minutes on my home pc(1,8 Ghz, 512mb). but the best, its just done with pflow! still have the freedom with all the facilities that pflows gives you. no need for a max6 phoenix update, hehe.

Quicktime mov (

however, i think its a bit quiet here at the moment (i look a bit jealous over to the success of the superb MR thread). i think theres is enough to discuss in pflow. so....where are all the mckay's and davis outhere? get your lazy asses over here! just kidding (or not?) :buttrock:

02 February 2004, 09:13 PM
Nice job sidvici. Its looking really nice. :)

02 February 2004, 09:47 PM
I would be posting more, but I have been swamped to an extent that I have not seen till now at work. Let me get some of this work that I have in front of me out the door and I will get back into this hard and heavy.

Thanks for the enthusiasm.
:bounce: :bounce: :bounce:

02 February 2004, 10:42 PM
sidvici and BigRanS123, I solved my glu3d problem. I just deleted the 3dsmax.ini config settings and restarted max. :) :)

02 February 2004, 11:00 PM
how did you hit on that? thx by the way.

02 February 2004, 11:43 AM
I m trying to approach to a good flame motion with PF

the render is quite fast : 6second/image 320x240 (dual-1.5Ghz)

Tell me what do u think of my tests



02 February 2004, 04:21 PM
the turbulence looks cool. some kind of plasma fire. you could adjust your material and particlesize. looks a bit blurry did you use glow here?. maybe you can upload the scene.

02 February 2004, 03:04 AM
Cool fire! Probably not applicable in this situation, although with fire making the material additive makes a big difference. If you adjust the filter colour to be brighter, it'll intensify based on how many particles layer on top of eachother, which gives a nice blown out look to it which usually for fire works pretty well.
Cool work!

02 February 2004, 03:55 AM
Did some firetesting today, and thought I'd make a ball that drops down some stairs. At first it looked kinda cool as it was - then some guys on IRC started complaining that the fireball didnt leave any marks, so I hade to make some marks on the flor as it rolled down. So I spawn 5k particles every time the ball bounces down the stairs. Combined with 300k particles for the flame, you get a pretty cool effect and one hell of a rendertime :)

02 February 2004, 04:14 AM
Wow, thats really, really nice looking fire deetee. That dosen't look like 300k particles though.

02 February 2004, 04:25 AM
Actually I lied.. hehe. I had a little type-o, it was more like 200k particles and not 300 :) The smaller the size and higher the count, the better the flames :) I actually started out with 1mill particles with scale 1, and end up at 200k size 3, cause of the deadly doses of information I fed to my CPU..

There is the .max files - rip it apart boys and girls :)

02 February 2004, 11:30 AM
Sorry i'm late but i have been really busy latley, but here are the .max file for the my particle flow fire.
The flames are more based on procedual materials than actually using pflow to create realistic fire-motion.




I know the avi and the .max file are not the same , i lost the original rolling ball max file but atleast the particle system is the same :)

02 February 2004, 12:06 PM
WOW Theo, at first i thought this is an easy ab- render. but you did it very well without ab. man, that smoke looks damn good. i tried something similar with mblur spheres but this is a much better solution. very nice!

02 February 2004, 12:20 PM
sidvici : thanks, i know there is some small issues with this kinda setup, since i'm using shapefacing you do get certain limitations as to how the fire/smoke moves relative to the camera and such.
Another thing is that some of the fire parts are not blending into smoke but gets deleted. I think it is because the particles do not get enough time to blend and thereby causing them to move to an delete operator. I would really like to try and make a really complex smoke/fire setup that uses multiple pflow systems and 3-4 main materials with all animated phasing , but then again :)

Btw, great thread! Keep it up!


02 February 2004, 02:43 PM
I like the fire that you ended up with, but I do agree that your particle size needs to be smaller and have the color of the flame fall off some near the end.

Hey man thank for stopping by, I have learn the majority of what I know about p-flow form you site. thanks.

Wow, I like the look you have here. I under stand what you mean, the computers dont like you when you start getting into the Millions of particles.

I know what you are talking about. I have one or two files that I am working on that has many different p-flow layers to it. They all either look bad, or take to long for me to render right now. One day...

I should be getting Combustion3 in soon, and I plan on rendering some smoke and fire out of there and trying to use them as sprites like thy did in LOTR on the balrock(sp). I hope that I can get some cool effects form this. Does any body have a good explanation for how they did the fire in that particular scene, besides the DVD extras?

I hope to get some tests up here soon, but as for now Im swamped, and thats a good thing, right??

02 February 2004, 02:52 PM
yea, rans i know what you meen about being swampped. ive got a lot to do at work and im working on some stuff on the side in every bit of free time i get.:thumbsup:

it seems that everyone has a pretty good grasp on the creation of fire and the different tweeks for different effects, but has anyone tried a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION? that would be awsome with the pflow system. i am intregued and if i can round up some free time i think i will begin to try. NUKES ROCK:buttrock: :buttrock:

02 February 2004, 11:54 PM
I don't know why but NUKE explosions have always troubled me. That would be nice if I could set one up that looks decent though. :)

02 February 2004, 02:15 AM
doing a nuke can be a pain the ass.
i think a lot of the time doing stuff with geometry and other effects can sometimes be the most effetive way to tackle that kind of stuff, as doing it with particles tends to require a lot of work.

