Thursday, April 30th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Insydium releases X-Particles 2020 features in beta

Insydium has released new features for X-Particles, its Cinema 4D particle and physics plugin, in beta.

The 2020 features, which are available to anyone with a current maintenance agreement, include new ocean surface and flocking systems, plus the option to control simulations with animated vertex maps.

Made available in beta due to coronavirus restrictions
Although Insydium usually releases early access builds of X-Particles before an annual public update in the second half of the year, this is the first time it has released new features in beta.

Beta access – described as a response to Insydium’s staff and many users working from home during the coronavirus restrictions – is available both to subscribers and users with current maintenance agreements.

The beta features are available for online use only, and are “only subject to limited testing”, so use them on important projects at your own risk.

New xpOcean ocean surface system works as either a generator or deformer
Of the new features, the biggest is probably xpOcean, a new ocean surface system.

It enables users to generate loopable animated water surfaces, with controls for wave height, spacing and direction, as shown in the video at the top of this story.

Users can also generate foam maps for the water surface, although obviously, you don’t get the same degree of realism as you would with the foam system in a dedicated FLIP fluid solver.

xpOcean can also be used as a deformer, which makes it possible to use it on any scene geometry, and in conjunction with other deformers, making it possible to create custom 3D shapes for wave surfaces.

xpFlock generates customisable flocking behaviours for birds and fish
The other completely new feature is xpFlock, a “state of the art” particle-based flocking system.

The behaviour of particles within a flock can be controlled via customisable preset behaviours – the video shows seven, including Aligment, Separation and Chaos – which can be applied in layers.

A separate reactions system controls the way in which the flock responds to scene geometry or other ‘enemy’ particle systems, with preset options like orbit, pursue and flee.

The resulting particle system can then be used to drive scene geometry, making it possible to animate effects like flocks of birds and insects and shoals of fish.

Other changes: support for animated vertex maps, new blend and push apart modifiers
Updates to existing features include support for animated vertex maps within xpVertexMap.

That opens up a number of interesting new workflows for controlling simulations using procedurally generated animated weight maps, as shown in the video above.

Users can also now layer weight maps, using standard blending modes to control the results.

New modifiers include xpBlend, which blends the properties of neighbouring particles – for example, to cause the colours of fluids to mix on contact – and the self-descriptive xpPushApart.

There have also been updates to the xpEmitter particle emitter, particle trails system, and the xpBranch modifier. You can find more details via the link at the foot of the story.

Pricing and availability
X-Particles is available for any 64-bit edition of Cinema 4D R14+ on Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.10.5+.

Unlike with previous releases, Insydium now lists software prices in its online store in US dollars. New floating licences now have an MSRP of $796.50, excluding VAT.

Read more about the new features in the X-Particles 2020 beta update on the product website

See more X-Particles feature demo videos on Insydium’s YouTube channel