View Full Version : PFlow Scripting Tutorials Due Soon from CG Academy

12 December 2008, 08:49 PM
(copied over from post by Chris Thomas, by his request)

Just thought I'd give a quick heads-up for a new series of tutorials that CG Academy is due to release very soon (think days, no weeks...). I say tutorial, rather than DVDs, as at first these titles will be available only via download. Rest assured though that after a short period the same articles will be available for purchase on DVD media. Releasing via download allows us to get titles "on the shelves" just as soon as the material is available. With physical media following soon after.

What are the titles? We'll we have an Advanced level series called Particle Flow Scripting, and it will contain two titles, The Pflow Script Show and The PFlow Script Show : Act 2.

The first of the two titles teaches the basic framework of MAXScript access in Particle Flow. You'll really need this tutorial to get on your way with scripting Birthing, Tests and general Operators. It explains how 3dsmax works under the hood, giving you an insight into its use of channels, particle IDs, Event Indicies and so on. The tutorial culminates in a number of real world practical examples, including all of the script access points. A must have title for any serious Particle Flow TD.

The second title then takes these basic principles and starts to expand the scripting boundaries outside of pure Particle Flow. Here Bobo will show you how to make particles move along splines. How to define targets for your particles, how to move scene objects (including lights and helpers) using particles, and bake that motion into animation keyframes.

The tutorial culminates with Bobo showing you how to create a production ready particle animation baking utility, and how to build PFlows in a procedural manner based on the collisions of a Reactor simulation. Once again, pure TD gold.

More news on these as an when they are released. Please spread the word. If you have any questions, please ask away here.


Chris Thomas

12 December 2008, 10:47 PM
Do we know if the dvds are going to require the PF Tool Boxes?

Chris Thomas
12 December 2008, 01:15 PM
No, you do not need any extra plugins for this series of tutorials. It focuses on showing how MAXScript can be used to extend the functionality of Particle Flow. Box #3 from Orbaz can be thought of scripting on steriods, as it does the same kind of channel manipulation as can be done with script. However, as a compiled binary, its much faster than script.

Having said that, it is NOT a replacement for MAXScript in PFlow as the scope of Box #3 is limited. With MAXScript in PFlow you have near enough total flexibility. For a hard core FX TD, I'd really recommend learning MAXScript in PFlow first, and then if it rocks your boat, get Box #3 from Orbaz, as together they form a perfect extension to PFlows power.


12 December 2008, 07:00 AM
pedal to the metal :scream:


Chris Thomas
12 December 2008, 10:41 AM
Ok, the first part of The PFlow Script show is available for purchase ( As I said earlier, for now its only via Download, with DVD media being available in the new year.

If you wish to purchase it, plus the second tutorial in a set (saving 10%, or 4.40) then maybe wait until next week, as we are aiming to release Act 2 then.


12 December 2008, 05:41 AM
Do we know if the dvds are going to require the PF Tool Boxes?

For several reasons, I made a conscious decision to do the recording in an older version of 3ds Max (in this case, 9.0). These reasons were:
*The PFlow script editor in Max 9 still supports color coding, so it is easier to read the code
*The Max 9 scenes shipping with the tutorials could be opened in 2008 and higher, while a 2009 scene would not be backwards compatible
*PFlow did not change from the Max 5.5 extension to Max 2009 prior to extensions, so the content is relevant to ALL Max versions since 6.0. In fact, the Box #1 extensions to 2009 did not expand the scriptability of PFlow, so the material is still relevant.

So no, no additional plugins are needed. As Chris said, knowing the scripting side of PFlow opens the doors to Box #3 fun as you just have to switch from a written language to a visual one, but the principles are similar. In fact, the MAXScript version of the code is typically more compact, just a lot slower. (Compare the Box #3 examples on the Krakatoa documentation page with their MAXScript counterparts and you will see what I mean).

Kudos to Oleg for exposing PFlow to scripting the way he did, and for giving us Box #3 which packs a lot of power in a very usable interface.

Chris Thomas
12 December 2008, 01:24 PM
On a related topic, can I ask.. How many of you reading this thread have used Box #3, either for their own use, or at a studio that has employed them.

I'd like to get an idea of how much it is in use out there. And also, it would be good to hear what you have been using it for in typical projects.

12 December 2008, 01:31 PM
I have not used any of the boxes. :)

Thanks for clarifying further Bobo! This looks very interesting indeed.

12 December 2008, 06:47 AM
Haven't used box 3.
Some guys here are looking more seriously at thinking particles.

"teach a man how to fish" is what sells bobo to me.
That and his funny accent :D


12 December 2008, 01:47 PM
This could be very interesting... Anything with Bobo, and it is bound to be good...
Haven't used boxes...

Chris Thomas
12 December 2008, 01:52 PM
Ok, the second part of the Scripting Particle Flow series The PFlow Script Show : Act 2 ( been released. You can get it over on our site. Right now its only available via download, with a DVD release to follow in the new year.


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