Thursday, June 1st, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Deep FX ships Deep Rising FX 1.2 for LightWave

Originally posted on 3 February 2017. Scroll down for news of the 1.2 update.

Start-up Deep FX has released Deep Rising FX, a new particle-based fluid simulator for LightWave, complete with surface tension, viscosity and the option to exchange data with tools like RealFlow and Houdini.

Deep FX describes the plugin as “very artist-friendly”, aiming to deliver “predictable and manageable simulations while remaining approachable”.

A CPU-based SPH fluid simulator with a ‘state-of-the-art Lagrangian solver’
Unlike the FLIP solvers used in many contemporary fluid simulators, Deep Rising FX is a purely particle-based system using a “state-of-the-art Lagrangian solver”.

In a thread on the NewTek forum, the developer points out that while SPH (Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics) solvers have had “a bad reputation in VFX … recent research has caught up with methods like FLIP fluids”, with Next Limit implementing an SPH system in RealFlow’s new GPU-based Dyverso solvers.

Deep Rising FX’s own solver is CPU-based, but multithreaded, and should “easily scale to millions of particles” – the plugin doesn’t impose a maximum particle count, so the real limit is performance.

Features include data interchange with other common fluid tools
The solver has a range of standard features, including viscosity, surface tension and vorticity effects; and fluids can interact with kinematic objects or other fluid sources.

The plugin supports OpenVDB meshing, and also supports RealFlow’s .bin and Houdini’s .bgeo file formats, making it possible to exchange particle caches with other software.

Still early in development, but evolving fast
As it stands, Deep Rising FX looks better suited to small shots than complex simulations: the test scenes in the demo video above are all simple set-ups with static objects. This page of the NewTek forum thread also has some interesting feedback from early testers about its suitability for production work.

However, at under a third of the cost of RealFlow, the price will appeal to many artists, and the software is still evolving fast: to judge from the NewTek thread, it’s only been in development a few months.

Updated 31 May 2017: Deep FX has released Deep Rising FX 1.2. The new update integrates the popular Bullet physics library, with support for two-way coupling between dynamics and fluid simulations.

Other new features include sinks for killing particles, the ability to make any step in the sim the initial state, the option to animate emitter and solver settings, and to export fluid meshes as a sequence of OBJ files.

Pricing and availability
Deep Rising FX is available for 32-bit and 64-bit LightWave 11.6.3+ running on Windows 7 and above. There is currently no Mac version. It costs $325, and there is also a demo version limited to 150 frames.

Read a full list of features in Deep Rising FX on Deep FX’s website