v6.9 cebas thinkingParticles for 3ds Max


cebas thinkingParticles for 3ds Max

You Are Your Own Magician!

Countless blockbuster movies and projects depend on thinkingParticles’ limitless ability to recreate advanced physics-based particle effects fully procedural and rule-based.

The release of thinkingParticles Subscription Drop 9 represents one of the biggest bug fix sweeps and workflow enhancements, yet. Overall simulation robustness, outstanding fluid solver stability and enhanced soft body dynamics offer a uniquely rounded overall Visual Effects experience for every 3ds Max user.
Besides some serious housekeeping, new advanced Visual Effects operators have been added to the tool chest. Find below a short summary of new functions and features found in thinkingParticles Subscription Drop9.

Particle Based Fluids

The introduction of a new fluid solver: SPH VE 6.9 marks a landmark achievement for all 3ds Max users who usually experience a lack of realistic all-purpose particle based SPH fluid solver options. The new algorithm creates a more stable fluid simulation with less experimentation and guesswork in parameter setup. Automatic foam generation in fluid simulations is now more predictable and accurate as it aligns with the real world phenomena of air bubbles rising to the top of the fluid surface.

Time Independent Simulation Caches: thinkingParticles 6.9

It is a well known secret within the Visual Effects industry, that 3ds Max and thinkingParticles combined, serves up a killer application to beat any other visual effects production pipeline out there in the market – plain and simple. Nothing compares: Quality, Speed and Return of Investment when you go for a 3ds Max/thinkingParticles FX pipeline. Continuous updates and free enhancements empower our professional vfx artists to stay at the cutting edge of competition.

For the first time, thinkingParticles offers the concept of truly time independent simulation caches. In the past, once a simulation was cached out to a hard disk, there was not a lot of manipulation possible. thinkingParticles’ new time independent simulation caching offer ultra fast interactive timeline scrubbing and the possibility of easy particle manipulation after the fact.

Subscription Drop 9 New Feature: Flow Solver 6.9

In its latest incarnation, the new Flow solver offers an even further enhanced stability, a better dynamic splashing reaction than any previous version. Fluid foam creation and simulation has been re-written from the ground up!

Subscription Drop 9 New Feature: ShapeColission (SC)

thinkingParticles Rigid Body visual effects workhorse; ShapeCollision has been brought
forward to the 21st century! Now, Rigid Body dynamics are set up in the exact same way as every other Rigid Body system in thinkingParticles.

Subscription Drop 9 New Feature: Softbody Enhanced

Soft bodies have been enhanced a lot. For example, pressure based soft bodies, which were exploding before, are now more stable and controllable than ever! Cluster mode performs better and is less prone to sticking or exploding.

Subscription Drop 9 New Feature: ShapeDeform

Velocity Catch has been added as a new option to the deformation type menu in ShapeDeform. This option enhances vertex deformation caused by particle velocity, it deforms meshes independent from
the particle’s distance. This is useful to tightly match particle and vertex movements.

Subscription Drop 9 New Feature: HeroCut

Soft bodies offer now an enhanced option to control cutting and tearing.This new feature is meant to create “hero cuts” into cloth or soft bodies. thinkingParticles soft bodies offer better control to define where and when tearing happens and what material should be applied.

Subscription Drop 9 New Feature: Time Independent

In the old days, once a simulation was cached out to hard disk, there was not much you could do to a chached simulation. In contrast: The new concept of Time Independent simulation caches, at the DynamicSet level, offers now ultra fast time line scrubbing and interactivity.

cebas new Subscription (License) Model

The new Subscription-based model has made thinkingParticles 6.0 more affordable to creative users. Artists, new to thinkingParticles, will love the dramatically reduced entry price which is now nearly 3 times less than it was with the old price model. Everyone now is able to afford and create Hollywood-grade procedural destruction special effects for their movies or YouTube animations.

Those artists that are already with cebas will welcome the new subscription model to stay on top of their competition and always have their cost under control with yearly predictable fees, inclusive of all updates.

The Subscription model closes the gap between our developer team and our valued artists, in terms of constant feedback and support that enables faster and constant feature/function enhancement.