Using fluids can achieve some really nice stuff, like what they did with t3 using a 2D fluid vector field to control a spliced 3d fluid simulation... Ron Fedkew at Stanford helped R&D all that stuff for ILM. It's a cheap and simpleway to approach the desired look you're after without having to go through gigantic simulation times when designing the look.

02 February 2004, 02:23 AM
Ok cool Allan, thanks for the info. I see what you mean by using 2D fluid fields to get the desired look. Particles would take a lot longer to setup and much longer rendering times too I bet.

02 February 2004, 02:28 AM
well simulating a nuke with particles is a lot of work. ack, I actually did a vid tut for my dvd which covered this but it was recorded on a botched capture card so I turfed it. But essentially if you wanted to get that kind of motion you'd probably get a lot better results with fluids, at least a lot easier.

Personally if I could get away with it I'd never really do the nuke itself, just the aftermath.. big lenseflare blow out, and then the head with a bit of motion, and focus on the destruction that it causes.

Look at sum of all fears, R&H pulled off some great stuff without having to do any actual rolling big nuke, just the mushroom cloud after it's formed.

02 February 2004, 02:30 AM
Too bad max dosen't have a good fluid system yet. Theres probably ways of faking it, I just don't know how. Ohh btw, I like your drip system method on your site. Could you tell me how you got the water to follow down the sphere? That was really neat. :)

02 February 2004, 02:37 AM
Flood and aura are looking good. Glu3d has a while to go. Both Flood and Glu3d are fluid dynamics though, much like realflow. So not ideal for vapour type fluid sims they rely more highly on heat distribution.

Yeah the drip system on my site is the tutorial version which is a lot more simple, the production versions a lot more complex but looks a lot cooler.
Currently working on a personal project so building a lot of systems, scripts, controllers and R&D for the project. I'll have a video tutorial up quite shortly on it, it's just speed by surface with a few other things added in.
I've built a more complex version since then as at the time I couldn't get it to work with deformable surfaces, but now it's able to drip down them and react a lot more realistically.

02 February 2004, 02:43 AM
Yeah, Glu3D does have a while to go. I mean just playing arround with it is fun as hell, but calculation times are a pain sometimes. Hmm, I've heard of Aura but not Flood? RealFlow would be the ideal package to do that stuff but it costs a little bit too much for me at the moment. I don't know, we'll see if the guys at 3d aliens can make glu3d one of the best fluid systems for max.

Sweet, can't wait to see that tutorial of yours, really lookin forward to it.

02 February 2004, 02:44 AM
Yeah, the drip scene was quite cool - tried remaking it, but didnt turn out as well, might have another try before I turn to bed.. Too tired of this Grass system im making anyways :)

02 February 2004, 02:52 AM
deetee sorry I'll try and reply to your email today, start of the week so a lot emails to go through...

Flood is Frantic Films' in Canada's proprietry fluids system. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, although Ken was showing it off on the last Discreet tour we both did around Asia, looks very cool. I think they showed it at Siggraph last year in San Diego too, although I guess I was too busy getting drunk :)

Glu3d's made by one of the ex team members from next limit, he's done some great stuff with glue3d for maya, and the max system apparently has been much improved since then. Unfortunately I've been too swamped to go past just installing it, although hopefully I'll get more into it down the line.

I'll upload that tutorial later today, it's nothing fancy.

02 February 2004, 02:55 AM
Hey Allan, sorry to change subjects here, but I'm having trouble with my smoke. I'm doing it with pflow and AB and the problem is that it dissapears at later frames such as 110, but before that It renders out fine. I can see it in the viewport perfectly too. This kept happening yesterday when i was trying to make fire. Heres a screenshot.

02 February 2004, 03:05 AM
URL doesn't work...
answered a similiar question on one of the forums yesterday...
I assume one thing to check is that you're not exceeding your particle limit, as it's very easy to do with cigarette smoke. This especially occurs frequently if your viewport and render displays are different, as in the viewport it'll render fine, and then at rendering time it adds much more particles to the simulation and exceeds the limit. Which then tells pflow to recycle older particles.. or else just disregard the new ones.

If this is the case, select your pf_source node and go to the modify panel, under the system management rollout check your max particle count, just add a few more 0's in there and it should render fine.

If that doesn't work then... well get that url working so I can look at the image :)

Probably won't respond to anymore posts for a few hours, gotta head out for a bit. But let me know how you go with that.


02 February 2004, 09:59 AM
YO Big "B" This is a neat little thread you got here..

I will not be able to play with any of this til after march ....

I got to page 3 ,, I will read the rest this weekend.

02 February 2004, 10:35 AM
Okay tuts up.
bout 40mb, requires techsmith codec I think...
just a tut on creating rain that when it hits a surface it'll splash and run down the edges ect. kind of like psuedo wannabe fluid dynamics.
nothing to fancy.

