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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

ThinkingParticles™ 3.0

ThinkingParticles™ 3.0 is the ultimate rule based particle system for 3ds max, offering unparalleled power to the user. ThinkingParticles™ 3.0 is a completely new class of rule-based particle systems for 3ds Max. When this type of particle system is compared to an event-based particle system, (which works on triggers and time dependent events) you'll find many unique advantages within TP3's rule-based logic, which is free from normal time-based constraints and instead applies simple behaviors. These behaviors govern all aspects of a particle’s motion, life, death, and collisions in a true non-linear fashion. We hope you find that by using ThinkingParticles 3, you can create all the incredible effects you were hoping for, but have been limited previously by existing technologies.

The real power of ThinkingParticles™ comes from its unlimited combination of conditions and operators to define the behavior of each single particle in a particle system. Like C++ opens up an unlimited world for a software developer, ThinkingParticles™ offers the same unlimited power to the 3ds max artist.
What's the real deal with ThinkingParticles 3.0?
ThinkingParticles offers its particle system functionality through a kind of programming approach. However, unlike programming, you won't have to write a single line of code! A powerful visual "Wire Setup Interface" enables any 3ds Max artist to define the rules and conditions that control the particle behavior. Because it is a "program" that controls the particles and the behavior, you will find that there is no limit to what you can do! Nearly every particle effect can be created or controlled through a set of operators and conditions.

Rule-based Versus Event-driven Particle Systems
Where does ThinkingParticles stand? The difference between event-driven particles and rule-based particles can be summed up quite simply. An event-driven particle system usually works based on "triggers" or events that must happen to activate an effect. This implies some kind of key frame related effects while ThinkingParticles is totally independent of any timing and key framing! ThinkingParticles offers true Non Linear Animation technology. Rules and conditions control the particle effects and not timers or events that happen at certain key frames in an animation. A particle system created with ThinkingParticles will always work regardless of the timing or number of frames that may change in an animation.

Here's an example why ThinkingParticles is superior to other particle solutions. Imagine that you have to create a 3d space scene and you need to animate a space ship flying through an asteroid field. This field is full of everything from the most enormous rocks to the most intricate pieces of debris, all of it hovering around. Now imagine that your boss says, "The spaceship should avoid the big rocks but the smaller ones are allowed to collide and bounce off the hull of the spaceship." This would be an animator's nightmare. An event-driven particle system would fail to handle this kind of task because you would need to define a path through the asteroid field and then look for the exact key frames where things should happen. But what happens when you need to change the path of the ship or the amount of rocks or the balance between the big and small rocks?

ThinkingParticles makes it easy to solve such a situation with ease. Two rules will solve the rock collision and avoid problems. Conceptually, the rules would look something like this:





Of course, the above is not the real code fragment. In ThinkingParticles, you do not need to type any code at all. This is only the logic flow diagram of the ThinkingParticles operators and conditions. As you can see, there is no TIME related variable in it so this will always work. Regardless of any path or amount of frames. Whenever the space ship gets near a rock the rules control its behavior.

For more info: Product homepage

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