While in the past, users had to wait for the next official release to get their hands on latest enhancements, with the current subscription model, users spread the cost on a yearly fix rate while enjoying instant update alerts for download. License automatically comes with subscription.


tP 6.0 Shape Operator Node

ImplicitShape in thinkingParticles Release 6.0 is the newly designed Shape Operator node generating iso surface representations of density created by a particle cloud, and works to amazing 3d dimensions in creating a surface for fluid particle effects. It can also be used to create any kind of surface generated from particles and you can change multi-modality views to see its effects.


tP 6.0 Multi-Physics Fluid Solver

MultiPhysics fluid dynamics presents a breakthru in realistic simulation of water and incompressible flowing substances. Release 6.0 integrates workflow of events to a high degree of manipulation based on realistic flow effects. The MultiPhysics Fluid Solver allows for soft-bodies interacting with rigid-bodies in FlowBoundary node; inter-particle procedural joints; HydroBoat node

all new tP 6.0 Analyzer Tool

Another groundbreaker for tP 6.0 is the real time Analyzer that tracks every development path of a simulation networks in all its complexity. The real-time Analyzer further empowers users to truly analyze in-depth details of DynamicSets; tracks PositionBorn in particle sets; emitterpaths; TrailBorn, FlowGroups captured in time intervals, giving users immense control, finest adjustments.

tP 6.0 Generator SnapShot Operator

The Generator node can now procedurally create a mesh snapshot of any amount of particles forming one single larger particle representing the mesh at the time of snapshot using particle modelling and allow the complex whole to be simulated as one.


tP 6.0 Distance-based TrailBorn

Powerful tool! Users create time-release complex structures based on procedural & particle modelling at interactive rates minus the hard work. Using Trail nodes, multi-level particles are generated – toggle distances of how the entire model meshes out procedurally, enabling effortless generation of sprawls, spiralling networks, symmetries or not.

ContactPoints Joint Creation

New Utility added to thinkingParticles 6 to enhance Joint creation combined with Physics simulation. Any number of meshes can be selected and joints placed at closest contact points between objects to simulate joint movements. Thousands of joints can be created with a few clicks instead of cumbersome clicks.

Enhanced 6.0 GeomContact

The GeomContact operator powerfully positions outputs between selected points of objects to create connections, procedurally, thereby giving the user greater flexibility and control as the object changes in scenarios across environments, interactively stable in conjunctions with other objects.

New Physics Parameter Handling

By introducing a new level of integrative multiphysics solvers, artists effectively assign independent simulation parameters to particles right away via the physics simulation setup options. E.g., anchoring several animations to a swinging rope (BTropeImport node) and assigning directly to each object/particle which physics-solver will affect its motion to the swinging rope and the

Spline Physics, Spline Modeling

NEW nodes enable quick succession procedural spline modelling [3ds Max] New node, SplinePool, auto-generates a network of spline particles across any selected surfaces. The new nodes: SplineInit; SplineImport; SplineData; IsSpline; SplinePhysics; SplineKnot: the ultimate spline modelling tool for artists dealing with complex and diverse setups within tight deadlines.


  • 3ds Max 2021
  • 3ds Max 2020
  • 3ds Max 2019
  • 3ds Max 2018
  • 3ds Max 2017
  • (earlier versions till 2016 are ok to use but support is nil)

TP supports both node-locked and network (floating) on installation.

thinkingParticles Subscription Drop 9

The release of thinkingParticles Subscription Drop 9 represents one of the biggest bug fix sweeps and workflow enhancements, yet. Overall simulation robustness, outstanding fluid solver stability and enhanced soft body dynamics offer a uniquely rounded overall Visual Effects experience for every 3ds Max user.
Besides some serious housekeeping, new advanced Visual Effects operators have been added to the tool chest. Find below a short summary of new functions and features found in thinkingParticles Subscription Drop9.

thinkingParticles Subscription Drop 8


OpenVDB meets Visual Effects: thinkingParticles 6.8

It is a well known secret within the Visual Effects industry, that 3ds Max and thinkingParticles combined, serves up a killer application to beat any other visual effects production pipeline out there in the market – plain and simple. Nothing compares: Quality, Speed and Return of Investment when you go for a 3ds Max/thinkingParticles FX pipeline. Continuous updates and free enhancements empower our professional vfx artists to stay at the cutting edge of competition.

thinkingParticles 6.8 OpenVDB toolset now offers tremendous flexibility when working with Volumetric Data Manipulation and Caching. Visual Effects displaying morphing or shape-shifting offer now an unmatched level of art-direction and super flexibility and control. Visualizing volume data is always challenging, but with thinkingParticles you can easily turn any proper Signed Distance Field (SDF) into a standard 3ds Max mesh. True Volume Packing, now a part of thinkingParticles 6.8, offers highly optimized 3D packing to perfectly and procedurally filled volumes with spheres of varying radii and amount.