02 February 2004, 12:14 PM
treed: Wouldnt having a material on the particles help a bit on the way?

02 February 2004, 01:01 PM
Wow Allan, thanks for that tut. 'Speed by Surface' can do more than I thought.

I'm struggling with a different problem. I'm trying to create a flock of birds flying through the sky. I created a cloud of instanced mesh particles in PFlow and added some keep apart and cling together flock behaviours, I included a find target test to drive the flock on its way and put in the usual turbulence wind and drag forces. The problem is I can't find out how to get the bird particles to flap their wings. Is their an inherit animtion checkbox I missed somewhere? And if so how can I get them to flap randomly? I took a look at the spider script a few pages back, but that's a tad too daunting for me. Anybody have any ideas??

02 February 2004, 01:06 PM
This is some stuff I did with Pflow the other day using facing particles and opacity maps, the last image uses Afterburn.
The first two aren't CG, yes I know it's hard to pick, modeling that crowd took me ages. :)

02 February 2004, 02:35 PM
Allan, great to see you here helping out. Rans showed me your site and i too have learned all my basics from your site.
thanks for the tips on the nuke. i think that i want to try doing one. i know there are easier ways but i think that its worth some time for me to try. im gonna need a better computer first:cry: gotta get on that

02 February 2004, 08:20 PM
Really nice tutorial Allan, helped me alot. Since English isnt my native language, some of the options are hard to get. Thanx for making it possible to understand alot mor in PFlow :D

Here's my result, some errors tho.. (

02 February 2004, 09:55 PM
Ok Allan go to the main directory of my webspace and click on problem1.jpg. Hopefully this works. :D BTW, I tried rendering out the whole animation but it died at frame 103 because I ran out of memory, lol. I guess thats what 500k particles will do to your system. Do you think rendering in individual .tga files would be best and then compositing them into an .avi?

02 February 2004, 10:12 PM
Ok i just figured it out. I reduced the particles to 200k and it rendered out fine. My comp just couldn't handle that many I guess. Cheers for the help though. :beer:

02 February 2004, 01:48 AM
Speed by surface is pretty primitive right now, although in the future it should be improved quite considerably.

That water stuff's a hack, but works for what I was using it for. I've built a more complex system for deformable surfaces since then.

Brainmeester, I personally tend to do a lot of crowd stuff in Maya, although if I were to do it in max then I'd probably do similiar to what you said. find target with two turbulences, one with a large scale and one with a finer scale. perhaps some script operators for adjusting their positions ect.
If you want them to use animation it's relatively straight forward, just make sure all the stuffs linked and turn animate shape on. I think that's all you have to do.

02 February 2004, 02:07 AM
WOW, I'm impressed Allan so far on your tutorial. I'm watching it one time through and then will follow it in max the next time. The only crit I have is that your voice is 15 sec ahead of the video. Thats ok, its still awesome. I'm learning a lot!

Dude, I just had this idea of what you could do. On your site you should set up a classroom thing on PFlow like online classes and have quizes and tests. Myself and other people would greatly benefit upon that. I know your busy working, but maybe later on when things die down a bit?


02 February 2004, 02:14 AM
Great to see Allan in this thread! Great Tutorial too!
I have been playing with some scripting in PFlow... Really basic stuff...
You can see the results here :

About the nuke, i have done one some time ago, you can find it HERE ( ...
(i know the render is bad, but i focused on the volumetrics)

02 February 2004, 02:32 AM
Ok sorry about that last post. I saved the movie as a .mov by accident and mozilla had some problems. Now it dosen't have any delays.

02 February 2004, 03:35 AM
treed: hah if there's one thing I've learnt things will never die down :) just keeps getting busier!
DD I'll be full time so that'll either cripple me or give me some more free time, although surfing and californian bars will take up a majority of that ;)

The DVD I've made will pretty much cover every single thing I know about fx/modeling/animation and all inbetween so it should be a really good resource for fx enthusiastis.

Kame, excelent to see! I haven't looked at the file yet although will have a look soon (big deadline right now). But glad to see more particle scripters out there, it's something kind of essential in the long run for doing fx. Looking forward to more people digging into the maxscript help file in future for pflow stuff..

02 February 2004, 10:13 AM
Kame and Allan Mc kay
How do you do particle collision with particle??
Allan ever do that in a test at
and Kame do it too in a video (PFlow_Kame.rar)
I imagine u could only achieve this by MaxScript..

I also looking for a volumetric Material (Not After Burn please)
A Max Material, that could be render on MentalRay

thx for your advices
Loran :]

02 February 2004, 12:38 PM
Is it possible to distribute particles by a polygons normal without scripting? I'm trying to create a fur like surface, but i can't get the distribution right with the rotation operator.
I would really like to get into scripting, but i don't have a clue how to start... Any answer would be appreciated. :)



02 February 2004, 01:26 PM
Another question for PFlow, maybe you've already come across a solution for this ?

We need to create Particles from a plane or box (which has an applied bitmap on it) that take the color information out of the UVWMap where the particles "sit" initially on the surface - with particleArray this is very easy since one can tell the object fragments to get their mapping information from the particle source -- but we cant find a proper solution for this for PFlow.

