Thursday, March 24th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

cebas releases thinkingParticles 6.3

Cebas has released thinkingParticles 6.3, aka Subscription Drop 3, the latest of its subscriber updates to the 3ds Max physics plugin, improving simulation caching and adding a new fluid solver and Alembic support.

Faster, per-frame simulation caching
Top of the feature list for thinkingParticles 6.3 is the new per-frame caching system, which supplements the existing single-file particle cache system.

According to cebas, writing an individual cache file per frame of the simulation improves total write times by “up to 10 times”, as well as permitting finer control over caching settings.

Improved liquid simulation
The fluid simulation toolset introduced in thinkingParticles 6.0 has also been extended, with a new solver.

Like the existing solver, the new SPH2 algorithm is a Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics solver, rather than a FLIP solver of the kind used in tools like RealFlow or Maya’s Bifrost.

However, according to cebas, it offers a “much more stable method to create fluids that are under [higher] pressure and [use] bigger sub-frame steps”, permitting more dynamic splashing effects.

You can judge the quality of the results for yourself from the video at the top of the story.

There is also a new method for surfacing point clouds, building on the Blob algorithm added in tP 6.0. The new Surface algorithm creates flatter, more realistic liquid surfaces from the source particles.

Alembic support, improved look dev workflows
In addition, the update adds support for Alembic, enabling users to import or export both mesh and particle data for exchange with the wide range of other DCC tools that now support the file format.

There are also a couple of nice workflow improvements: changing lighting or materials in test renders no longer requires an entire sim to be re-run, and render instancing is now supported for V-Ray as well as finalRender.

Pricing and availability
thinkingParticles 6.3 is available now for 3ds Max 2014 and above. The software is available on a rental-only basis, with a subscription costing €540 per year (around $600). The update is free to subscribers.

Read a full list of new features in thinkingParticles 6.3