Download the Features List PDF for all 35 new features descriptions.

Subscription Drop 8 New Feature: Flow Solver 6.8

Flow Solver 6.8 comes with many new enhancements. In its core this new solver is more stable yet more splashy and lifelike. Volume conservation is at its best, in fact 6.8 it is the best SPH solver you can get for 3ds Max.

Subscription Drop 8 New Feature: Potential Flow Solver

thinkingParticles 6.8 offers a true Potential Flow solver, which creates a velocity field that will automatically send particles around an object. It’s a fast and efficient feature to simulate airflow around objects and use it to avoid obstacles.


Subscription Drop 8 New Feature: OpenVDB Volumes Galore!

Meet the best OpenVDB integration you can find. thinkingParticles’ fully procedural simulation approach to OpenVDB volumes offers unlimited flexibility and creativity for the 3D Artist.


Subscription Drop 8 New Feature: Volume Rendering

OpenVDB volume Import/Export offers wide compatibility between renderers. It is easy to export visual effects to any target application of your choice. Simple, easy integration of thinkingParticles into your workflow.

Complete Real Deal Visual Effects: thinkingParticles 6.7

thinkingParticles 6.7 packs more in with even greater speed and flexibility – Fluids/waves; OpenVDBShape (multi-threaded), SurfaceForce, WaterLevel, ShapeCutter Operators are the highlights of Drop 7, plus several powerful Geo and Fluid/RBD particle generators. At a fraction of the cost, a complete visual effects package offering state-of-the-art tools in every possible areas of procedural visual effects. Scroll to see Drop 7 key features now available.

  • SurfaceForce
  • WaterLevel
  • FlowSolver 6.7
  • OpenVDB Shape
  • ShapeDeform
  • Volume Diffusion
  • PselCollect/PSelection
  • ShapeCutter

Subscription Drop 7 New Features

Enhanced Fluids

Fluid solver 6.7 is the best fluid solver offered by thinkingParticles so far. It has always been one of the fastest and most stable particle based SPH solvers in the industry, but it got even better. More stability, more predictable and faster results than ever.


The new SurfaceForce Operator allows you to create a force field to continuously displace particles. This new Force Operator is perfect for creating waves and other particle effects with greater ease and amazing flexibility.


More ways to create particles from the Generator is always good news! This new particle generator offers many creative ways to spawn particles. A simple mouse click to fill a whole landscape with puddles or lakes – how much faster can you get.


Industry standard OpenVDB brings many more new toys! The new OpenVDBShape operator is a lightning fast surfacer offering an optimized multi-threaded approach to surface generation with great flexibility and filtering options.


This operator offers a fully procedural approach to deforming objects right within thinkingParticles. Similar to a particle skinner approach, particles ‘attach’ themselves to the nearest vertex and influence it. Fast and powerful.


Boolean operations re-invented. ShapeCutter is more than just a simple cutter operator, it’s a true 3D boolean operator! Any mesh can be procedurally bool-ed – the sim is automatically turned into a true 3D volume before any boolean operation is applied. It creates always watertight results.

Volume Diffusion

Simulating true volume diffusion is a tough one, but it can be done in thinkingParticles. Any value attached to a particle can now diffuse within a volume in a physically accurate and fully procedural way. Spreading color, heat or whatever value is fast and simple to achieve.


Multi-Physics is a complex beast in need of taming. thinkingParticles is one step closer to the holy grail of combining all natural phenomena calculated in one simulation step. Drop 7 brings you a much more refined and controllable integration of all physics solvers it offers.

What’s new in version 6.4?

Ultra HD Support on 2017 – thinkingParticles Subscription Drop 4 offers now Ultra HD support for its UI on 2017.

Fluid Solver SPH VE (6.4) – this is a dedicated viscoelastic solver that is mainly used to simulate highly viscous fluids. This spring based SPH solver allows the creation of fluid simulations that can range from liquid honey to goo like fluids, dough, for example. Even though, this solver is purely SPH based, fluids can become as rigid as soft rubber; if simulation parameters are fine tuned correctly. Thinking Particles, through its fully procedural effects approach, allows the control of viscoelasticity of a fluid, based on an unlimited amount of procedural rules or functions. Fluids can be created to ‘harden’ over time, they can also become liquid again on proximity to a heat source or any other procedural event you might think of creating.