Usage for this technique might be a (flat) image which starts to float or is "destroyed" by other objects colliding etc. -- while keeyping the bitmap/color information that they initally had and not having the whole bitmap mapped on each particle.

thanks guys!


02 February 2004, 02:31 PM
How do you mean? the alignment based on the normal?

I had a conference call a while back with a studio about various tech things, one being whether particles would be a good solution for fur. Personally I'd say particles aren't the way to go and there's far better more practical ways to tackle this.

But if you did want to align the object to the normal 'without' code and the object doesn't deform, you could do something really really reallly stupid although the only way you'll be able to get it to align (off the top of my head and keep in mind it's 1am). set the rotation to speed space follow, set up a speed by surface operator and set the surface up, and set teh speed to 0.001.
The object doesn't really move at all, and if you had to maybe throw a drag on, although that might mess it up.
that'll set the alignment up though, it'll point in the right direction..

Although that's really bad, but yeah to get teh alignment I think would require a tiny bit of code.

Then again like I said, I'm not thinking straigh tonight ;)


02 February 2004, 03:05 PM
I know that there are better/faster solutions for fur and the likes but most of them are expensive. This is purley for education and fun.

But yes by a aligning the particles to a normal so lets say, the hair's rotation is always based on the local orientation of the polygon it's been distributed to.
This way the hair stands (or in my example the planes with hair texture) will always be positioned to face away from the polygon.
And by using various speed tests you could be able to apply some basic "fake" dynamics.
Like a speed test in the x axis would be hooked up to a bend modifier with expressions to control the bending of the hair.

uhh, I don't know if i'm making any sense at all :)

just a thought...


02 February 2004, 04:19 PM
Nice hair you got there theo... Is it particles??

Originally posted by loran
Kame and Allan Mc kay
How do you do particle collision with particle??
Allan ever do that in a test at
and Kame do it too in a video (PFlow_Kame.rar)
I imagine u could only achieve this by MaxScript..

What i did was, i had like 30 deflectors on the scene, and by a Script Operator, i made the deflectors follow the particles... and from then on its really simple...
But i'm sure Allan has a better way of doing that...

Ok, i have been playing a little more with scripts, i'm still a n00b, but its fun making them :D

Also, i always wanted to make that Twister animation by Allan Mckay (really cool anim :thumbsup: ), so this is were i ended :


02 February 2004, 11:10 PM
Ok KaMe, your going to teach me some MAXScripting. I want to learn how to do all that you just did. :) Or at least all the pflow and maxscript stuff that you know.

02 February 2004, 12:02 AM
Sorry didnt get back to all the messages, did a 20 hour day trying to beat a deadline, was ready to drop by the end of the day.

Right now pflow doesn't recognise other particles which really sucks, you can work around it by making one system feed through mesher to make it a mesh, and then use it as a deflector.
For instance, in my scene with the AA guns, the bullets are mesher, and upon collision the planes drop from the sky. It's a bad hack, but the only way to do it right now unfortunately.
I'd say you could use code to get them to work togeather, although the amount of point3 information that has to be fed back and forth would kill pflow as it's kind of slow on that side..

Hey awesome twister KaMe!
Yeah it's such a simple thing I did with that, although I remember when phoenix tools came out for softimage 3 like in '97 or something, and there was this hella simple twister cylinder that tears up this box town, and was blown away by it since max couldn't do it. So had to build this twister ;)

Showed it off on the last vfx tour for discreet I went on, got a lot of laughs, especially when i showed how easy it is to make changes, and I changed the town to have 1000 houses and the twister to be 3 miles wide!

theotheo yeah sorry didn't mean to cramp your style by saying it's not the best approach ;) yeah unfortunately I 'think' you'd have to use a bit of scripting to get it to align to the normals faces.
I was going to try and write something last night, but it was getting too late for me to try and make sense of the maxscript docs last night. Plus i'm still a newbie when getting too complex with maxscript such as reading editmesh info ect. still x-fering my maya/mel brain to maxscript if you know what I mean.

stevescout, yes! pflow can't do this right now.You don't know how much this craps me to tears. I had to use parray on scooby 2 for some of the shots cause I needed characters turning to ashes and pflow doesn't let me grab cameramap information. I've bitched and moaned about this although obviously nothing instantly can be done about this. Although it can be scripted just nobody has time to do it right now and there was a quick and ugly solution (parray) so we just went with that.

02 February 2004, 01:15 AM
amckay : Nobody is cramping anyone here :)
I think we both agree on the hair issue, and i would really love to get into scripting.
But as i said, i have no clue how to begin, i was just hoping for a shortcut with the hair thing :)

Ps. Thanks for all the tutorials so far, i`ve learned alot from you and this thread.

Keep it up :)


02 February 2004, 08:47 AM
loran: you can do interparticle collision with Keep Apart plus a following Speed Test. A least this seems to be the case in a simple test I've done.
(some of the yellow ones are colliding, splitting on collision and go up or down)

But I think a mesher or travelling deflector solution can be faster and more efficient CPUwise.


