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thinkingParticles 5 Released

cebas Visual Technology announced that it has released thinkingParticles 5, the first tool to deliver three physics solver in one product.

cebas Visual Technology announced that it has released thinkingParticles 5, the first tool to deliver three physics solver in one product. Release 5 introduces, for the first time ever, a dedicated true soft body rope and vehicle dynamics system that is purely procedural. Special effects like tearing ropes or cables, cars driving in a city or a forensic crash simulation can now be done with one affordable and powerful special effects tool.

thinkingParticles 5 is compatible with 3dsMax versions 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and is currently available for ordering and shipment from Release 5 ships with one simulation license plus an offline manual that self-updates. thinkingParticles 4 owners can order their update for a reduced price. Users who purchased thinkingParticles 4 after April 27th, 2012 qualify for cebas’ free upgrade to thinkingParticles 5.

What's New in thinkingParticles 5

Interoperability: Realflow and Krakatoa

Movie production is an immense task, which involves many individuals and collaborated efforts during the making-of process. Nowadays, movies are known for their advanced and sophisticated technicalities -- making visual effects an increasingly challenging job to perfect. As a result, a single special effect now requires a multitude of software products to be involved in its creation and development.

ImportFile Node

The new ImportFile node in thinkingParticles offers now file compatibility with Next Limit's Realflow .bin files and Krakatoa .prt files -- products widely used in the industry for their specific strengths. Both .bin file types (Mesh and Particle) can be directly loaded and displayed in thinkingParticles -- better yet -- written out particle or mesh simulations can be fully used and interacted with.

thinkingParticles 5 implements the open standard Bullet Physics Library, a widely used physics engine, offering advanced features; such as, multi-threaded physics solvers as well as soft body rope dynamics. While PhysX from NVIDIA will still remain a core feature of thinkingParticles 5, latest advancements in dynamic simulation effects will be based on open standards and proprietary cebas technology.

The following new dynamics simulation Nodes are now part of the new release:

BulletVehicle --

This new Node enables the creation and simulation of all vehicle based physics within thinkingParticles, leveraging all the power of procedural particle effects.

BTVehicleData --

Following the main credo of "You can turn On/Off mother nature at will," this BTVehicleDatat node is the perfect example for procedurally adjusting vehicle parameters at any given time within a simulation. In addition, this operator can also be used to query vehicle status as well as modifying some interesting physics simulation-related variables.

BTRope --

This Node is the first soft-body physics object developed for thinkingParticles. The Node is used to create an actual rope mesh in a fully procedural way that mimics the actual physical behavior of a rope or cable. It is based on two points in space where a spline is drawn between those points. Rope physics simulations are based on a soft body solver, so it can stretch and spring back.

BTRopeData --

This Node is a matching thinkingParticles operator used to access or modify the underlying data of any Rope object in the scene. It allows a fully procedural access to the Rope properties at any time in a simulation.

BTJoint --  BTJoint is used to procedurally create joints between particles. The new Bullet Physics Engine in thinkingParticles comes with a rich set of joint types covering nearly every imaginable real world or out of this world scenario. Not to mention: all of this can be done and controlled at any time, in a variety of procedural ways.

BTJointCounter --

Iterating through an existing set of joints is essential for the fine control of dynamic effects the user usually expects of such a system. By implementing the BTJointCounter node, the artist's desire for controlling physics-based joints is more than fulfilled.

BTJointData --

BTJointData is a powerful Node that can be used to either get information about a joint or set it. This operator is used to set a joint's ability to break as well as its breaking velocity and rotation thresholds. It can also set the ability to define or redefine joint types and particle To/From connections and track when a joint is broken.

With Powerful Physics comes Great Responsibility

The newly introduced BulletPhysics engine in thinkingParticles delivers a more unified and powerful dynamics simulation system than ever before. To achieve such a dramatic improvement in physics simulation, many internal core functions had to be rewritten.

Handling of physics properties is now done in a fully dynamic way -- adding only little overhead on those objects/particles when needed. In fact, if there is no specific Bullet Physics effect in a setup - properties will not exist at all in memory or throughout the whole simulation.

Rich set of new thinkingParticles 5 Tools

EggTimer -- thinkingParticles offers advanced Non Linear Animation features (NLA) allowing control time-based effects in a completely different approach from how it is usually done in 3ds Max. The EggTimer helper Node behaves exactly like an alarm clock and a timer combined - it runs for a certain (pre-set) amount of time and then stops and flags a signal. This can be used in a variety of ways to control other connected Nodes.

Math --

Procedural effects are all about detailed control. This new Node allows users to do a variety of mathematical operations on any 2 input values and present the final result in its output port.

