Monday, August 5th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

MagicPictures Software ships Aq Mesher and Aq Bullet

Tools developer MagicPictures Software has released Aq Mesher and Aq Bullet, its new OpenVDB-based meshing and Bullet physics plugins for 3ds Max. Both products shipped last week during Siggraph 2019.

Part of Japanese VFX facility MagicPictures Studio’s in-house toolset
The plugins are MagicPictures Software’s – a spin-off from VFX firm MagicPictures Studio – first foray into commercial tools development.

Both form part of MagicPictures’ own in-house dynamics pipeline, alongside FLIP fluid simulation software Aquarius, which is also due for a commercial release in future.

The firm also previously released 3ds Max OpenSubdiv modifier OpenSubdiv-MPS as a free download.

Aq Mesher: convert particles or OpenVDB volumes to meshes
Aq Mesher converts native 3ds Max particle systems, particle caches in Krakatoa’s .prt format, or OpenVDB volumes to meshes. It’s also possible to use the vertices of existing geometry as particle sources.

Meshes can be generated as all quads or all tris, with options to control mesh resolution.

The online documentation for the software is bare-bones, but the video above shows a range of fairly typical production use cases for meshing particle-based fluids, including the wake of a speedboat.

If those results are typical, it could make Aq Mesher a viable lower-priced alternative to existing tools like AWS Thinkbox’s Frost.

It’s also possible to clip or fracture the mesh generated by a separate cutter object within the scene.

Given that it is also possible export the result in OpenVDB format, the latter toolset opens up the possibility of using Aq Mesher as a simple volume editing system.

Aq Bullet: Bullet physics within 3ds Max, with support for rigid and soft bodies
Aq Bullet is an implementation of the open-source Bullet physics library within 3ds Max, supporting both rigid body and soft body dynamics.

It is capable of simulating both cloth and ropes, the latter as both a true Bullet simulation and a ‘fake’ using Bullet primitives and chain constraints, according to a post by MagicPictures’ Makoto Chiba on CGPress.

As well as chain joints, Aq Bullet supports a basic range of dynamics constraints, including anchors, hinges and sliders, plus a standard range of control parameters.

Again, the online documentation is bare-bones, but the video above gives an idea of Aq Bullet’s capabilities.

Updated 11 September 2019: MagicPictures Software has released Aq Mesher 1.1 and Aq Bullet 1.1.

The updates add level set morph and Boolean editing features and a texture map function to Aq Mesher, and support for collision groups and a local gravity control to Aq Bullet.

The firm has also released new free Lite editions of both plugins.

Pricing and system requirements
Both Aq Bullet and Aq Mesher are available for 3ds Max 2015+ running on Windows 7+. A workstation licence of either plugin costs $275, also including unlimited network rendering in the case of Aq Mesher.

Read more about Aq Bullet and Aq Mesher on MagicPictures Software’s website