02 February 2004, 02:07 PM
great solution!!
really simple to do a not really CPU consumming !
gooooooooooooooood solution
thx !!


02 February 2004, 02:35 PM

i'm trying to to assign a object based deflector with a mesher on to a collision spawn, but it wont allow me to do it, am i missing something?

tried a Object-based UOmniFlector and Object-based Deflector

@boa - do u perhaps have a sample for that scene for me to look at?


02 February 2004, 03:00 PM
GREAAAAAAAAT solution for particle collision
easy and speed
here's the files


02 February 2004, 03:48 PM
Here is the test scene: (
I don't think that you can make a scene like Allan's AA gun with this simple approach. It does not differentiate whether the collisions happen with a particle of the same source or with particles of the other source (between bullets or between bullets and targets). I couldn't find a way to emit enough "bullets" and avoid collisions between them at the same time. Although you can sort particles after the speed test with a Split Source operator according to there source if you want to.


02 February 2004, 04:04 PM
sweet thx for the file Boa, see what u mean it's kinda slow heh:)
gonna play around with it a little more!

i'm still however havin problems with this mesher idea!


02 February 2004, 07:18 PM
man , im working to beat a huge deadline right now too allan. so i didnt get to check this thread yesterday and now its like WOW:eek: so much has been discussed and posted. this is great. i will read up and try to do somthing after my deadline:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

02 February 2004, 09:01 PM
Allan, I give your drip system tutorial 10/10, fantastic job. You explained everything clearly and understood what you were talking about. Theres one problem, I can't get the spawned particles to form a trail like you had. I've checked it but still dosen't seem to be doing it. Heres my problem. Sorry no direct link because it won't work if I do that so when you get into the site, click on the two jpg called drip system, and the drip system.avi

02 February 2004, 04:45 AM
Tyler so the particles aren't sticking? check you have a speed by surface that is 'constantly' effecting the particles and it's parrelel to the the surface.. so the particles run down the surface. Then with theparticles that spawn, don't give them much motion inheritence and don't apply any forces, so they pretty much just mimic the old positions of the head/tip particle.

I'll upload a scene if necessary. Had a look at your tree, at a glance looks fine. So I'd say it'd be speed by surface causing the problem most likely. Just check it's always effecting it.

*update* just realised i have 'A' version of the drip system, I think this one's the basic version similiar to the tut, prolly a bit messier though...

anyway hopefully that answers any q's, I haven't looked at the file so I just assume it's a working version.

Loran, yeah sorry keep apart is prolly the best way to go for interparticle collision. I was thinking more along the lines of if you wanted a machine gun to shoot down a helicopter or something where it's two different systems. Hopefully this'll be fixed in future pflow's... it's definitely on their list.

Boa, great work mate it'd be awesome if we can keep a good consistent thread going of pflow stuff with everyone uploading stuff they make ect. as then every can learn, so that's awesome. nice work!

02 February 2004, 05:56 PM
I opened up your scene Allan which looks pretty much the same as what I had, and it still dosen't show the spawned trails on the sphere. I didn't touch a thing in the flow and nothing is turned off either. :cry:

02 February 2004, 06:09 PM
zip it and send it over to I'll have a look for ya.



02 February 2004, 07:48 PM
hey tyler had a look at your scene, looks fine to me?
It trails down and has a winding trajectory... what seemed to be the problem?

02 February 2004, 07:57 PM
Thats really strange then, because on my comp I don't see the trails going down the sphere. This dosen't make any sense at all.

02 February 2004, 08:25 PM
I found out what it was! Well the display setting was on lines and for some reason it was not showing up because it was behind the sphere. I changed it to dots and its all turning out perfect. Thanks for the help though Allan. :beer:

02 February 2004, 04:49 PM
Shame on u Treed ! :D
So, what is the next challenge with PF now??



02 February 2004, 07:04 PM
I got some time off last night and started to work on a explosion setup.
I wanted to try and create something similar to mr.mckays setup in one of his videos. And with "fake volumetrics". Heh, or just something that looks like it.
So this is done purlely with pflow and messing around with materials. No plugins.
And the rendertimes were a nightmare, at worst it took about 17minutes on a amd 1400mhz 768ram.

these files are temporary, i will post the completed
rendered movie and scene on monday if anyone is interested.

This thread have been a _great_ resource, keep it up!


02 February 2004, 07:42 PM
Holy Crap theotheo, thats awesome. Could you tell me how you did the material?

02 February 2004, 05:48 AM
Holy Crap theotheo, thats awesome. Could you tell me how you did the material?
I second that. Your fake volumentrics look very convincing. How many particles in total?

And for sure I'm interested in the scene file if you'll post it.


02 February 2004, 06:24 AM
Great Smoke material you got there!... Are you using shape facing??

Ok, again, i've been working on some scripts... Really basic stuff as always...

PFlow3_Kame.rar (
Ships.rar (

Also, you can find >HERE< ( another script that i've been trying to make for some time now... The animation is really simple, but i took some time to make the script work...
As you can see, the Sphere moves in the direction that the particles hit it...

