Ouch, here goes a long one
Our sites are still under heavy construction (and SIGGRAPH is no help!), so Ill just dump it here.
Heres the composite UI screenshot
and the description:
Painting category operators:
Particle Paint helper - Lets you sow particle seeds directly on object surfaces, using a freehand painting tool or standard 3ds max splines. Then use the additional Paint operators to place particles in the seeds’ locations, either at birth or later during the particle animation. This versatile tool gives you five different rollouts of controls, including the ability to restrict painting to specific objects or faces, position particles on or above the painted surface, orient the particles, set stroke timing, and much more. Particle Paint remembers the timing you use to paint the strokes, and lets you apply it to the particle animation.
Birth Paint - Generates new particles along strokes according to their timing. This makes it easy, for example, to create skywriting-type effects, not to mention custom fireworks that couldn’t exist in the real world.
Placement Paint - Lets you position and orient particles according to the Particle Paint data, on either an instantaneous or ongoing basis. Options include the ability to synchronize the particle order with the paint timing, and gradually change particle orientation from the current orientation to that of the paint data.
Birth Texture - Lets you create new particles based on the parameters of an animated texture on the emitter objects. Controls include timing, quantity, positioning of particles on vertices/faces/edges, emitter objects, scaling, sub-material options, and mapping channels. There’s even a Latency control for ultra-smooth particle emission. An example of Birth Texture usage is generating spray from the tips of ocean waves, where they’re colored white.
Mapping Object - Lets you derive particle mapping from a reference object or objects on an instantaneous or ongoing basis. You can also transition from the original particle mapping to that of the reference object(s) over time or distance.
Groups category operators:
Group Selection - Define and identify a unique subset of particles for further manipulation with the Group operator and Split Group test. Group Selection gives you a number of ways to specify whether or not the group is selected, including location (inside or outside a bounding volume), particle property such as ID or age, a random percentage, and even Boolean operations between two groups!
Group Operator - This powerful operator lets you apply any event’s tests and operators to any group created with Group Selection, no matter where in the particle flow they currently reside. This lets you modify a subset of particles without the need to split the particles off to another event.
Split Group - This test lets you identify a group to split off and decide to send it to the next event based on whether or not it’s selected.
Utilities category operators:
Lock/Bond - A powerful test that attaches particles to an object in a rigid or flexible manner, with control of the particles’ position and orientation. Lock/Bond also gives you dampening options and lets a strong force break the attachment and send particles to the next event. This lets you, for instance, spray particles onto a moving (e.g., wavy) surface and make them stick, or shake drops of water off an object.
Initial State - Lets you freeze a particle system at any point in the animation and then use that snapshot as the starting point for another particle system. If you ever need to begin a particle simulation with a complex arrangement that would be difficult to create manually, Initial State lets you do it easily and quickly.
Particle Flow Utility - This 3ds max utility gives you four functions: Clean up hidden factors that can slow down the particle simulation; reset the Particle View display so you can see the particle flow; synchronizes the particle system elements with the 3ds max layering system; and Preset Manager lets you save and manage different particle systems as presets, available for instant loading with the Preset Flow operator.
Utility Operator - Provides access within Particle View to some of the Particle Flow utilities, including Clean Up and Synchronize Layers.
Preset Flow - Gives you instant access, within Particle View, to any particle system you’ve saved as a preset with Preset Manager.
And no-category bonus operator
Shape Plus - A library of new 2D and 3D shapes for your particle animations. Among the 2D shapes are geometrical shapes such as hexagon, square, and circle, and the 3D shapes include dodecahedron, pyramid, and a special shape for 3D facing particles. And both categories include musical notes and alphanumeric characters in different fonts that you can emit sequentially or in random order.