Friday, June 29th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

cebas releases thinkingParticles 5

ThinkingParticles 5’s new procedural spline ropes in action. Cebas’s latest update to the software integrates three separate physics systems into the 3ds Max particle simulator, including soft bodies and Bullet rigid body dynamics.

cebas has released thinkingParticles 5, a major update to its 3ds Max particle simulation system.

As announced at Siggraph last year, the new release integrates the Bullet physics rigid-body dynamics library and a soft-body solver.

Cebas claims that this makes thinkingParticles 5 “the first tool to deliver three physics solvers in one product” – although we imagine they’re referring to the world of 3ds Max add-ons rather than 3D software as a whole.

Ropes and chains
We posted about the Bullet physics system when previews appeared on YouTube earlier in the week. But today’s announcement also brings the first public glimpse of the new rope object.

Based on drawing a spline between two anchor points, thinkingParticles 5’s new BTRope node creates a procedural mesh that mimics the behaviour of a real rope or cable, based on a full soft body solver. Simulations can get quite complex, as the video above indicates.

Traffic control, cebas style: thinkingParticles 5’s new vehicle simulator in action.

The first batch of preview videos also included a glimpse of thinkingParticles 5’s new vehicle simulator, which builds on both the software’s particle and rigid body solvers.

The new videos give a better feel for what it will be able to do in production, showing it in use to simulate more than one car – albeit still only with low-res geometry.

Extra features
There are also a lot of smaller features, including a new ‘egg timer’ node to control nonlinear animations, plus the usual performance enhancements. Cebas claims that redraw speed in the Nitrous viewport is now 30-100 times faster than with thinkingParticles 4.

Throw in a new import node for RealFlow .bin files and Krakatoa .prt files, and you’ve got a pretty substantial update. ThinkingParticles 5 is available now for 3ds Max 2010 and above, price €1,495 (around $1,890).

Read a full list of new features in thinkingParticles 5