02 February 2004, 07:10 AM
KaMe: I couldn't download your files. They are downloaded as 3KB HTML files. Renaming doesn't help. Could you possibly upload these files to the ParticleFlow Uploader?


02 February 2004, 07:13 AM
They work for me. :)

02 February 2004, 10:34 AM
KaMe: Sorry but i have the same problem KaMe i cant download the files.

theotheo: yee a im very interested on this stuff :thumbsup:

I love this thread and PFlow :bowdown:

02 February 2004, 12:06 PM
I've seen many cool things here lately, but not much action over at the uploader. For ppl to learn and experiment - upload what you can share with others to the PflowUploader (

02 February 2004, 12:14 PM
treed & boa : I havnt got the scene infront of me right now, but i guess the particle count at worst is approx. 50-60.000. And im using spheres instead of shape facing, this way when i move the camera the explosion/particles wont look awkward relative to the camera. I find the shape facing beeing very cpu consuming.
And by using sphers you can apply displacement mapping and bump and such. And get them to cast a "proper" shadow.
And it looks much denser :)

But most of the work is done by the materials, by using layers of layers with noise,falloff,gradients and such.
And some of the noise layers have animated phasing for that _extra_ variation.
But as i said before , when the material gets as complex as this it gets really hard to manage, so i hope a 1.0 release of SME is right around the corner.

I will post the completed rendered movie when i get back to work (i guess its still rendering heh) and the scene for you to pick at :)


02 February 2004, 08:50 PM
what do u mean "SME"??

Sphere with fall off material in the opacity is the best solution to tweak volumetriks. You could add a noise bump that give u more wolumetrics edges and shades.

I hope many people work in that way and shared their works to find the best possible settings .
The big problem with that technique is the self shading and sometimes, the contact between 2spheres draw a bad polygones line instead of fusion.

I had to do a castel tower explosion and I do it with PF of course.My afterburn test were not satisfying and I try to cheat with false volumetrics...The too short deadline and the huge time consuming in settings and render make me finally do it with explosion stock shots compositing... Shame on me, Im so sad to fail such a work with PF!!:cry:

So I want my revenge!!!
A realistik exposion with PF and No plugins!!
I will work on it and share soon


02 February 2004, 09:02 PM
SME is the new Schematic Material Editor being created by Marsel.

I really do need to work on faking volumetrics with standard max materials. I just got to go in there and screw with settings. I depend a lot on AB to do it all for me which is good but I need to learn how to do it the old fashioned way.

02 February 2004, 01:43 AM
Yeah using falloff on filter colour with a few adjustments on highlight/shadow or whatever, you can kind of fake self shadowing that you get with afterburn ect.

yeah SME looks great

using spheres really soaks up the resources but you can get some really good results from it. Afterburn octane shader is 1000 times faster than sprites, as it relies more solely on the cpu rather than memory so it's extremely fast, although you have a lot more extra control with sprites sometimes, when you want to make particles additive ect.

02 February 2004, 10:22 AM
Downloaded sme,installed on max 6 = crash

Downloaded sme last build ,installed on max 6 = crash..

This plugin looks cool, but i can't try it...

Any Help?????

THX ..

02 February 2004, 02:12 PM
here is a quick test
faking volumetrics with sphere, falloff maping.


02 February 2004, 04:26 PM
I have been enjoying this thread and it has prompted me to try some stuff.

I have been playing around with McKay's Dispersion tutorial in combination with Find Target, trying to duplicate something similar to the old SandBlaster plugin: Going from one object and building another.

I get the particles to work nicely, but am having trouble with materials. As in Alan's demo, my particles are looking very flat and almost illuminated. How could you get the 2 objects to look more 3d (similar to the target objects)?


02 February 2004, 07:30 PM
Hi i have made a matrixcode with PFlow but i need some help

i dont know how to make it brighter at the start of the string and darker on the end like in the real matrixcode

and some more controll over the strings would be cool but how

if someone have an idea plz pm or post here

i have upload it to the Pflow Uploader (

Matrixcode movie (
Matrixcode max (

Ian Jones
02 February 2004, 05:54 AM
Morpheus09: Nice work! I took a look at your file and I learnt a lot. Have you tried using a particle age material for your letters? You can get it to fade over time. I kind of had some trouble figuring out how to implement it though. The problem is that its so tedious.

02 February 2004, 09:46 AM
loran : thats a really nice explosion, i am going to dig deeper into your file later.

Here's my explosion setup with fake volumetrics along with some test renders and the .max file.
I guess i started to mess around too much with the materials so for me it's a bit hard to tweak since the render times are so high now :)


video :
another video :
picture :
.max :


Ian Jones
02 February 2004, 01:30 PM
That is just so wicked theotheo... I can't thank you enough for your efforts. :thumbsup:

02 February 2004, 01:35 PM
Nice work :)
I think the partcles size has to grow with age (not decrease)
I always use live references. Add much more disorder, differents chunks sizes and speed...
smoke doesnt disappear so quickly in reality
here is some gooooooooood reference i ve just found!!

