Wednesday, July 12th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Chaos releases Phoenix 5.2

Originally posted on 27 May 2022. Scroll down for news of the Phoenix 5.2 updates.

Chaos has updated Phoenix, its fluid simulation software for 3ds Max and Maya.

Phoenix 5.0 introduces Thruster force and Axis Lock controls for scene objects affected by simulations, new options for controlling foam patterns generated by liquid simulations, and a new Voxel Shader.

In addition, a new standalone edition makes it possible to process Phoenix scene files from the command line, outside the host software; while the Maya edition now runs on macOS as well as Windows and Linux.

Chaos has also discontinued perpetual licences of Phoenix, which is now subscription-only.

Now available subscription-only
Phoenix 5.0 is the first version of the software to be released as a unified licence, Chaos having merged the old individual licences for the 3ds Max and Maya editions into a single licence in 2021.

The firm has also now discontinued perpetual licences of the software, previously priced at $830, in favour of subscriptions, which currently cost $70/month or $390/year.

New controls for liquid simulations and unified shading for smoke, fire and meshes
The update adds new options for controlling the motion of scene objects affected by simulations, including a Thruster force and Axis Lock, the latter for constraining motion to a given axis.

For liquid simulations, there are new Size Variation and Stringy parameters for controlling the patterns of foam generated by the FLIP solver.

For gaseous fluids, a new Voxel Shader makes it possible to shade both the meshes loaded in a simulation and the fire and smoke itself with a single shader.

There are also four new presets for generating storm ocean surfaces, boat wakes, ice cubes floating in liquid, and jet engine exhaust cones.

Process simulations from the command line, outside 3ds Max or Maya themselves
Phoenix 5.0 also introduces Phoenix Standalone Simulator, a new command-line tool for processing .simscene scene files exported from the 3ds Max and Maya editions outside the host software.

Chaos describes the workflow as “up to 40%” faster than simulating directly inside 3ds Max or Maya.

It’s still a work in progress: the initial release lacks supports for some of the advanced features available inside the host apps, including foam and splashes in liquid simulations.

Users also get a standalone Node Viewer for debugging .simscene files.

Updated 19 January 2023: Chaos has released Phoenix 5.1 for 3ds Max and Maya.

The biggest changes are in the 3ds Max edition, where users can now use standard 3ds Max modifiers to distort simulations – it works with both gaseous fluids and liquids – making them more art-directable.

The initial release suppports Max’s Bend, Skew, Taper, Twist, Melt and Stretch modifiers.

In addition, 3ds Max users who also use Chaos’s V-Ray renderer can now preview simulations using the V-Ray IPR on the CPU, as well as on the GPU.

Changes common to both editions include a new Force Streamlines option when previewing a simulation, and the option to convert Force and Velocity streamlines to native 3ds Max or Maya curves for rendering.

In addition, the Particle Shader‘s Fog mode gets controls for Absorption Color and Phase Function, providing greater control over the look of simulations, particularly mist particles.

The Phoenix Standalone Simulator gets support for animated parameters and transforms, and can now be used for resimulation, or to retime an existing simulation.

Updated 11 July 2023: Chaos has released Phoenix 5.2 for 3ds Max and Maya.

They’re primarily performance updates, making simulations “up to 20% faster” than Phoenix 5.1.

Specific changes include the option to run the PCG Fluidity method for smoke and fire simulations on the GPU rather than the CPU, and updates to the FLIP solver, cache generation and particle previews.

The is also a new Simulation Speed rollout for troubleshooting performance, showing which phases in the simulation are taking the most time to compute.

New options for art directing liquid simulations
However, there are several new features, including the option to guide liquid simulations by using the new Directed Velocity option in the Liquid Source. Direction of flow can also be controlled with a texture map.

In addition, it is now possible to vertically expand the simulation grid for ocean simulations.

Changes specific to 3ds Max and Maya
Changes specific to 3ds Max include the option to float or dock key rollouts anywhere in the interface, including in a new floating Main Window.

There is also a new Axis Lock option to lock the rotation of Active Bodies in simulations.

Maya users get support for Isosurface render mode in TexUVW, making it possible to transport texture coordinates along fluids; and better support for interactive rendering with V-Ray CPU.

Pricing and availability
Phoenix 5.2 is available for 3ds Max 2018+ on Windows 7-10 and Maya 2019+ on Windows 7-10, RHEL/CentOS 7.2 Linux and macOS 10.11+. It is available rental-only.

Subscriptions include both 3ds Max and Maya editions, and cost $70/month or $390/year.

Read a full list of features in Phoenix 5.2 for 3ds Max in the online documentation

Read a full list of features in Phoenix 5.2 for Maya in the online documentation