Matrix --

A node many users wished for, this node offers raw Matrix of mathematical operations in various combinations. It is best used with the newly added Math operator.

Comment --

A few weeks in, who can remember what idea someone had in a dynamics setup? This helper node does. It stores a text that can be used to describe a wire setup, a scene or anything else important enough to be stored along with a DynamicSet.

Path --

Handling of paths from within thinkingParticles has been enhanced with the addition of the Path Node. The new node is meant to serve as a "path feeder" for operators able to work with splines. Paths are either defined by a spline object or a mesh with an active edge selection.

GeomObject -- thinkingParticles 5

introduces a new category of helper nodes called Geometry access helpers. In many situations when creating advanced special effects, there is a need to query about object states and such queries can go even down to the face or vertex level of an object. The Object helper is specifically designed to supply object data to other thinkingParticles nodes.

GeomParticle --

This new Helper Node permits the query of any connected particle about mesh specific data. A user can query for the closest Object by Surface, by Vertex or even get the closest point by surface along with the relevant distances and vertex IDs.

GeomPoint --

The GeomPoint node is one of the more powerful additions to thinkingParticles 5, where it outputs and uses object (mesh) data. Users can query for the color on a surface, material index Face Normal, velocity and many more point related data.

GeomVertex --

A new Helper Node used to query vertex related data from any mesh. Such data can be further used and fed into other thinkingParticles Nodes.

GeomRandom --

The new node creates random points in space based on the geometry data that is fed into it.

VolumePos --

A new and enhanced temporal interpolation option has been added to this helper node, enhancing particle position accuracy on fast moving emitters by a magnitude.

SurfacePos --

A new and enhanced temporal interpolation option has been added to this helper node, this enhances particle position accuracy on fast moving emitter by a magnitude.

Group Helper --

The new Helper node is used to feed a Particle Group data stream into another Node - mainly the Geometry Nodes.

thinkingParticles 5 = Lightning fast Workflow

Adding new and cool components to thinkingParticles is only one part of the equation to make a new release shine and worth getting. Another part would be our desire to deliver the best possible tool for YOU in terms of usability and convenience. Such attributes are key for a successful major release. Detailed user feedback and real life testing scenarios are what drove us to change how users interact with thinkingParticles;where setting up complex DynamicSets has now become much faster and easier. 

Node creation, which is an essential part of your daily routine, has been reduced from multiple Mouse clicks to absolutely none. In fact, you can now create all thinkingParticles Nodes without ever touching the mouse. With a virtually exponential growth of particle amounts in modern scenes and simulations, new tools have been added to cope with this multi million particle count demand. Because nothing more kills production turnaround time than losing control of your assets or effects shots -- new tools have been added to thinkingParticles to enhance the information and feedback about particle effects right from within the scene. With a simple move of the curser, full particle information is now presented in a manner that is clear and easy-to-read.

General Enhancements and overall Speed

Great care and attention to detail were put into creating thinkingParticles 5. And like any other advanced and complex software simulation product, many of the code optimizations and rewriting of core components were done behind the scenes. Some of the new and unique changes and additions are visible in the form of new features such as the Max Recursion factor, which was added to the volumeBreaker Node.

Other optimizations that have been added are strictly code related and do not have visible controls, yet, will still make your heart pound and face smile. View port redraw in 3ds Max with Nitrous display drivers, with thinkingParticles particle systems, is between 30-100 times faster when compared to Release 4 of thinkingParticles.

Scripting thinkingParticles Nodes

thinkingParticles 5 incorporates updated MAXScripting support. All previous scripts written for release 4 will continue to work for the latest release as well. Also, new scripting options allow the addition of more features and new operators. In addition to the fully functional operator Nodes written in MAXScript, complete MAXScript access to DynamicSets and Node properties is now possible with thinkingParticles 5.

Rendering Enhancements

thinkingParticles 5 improves the interoperability with finalRender 3.5 even further for scene transfer with large particle counts, instancing and sub material handling as well as particle motion blur.

Remains Unbeaten: The best-ever vessel to create and control FumeFX effects

thinkingParticles 5 has become the standard tool for FX professionals in this industry -- the flexibility and sheer unlimited power it offers, makes release 5 a logical choice.

Renowned 3rd Party developers like SitniSati also offer advanced FX tools. FumeFX, for example, perfectly integrates into thinkingParticles to create the most amazing fluid effects ever. No other product combination on the market forms such a perfect match as thinkginParticles and FumeFX.

Imagine a 100 percent rule-based bi-directional fluid effects seamlessly interacting with a fast Rigid Body Particle Solver, all from right within thinkingParticles.

Source: cebas Visual Technology

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.