02 February 2004, 01:48 PM
ian, thank you for your kind words :)

loran, i i know, but they are acctually scaling up by time, but they should have been scaling up all the way and rather just fading away instead of beeing scaled down. But the material got just to heavy for my computer, so i had to kill the particle trail rather quick for the rendering to complete over night. :)
Thank you for that link, great footage allright!


02 February 2004, 02:18 AM
Made this ages ago for the particles 101 vid tut which I still haven't put up (on dial up back here and it's like 50mb). Just thought I'd throw it up.
I've made other tests similar using afterburn to do a kind of nuke type look which is pretty cool looking. But will put them up when i have time to work on it a bit more.

Just pflow and a few spacewarps.

02 February 2004, 02:22 AM
loran, thanks for that footage man! Now I'm going to try to see if I can remake some of them.

Dude Allan, thats a really interesting effect. That could be used for a gaseuos type fire effect. :) Heres some work I've been doing on getting realistic fire motion.

btw, you have to copy the link into the address area.

02 February 2004, 02:31 AM
What type of material would you use for the dispersion effect? I noticed that Alan's demo (and mine) are very flat and lose the 3D look. What type of material would work with this... especially with dot or sphere particles?

thanks in advance


02 February 2004, 02:36 AM
Mine are flat cause I'm using facing particles ;)

If you want a 3d type look then try big spheres and such, all comes down to what you're doing. I rely on afterburn for a lot of thicker effects, whereas finer things will always look flat since they're thin dust particles which will look almost two dimensional no matter what angle you look at them. But as I said it all depends on what specifically you're trying to achieve.

02 February 2004, 02:51 AM
Thanks for the reply, Alan.

I am trying to duplicate the old SandBlaster plugin. Go from one object to building another. I get that to work, but all the materials I put on it still make it look flat.

IE: a sandstone column erodes away and reforms into something else.... say a teapot. I can get individual particles to look 3d, but then the "column" looks speckled and not 3D.


02 February 2004, 04:21 AM

really low res - haven't had time to render a propper one yet.

Jasper, cool so does it transition smoothly from one object to another?
I was trying to do something similiar to that during the alpha and couldn't get it to assemble properly, or at least position itself smoothly on the other object.

little 3d cubes or triangles sometimes work well for solid particles, it depends though on what you want it to be, whether its sand pieces or whatever.

02 February 2004, 04:42 AM
I almost can't see it Allan, but i think its looking good... are you using Afterburn??

And sorry about the files guys... I didn't use the PFLowUploader cos the file was over 2mb (limit of 2mb on pfup) and i decided to upload all at once...

But looks like someone uploaded them (tnx) :
Ships.rar (
PFlow3_Kame.rar (
And >HERE< ( is that moving sphere scene...

And >HERE< ( you can find the last 'script' i've done... (This scene can be made with no scripting... but i made it just 4 fun)

Btw loran, great site!

02 February 2004, 06:34 AM
Cool Kame, nice stuff :)

yeah sorry the size/quality was a bit shithouse.

they're slightly better'ish

nothing that spectacular though

Yeah keep bringing on the script and particle stuff, awesome to see more people getting into it.

02 February 2004, 07:15 PM
Jasper, what technbique are you trying? I can imagine the target object could maybe done with a target find test, but then it would be hard to build it from the bottom up. Maybe that could be specified with an animated gradient and some scripting? Anybody any ideas??

I've been trying some stuff for explosion materials with procedural materials, but I've found that in order to be convincing, particles will have to stay quite small in size, thus needing a higher particle count which is adding to render time quite excesively. Theo, what were your rendertimes on what machine?

Cool firespray, Allan. That dark red colour makes it look very cool. Could you tell me what type of particles they are, how many they are and what their size is?

Good to see this thread is seriously rocketing off. I'm gonna try to rig up a PFlow explosion with flaming chunks of geometry and up kicking sand. Will let you know what I made of it.

02 February 2004, 07:59 PM
Brien: actually, I haven't figured that part out yet. :) I have it leaving from top to bottom, but then it builds the entire second object. I wonder if I can use an animated volume select to make the particles go to the part of the 2nd object??? Will have to try.

My second idea is to actually create an animated target that will grow as the particles attach to it. I will see how it all works out. I am not at home right now, so no Max 6....

Alan: I will try those particle types... if it doesn't work I will post it here for help.

02 February 2004, 12:12 AM
It's afterburn with fairly small particle size that scales up so it blends in towards the top. And some afc controllers for colour and such.
Density is fairly low, particle count off hand is maybe 10,000 or a lil bit more.

Nothing too special just wanted to try and get some kind of fluid wannabe motion going.

Ian Jones
02 February 2004, 01:08 PM
What do you guys make of this? I stumbled across it when looking through the help files for blobmesh.

"Note: You can apply motion blur to a BlobMesh object to enhance the effects of motion in renderings. For particle systems other than Particle Flow, use Image motion blur. For Particle Flow particle systems and all other types of objects including geometry, shapes, and helpers, use Object motion blur. "

It suggests object motion blur for PFlow systems. Can anyone tell me why? I know nothing about motion blur really... anyone got any experience?

