Thank you for your interest in the Particle Flow Tools® Box#2 plug-in. This new software is designed to extend the power and flexibility of the Particle Flow system included with Autodesk® 3ds Max®, particularly in its abilities to create sophisticated, realistic physics simulations. Taking advantage of the powerful PhysX™ simulation engine from NVIDIA® (included free), Box#2 provides operators and tests to replicate real-world effects such as natural and man-made forces, binding particles together and then breaking the bonds, collisions between particles and with other objects, and more. Also included are several new Birth operators that are optimized for physics simulations as well as a preset flow that makes initial setup a snap. To top it all off, Box#2 gives you three easy-to-use modifiers that allow particles to affect standard mesh objects in mind-blowing ways.
Note: You do not need special PhysX hardware to use the simulation features in Box#2; everything here works fine in any recent version of 3ds Max. However, if you do have a PhysX hardware accelerator installed in your PC, you can take advantage of it to speed up your particle simulations.
The Particle Flow Tools actions appear in the Particle View depot along with the standard Particle Flow actions. The name of each PF Tools actions is followed by an asterisk (*) to differentiate it from standard tools. (Note: The following image shows the depot with all Particle Flow Tools actions, not just those from Box#2.)
Particle Flow Tools: Box#2 includes three Birth operators, six PhysX operators, three PhysX tests, two PhysX sub-operators for use with Particle Flow Tools: Box#3, a PhysX flow preset, and three modifiers.
Birth Grid makes it easy to create three-dimensional, non-interpenetrating particle arrays; Birth Group replicates any arrangement of mesh objects as particles, retaining the original layout, shapes, and materials; and Birth Stream makes sure new particles don't overlap with existing ones, thus preventing inadvertent collisions.
PhysX World provides the simulation world settings, including gravity and an infinite floor, plus the connection to the PhysX simulation driver.
PhysX Force lets you add 3ds Max space warps to simulations and PhysX Drag can quickly apply damping forces using functions built into the PhysX simulation driver. It also provides greater stability and realism, thanks to the ability to simulate energy dissipation due to friction.
PhysX Shape connects particles to the PhysX world, letting you specify collision shape as well as physical properties such as bounce, friction, and mass. And the new PFlow Collision Shape world-space modifier applies similar properties to mesh objects so they can also participate in the simulation. The PhysX Collision test allows particles to interact with collision-shape meshes (deflectors), and the PhysX InterCollision test checks for colliding particles and redirects them to other events based on various user-modifiable criteria.
PhysX Glue lets you bind particles together so they then function as a unit, letting you simulate flexible and springy materials such as wood, cloth, rubber, sheet metal, and even brittle materials that fly into pieces when enough force is applied. Used in conjunction with the Particle Skinner modifier, also included with Box#2, you can apply the special properties of the bound-together particles to any mesh object, and tear the object apart when the particle bindings break. And when you're ready to dissolve the ties that bind, PhysX Solvent is there to help.
Particle Face Creator is the special-effects artist's dream machine. This modifier works with Particle Flow to let particles moving past a mesh surface hide and/or reveal parts of the mesh on the fly, with natural-looking edges thanks to its ability to subdivide the mesh dynamically throughout the animation.
PhysX Switch gives you extra control over particle motion by letting you temporarily impose manual control over the simulation effects. You can specify particle positions or speed, and rotation or spin. And PhysX Switch lets you disable gravity or even the entire simulation just for the time that the particles are in a particular event.
The PhysX Flow preset sets up the basic requirements for physics simulation, including the new Birth Grid emitter plus the PhysX World operator and driver, and throws in a sample animation as a bonus.
Also included are updated versions of the Shape Instance operator and Age Test, with new features for advanced applications.
And last but not least, Box#2 adds special event-level material-inheritance capabilities that ease and simplify the way materials work in Particle Flow.
Particle Flow Tools are under constant development. If you find areas that need improvement within the software, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you and the easiest way to contact us is by email.
Particle Flow Tools® is a registered trademark of Orbaz Technologies, Inc.