News: Navie Effex 2.0


By Spencer Knuttila on Jul 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM

What is Navie Effex 2.0? A professional solution to create particle and fluid effects inside of Cinema 4D. And it just got even better!

Navie Effex 2.0

The new Effex is a modular, object-oriented framework inside of Cinema 4D that offers a variety of effects to be modelled, animated, simulated and rendered. Each object acts on its own and offers a certain functionality to extent the framework or existing functionality.
Its repertoire covers a wide range of features (but is not limited to these) from volumetric modeling to fluid simulation. The whole framework is highly multi-threaded (so it uses all CPU cores where possible) and due to the modular approach you can intuitively control the quality and performance of your simulations simply by adding/removing objects. Furthermore the pipeline allows to incorporate physical-based as well as parametric, non-physical simulations and still let them interact in a self-contained system (while time and space being an integral part) that is still artist oriented.

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Volumetric Modeling

  • Space is an implicit part of the equation when it comes down to the Effex framework and especially physically based simulations can benefit highly from volumetric representations, e.g. you could never define a variable density inside a solid with a polygon mesh.
  • That's why the Effex framework completely handles all its objects with a volumetric structure, namely a 3 dimensional grid.
  • A grid is made up of single grid cells/voxels (=> volume pixel. the 3D version of a pixel, so a cube if you want so). Each grid cell can hold a certain value or state which are the cornerstone for a lot of functionality inside the framework.
  • You can convert any closed polygon object (closed = has an inside and outside) into such a representation called 'Volumes'.
  • These Volumes can be used for volumetric modeling using Constructive Solid Geometry. But they can (and are) also be used for arbitrary volumetric operations such as emission sources, falloffs and similar.

Particles

No dynamic framework without particle simulations. Particles are one of the most popular structures in the VFX industry and therefore Effex has a lot of features concentrating on particle based effects. From v2.0 on Effex particles are completely decoupled from the fluid simulation. So a particle group does not necessarily contribute to any simulation you are running but can be used as an auxilliary structure for anything you want.

There are currently 4 different particle types available which are used for different purposes.

  • liquid particles
  • vorticity particles - for advanced turbulences
  • diffuse particles - for foam, spray, bubbles
  • passive particles - just a pre-defined type for the user to modify and work with!
  • Any of these particle types however are not limited to their assigned purposes, you can extent particles with custom/predefined attributes dynamically. This allows arbitrary particle extensions.

Any of these particle types however are not limited to their assigned purposes, you can extent particles with custom/predefined attributes dynamically. This allows arbitrary particle extensions.


Fluid Dynamics

The new framework includes physical based fluid dynamics objects to simulate the following effects:

  • smoke
  • fire
  • explosions
  • liquids
  • highly viscous liquids (up to rigid state)
  • liquid sheets

All these effects are based on state-of-the-art algorithms in order to provide the user with most up-to-date technologies. Technically it uses a combination of voxelgrid-based and particle-based simulation algorithms that enable fast, high-quality and realistic results with a huge amount of artistic control. As always a single algorithm may not be able to cover everything and that's why the framework offers Lagrangian (FLIP, PIC, SPH) and Eulerian (Levelset, Grid-Based) techniques that the user can glue together to create effects otherwise not possible with one algorithmic system alone.


Constraints

Constraints are one of the most powerful objects in Effex 2.0+ and will be your everyday tool or even your best friend. They can be used to constraint (restrict) other features (similar to how C4D MoGraph Effectors work). There are spatial constraints (e.g. restricting based on a given volume), value constraints (intensity control), particle constraints, grid constraints and more allowing you to rig your simulations arbitrarily in time, space and value and exactly control where and how a feature takes place and where not.
For example you could use a volume to restrict the generation of foam particles to a certain area, then constraint the generation additionally to the available foam particle count. Or you could re-use the same constraints to drive the rising of smoke.

Constraints can be called fully multi-threaded and therefore do not rein the performance gain of multiple CPUs.


Im/Export

Import and Export is an important part of the framework for many reasons:

  • Caching
  • Network Rendering
  • Exchange with other applications/users/clients

Effex supports reading and writing of a vast amount of particle file formats that extent the flexibility of the artist working in a non Cinema 4D environment (especially freelancers can now offer services for studios working with other applications or renderers).

Currently these file formats are supported:

  • XSI .icecache
  • Houdini .bgeo/.geo
  • Krakatoa .prt
  • Realflow .bin
  • ASCII/Binary .pda/.pdb
  • Maya nCache .mc
  • Maya .pdb32/.pdb64
  • Renderman .ptc
  • Renderman .rib
  • XYZ .xyz
  • Pointclouds .pts

Effex also has its own cache file format which is not only the fastest concerning writing/reading (it uses C4Ds own read/write operations) but allows advanced storage of particle data (e.g. particle group reassignment) and grid-based data (e.g. fluid simulation data).


Scripting/Xpresso

Xpresso, the node system of Cinema 4D for more in depth access to the Cinema 4D functionality and to Thinking Particles, is another essential part that the Effex framework supports by nature. Effex offers Xpresso nodes for complete access to all data of the framework. Furthermore, it has additional nodes to access features and algorithms of the framework independant of the pipeline, e.g. ballistic dynamics, gradient node and similar. Scripting is the most powerful way inside of an application for on-the-fly operations. That's why the Effex framework offers COFFEE scripting support in grid forces, particle forces, constraints, cell operators and other objects to gain even more access in several pipeline stages.


Rendering

Cinema 4D Renderer, Cinema 4D NET, VRay, Thinkbox Krakatoa.
These are the renderers that Effex natively supports...directly from within Cinema 4D.
Other renderers can be used for particle rendering too by using one of our supported particle file formats.

For the Cinema 4D renderer Effex comes with its own volumetric renderer to create advanced voxel based renderings at high quality with highest possible support for rendering most of the framework features.

For liquids Effex offers a fully multi-threaded implicit mesher that can be used to create high-quality water surface meshes from particles. But it can also mesh Effex volumes!

No export is necessary to render particles with Krakatoa (though you probably want to export passes for more advanced compositing possibilites...Effex allows you to natively).
You can even use Effex constraints to control the Krakatoa particle rendering! The Krakatoa implementation in Effex allows to render particles, mesh points, splines, primitives, Thinking Particles, Cinema 4D particles...throw everything at it and it'll render away.

No export is necessary to render volumetric data with VRay. We offer a special C4D channel shader that automatically transfers your smoke, fire, explosion simulations data to be rendered with VRay volumetric renderer. Liquids are natively supported by the polygon mesh that is created by our mesher.

Effex furthermore comes with some more smaller channel shaders (the ones you can load in material channels) that help extracting simulation data for texturing.


Minimum System Requirements

  • Graphics Card with OpenGL
  • 4GB RAM
  • MAC: OSX 10.5
  • WIN: WindowsXP SP2

 

Recommended specifications

  • MultiCore System
  • 8GB RAM (the more the better)
  • Cinema4D R12 or higher
  • 64-Bit OS

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