02 February 2004, 05:11 PM
What I think that means, is that for blob mesh stuff, use the mblur shader that comes with max. With particle flow, just use the standard mblur that you set up with the camera. I may be wrong, but that is what i see it being.

02 February 2004, 08:57 PM
Well, for the disintegrate and reintigration of two objects this is what I have so far.

Its not Terrible :p HA! Take a look. I am not sure if one can accomplish more without scripting. I know nothing of scripting, so I will leave that to those who do.

If you look at this and see another way to adjust, let me know... I would love to see how this would be done more accurately.

I basically created 2 cylinders and animated the target scaling upward and told the particles to find the target based on particle age.

The problem is that the last particles still add to the bottom. This is also a really simple example so am not sure how it would work with more complex models. I am going to try another method next.


02 February 2004, 09:18 PM
another option.... still thinking.


02 February 2004, 01:32 PM
what were the settings for rendering "fuzzy_tentacle_love.max"
and do we need a render farm to render one image? :]

now about fx in the movie MISSION TO MARS where there is a big particle work with the sand storm
Done with Hooker (inhouse) by DreamQuest. Is there any way to have that kind of render with PF??? I mean Hidh particle density with shadow casting...

02 February 2004, 09:10 PM
Yah, that dust effect in Mission To Mars is sweet. Well, Afterburn could pull that off I know buy adjusting density, motion drag, and colors. Then you just have to get the right particle movement with pflow and then add the volumetrics later. If you look here (, Allan did an effect similar to the one in mission to mars. :)

02 February 2004, 01:46 AM
Yeah 'back' was the first project I was in charge of all the 2d/3d for so it was good to have control of the whole projects layout as I was able to take advantage of the way I wanted it all to come togeather in the end.
It's max 3 parray/afterburn (I used to work for a large maya based studio, so in otherwords all their 'highend' effects for film, was me in the corner with my old dated license of max 3 and afterburn).

Hookah's built specifically for doing high density particle simulations, it's proprietry software dreamquest/secret lab built for an older project and then revamped for MTM. I worked with Robert Schejr last time I was in LA, who was the producer for mission to mars, so was good to get some insight into the production of MTM and what problems they ran into.
Find it more interesting how they interview Darrin Hollings, one of the main TD's at Seret Lab on one of the Maya promo videos they did years ago and get him to say how they did all the vortex effects with maya, I love how Wavefront handles their marketing :)

RE: Using pflow for that stuff. Yeah you're not going to get the same particle counts, but you could do something similiar just not as ambitious. Having two layers, one large dense body using AB or geometry, and then a really fine particle pass over the top could work.

RE: Fuzzy tentacle love, John Burnette created that during the alpha of pflow, he wrote his own point renderer operator for rendering it out which basically renders a transparent additive pixel where every particle is meant to go, so he's able to render large particle counts (that scene I believe is 5 million particles?) fairly quickly, whereas if it were rendering facet particles it would probably run out of memory or at least render dog slow. As far as I know he hasn't publically released the point renderer, although it wouldn't take long to write one up.

02 February 2004, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by loran
now about fx in the movie MISSION TO MARS where there is a big particle work with the sand storm
Done with Hooker (inhouse) by DreamQuest. Is there any way to have that kind of render with PF??? I mean Hidh particle density with shadow casting...

You can use shadows with particles... just put a spotlight (omni, etc) in the scene and turn shadows on... Particles with shadows look really cool, but increases rendertime...

And here am i again with my scripts :p ...
This time i got a little deeper in MAXScript, but still a simple animation...

02 February 2004, 12:01 PM
Oups!! sorry Allan for calling you "adam".
THX for all that really interesting comments.
Really interesting about the point renderer operator !!!
I thought YOU do "fuzzy tentacle love Hewitt"....
"...although it wouldn't take long to write one up." ???
really? Do you think this can be done in maxscript??
If it can render fast an additive effect without geometry that REVOLUTIONARY! Mmmm, i'd like to know more about that

Great idea to mix to layer ,a massive first and a fine on top
I will try this soon!!

Kame : really? a light that cast shadow??incredible! :D
more seriously i just would like to more about the limit of rendering an high particle density using self shadow...

thx for all great comments


02 February 2004, 12:41 PM
Mmm, been one of the lurkers of this thread since it started and that renderer you mentioned seemed very interesting Allan. Is there a free existing one to try, or do you know of any I could have a go with?
I did a search for single pixel particle renderer but nothing really came up.

Thanks for any help!

02 February 2004, 03:03 PM
Allan, that technique of rendering sounds intresting, is there anything public on that? and where could i see that "Fuzzy tentacle love" render?

02 February 2004, 01:21 AM
John B has made a post in the pflow section of the discreet forums about it just yesterday actually... so go there for more info. It's not publically available. Yes you can write one with maxscript. Few of the guys at Frantic have been playing around with their own one they built, although can't give it out unfortunately, but it's pretty cool.

eep, back to my hangover...

02 February 2004, 02:01 AM
we must give credit where it's due... the script Frantic has is just a few bells and whistles added to Richard Annema's point renderer script (It's quite nice)


02 February 2004, 02:23 AM
Any idea as to where we could get Richard Annema's point renderer?