Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

cebas releases thinkingParticles 6.10

cebas Visual Technology has released thinkingParticles 6.10, the latest ‘subscription drop’ for its 3ds Max particle and physics plugin, bundling in GPU-accelerated spectral renderer finalRender for free.

The update also extends thinkingParticles’ support for volumetrics in OpenVDB format, with users now able to render OpenVDB volumes directly in finalRender, or render “nearly unlimited” numbers of points.

Full commercial version of finalRender now included free with thinkingParticles
As of Subscription Drop 10, thinkingParticles comes bundled with a free licence of finalRender, cebas’s GPU-accelerated physically based spectral render engine.

Although cebas made a slightly cut-down version of the renderer free for commercial use last year, the bundled licence is for the full version, normally priced at $294/year.

Render OpenVDB volumes directly from 3ds Max via finalRender
Subscription Drop 10 also extends thinkingParticles’ support for OpenVDB, the DreamWorks-developed open standard for volumetric data, now widely used in visual effects pipelines.

One major new feature – and one that requires finalRender to take advantage of – is the option to render OpenVDB volumes directly from 3ds Max as if they were native effects.

The functionality is based on cebas’s DirectVolumeRendering SDK, currently only supported in finalRender, although the firm says that it hopes that the developers of other renderers will adopt it in future.

Render a ‘nearly unlimited’ number of particles via OpenVDB point data grids
thinkingParticles also now supports OpenVDB PointDataGrids, making it possible to render “hundreds of millions of points” in finalRender with accurate shadow casting and illumination.

The implementation is based on NanoVDB, Nvidia’s simplified representation of OpenVDB data, intended for use in GPU rendering, and runs on both CPU and GPU.

Other new features include CombineVDB, an enhanced version of the UBoolean node introduced in thinkingParticles 6.8, making it possible to perform Boolean operations on “nearly all OpenVDB grid types”.

The update also improves performance when working with OpenVDB data, particularly when displaying large VDB data sets in the viewport: animations, translations and rotations are now “orders of magnitude faster”.

Improved smoke and liquid simulation
In addition, Subscription Drop 10 updates thinkingParticles’ gaseous fluid and liquid solvers.

The Smoke solver has been “rewritten from the ground up” and is now “much more predictable and stable”, although the changes are expected to break scenes created in previous versions of the software.

The Flow solver, thinkingParticles’ SPH-based liquid solver, has also been updated to improve volume conservation in simulations, and to generate a smoother fluid surface.

Pricing and availability
thinkingParticles 6.10 is available now for 3ds Max 2019 and above. The software is available on a rental-only basis, with a subscription now costing €600/year (around $725).

Read an overview of the key features in thinkingParticles 6.10 on cebas’s website

See videos of the new features on the thinkingParticles website