Particle effects software producer wondertouch has announced the release of particleillusion 3.0, a major upgrade and expansion of the company's cornerstone 2D, sprite-based application. Animators who haven't used particleillusion yet have certainly seen the results it's facilitated, in many features such as BEHIND ENEMY LINES, DREAMCATCHER, HART'S WAR, GHOST SHIP, THE CORE AND SWORDFISH, as well as in TV shows including STAR TREK VOYAGER and THAT 70'S SHOW, and in numerous commercials.
Kurt Wiley, visual effects specialist at award-winning Visual Concept Entertainment (VCE), used particleillusion to generate the smoke and fog elements for the memorable collapsing dam sequence in the new action adventure film, X2: X-MEN UNITED. He notes, "One of the greatest assets working with particleillusion is its speed. I was able to do a series of mist and fog tests at 2K resolution and get the results in seconds, rather than hours. I was also able to easily import snippets of VCE's effects library and use them as particle emitters. particleillusion makes it possible to do complex particle systems that positively 'choke' any other application out there!"
Particle effects have been around since the beginning of computer animation, but have not been particularly easy to generate or to render. particleillusion is a standalone package, not a plug-in, designed to be an easy-to-use, low cost, high performance tool to quickly and simply add particle effects to any image, animation, or video footage. To make things easier, it has a collection of hundreds of preset effects such as smoke, fire, explosions, water effects, sparkles, and so on. The package is tightly integrated with OpenGL hardware acceleration to provide real-time previews of most effects, and ultra-fast rendering of the final output. New features include "Forces," which allows influencing particles after they are created (with wind, for instance), and "Super Emitters," which enables the automatic creation of emitters for high-res realty.