ImplicitShape – The Implicit surface 6.3 algorithm has new added functionality: Materials and Mapping can now be assigned to the generated ISO surface. Material and UV mapping is properly blended between different sets. Captured or free air bubbles can be simulated/created with this new ImplicitShape operator update. With a simple button click, air bubbles are automatically created inside of the ISO surface (an actual boolean ISO surface operation). This option is great for simulating air or foam bubbles flowing within a fluid.

VolumePos – A new reset mode has been added to the VolumePosition Helper. It is now possible to refill a volume based on several conditions of your choice.

Flow Boundary – Setting a different adhesion value per boundary is now possible with the introduction of an adhesion multiplier inside of the boundary operator.

EggTimer – A new feature has been added to this popular EggTimer node; the boolean flag ‘Reached’ is kept active after reaching the timer’s end. This easily allows for the creation of complex oscillator setups like the one shown below. In this setup the egg timer, once started, will loop (set to loop) for 20 Frames and then every 20 frames new particles will be created at a constant rate.

cebas thinkingparticles eggtimer

Object Helper Node – A new feature has been added to the Object output channel. When connected to an integer input of any kind, the total amount of objects in the object list gets output. This allows for fully procedural and automatic count adjustments based on objects picked. A sample setup can be found below.

cebas thinkingparticles object helper

As shown in this setup, the Objects Helper node has its Objects connected to the Count To input of the Counter Node. This will give the counter node the amount of objects in the list as a value to count to. This setup allows for picking more objects anytime later, without breaking the fully procedural approach of the effects setup.

MatterWaves – A new option has been added: FLOW. This option allows for the creation of steady particle flows with a well defined fixed spacing. In addition to the Flow option a new texture mapping feature has been added as well; the W coordinate of the UV mapping is automatically animated over time. Every new particle created gets a new continuous timestamp in the W component. This allows for the mapping of ISO surfaces along stream of emission.

What’s new in version 6.3?

  • New Caching Options and Methods with dramatic speedup – Writing a cache file is now u p to 10 times faster t han before; this means the disk transfer functions have been optimized by a wide margin. The following enhancements in detail are listed below:
    1. Per Frame Caching option thanks to the new *.tpc format, with enhanced sub-sampling option for output.
    2. Selective Cache Channels; each particle cache file can be adjusted individually for its data to be output.
    3. Hierarchy particle cache manager: adjust and control cache stacking in an easy and efficient way.
  • New Implicit Surfacing Options – thinkingParticles 6.3 offers two highly advanced algorithm options to create an ISO surface.
    • Surface (6.3) brings a new method to thinkingParticles allowing for the creation of flat surfaces out of point clouds.
  • New Fluid Solver Options: A new algorithm option has been added to the rollout menu; the new SPH2 method offers a much more improved and stable method to create fluids that are under larger pressure and bigger sub frame steps.
  • New Particle Group Right Click Menu Option: Right-clicking on any particle group name will now bring up an new context sensitive menu. For each particle group name clicked, a list of Operators using or referencing this particle group will be listed. Further clicking on the Operator names will automatically bring up the relevant DynamicSet in question. This feature works great for debugging complex DynamicSet setups containing hundreds of nodes, and help speed up work tremendously.
  • Direct Alembic Export: Likewise Alembic Export is a new export node offering * . a b c file export functionality. Many of the Alembic file format features are directly supported by this node. Particles as well as meshes can be exported in one go. Alembic export can be done either in one single file including many particle groups or in multiple files containing individual particle groups. The exported files may contain a particle system (particle points, no meshes), an object per particle group or each particle is stored as one individual object (mesh). For particle system exports, the AlembicExport node allows for the selection of specific data channels to be exported (e.g. velocity, spin, age …).
  • Direct Alembic Import: thiningParticles now support direct file import of Alembic *.abc files, both pure Alembic particle files as well as mesh-based files. Alembic is an open source format widely used by large and medium sized studios around the world. Alembic is slowly becoming a standard file exchange format between different applications.
  • Render Resets Simulation: this new feature allows for quick and easy rendering adjustments of materials and light. Instead of re-simulating the whole particle system over and over again when rendering a single frame; thinkingParticles can now take the information as seen in the modeling viewport from that exact frame as set with the frame slider in 3ds Max.


What’s new in Version 6.2 service pack 1?

Service Pack 1 is a stability and enhancement release.

One new feature has been added: the Bullet Softbody objects can now do tearing based on a texture map or painted vertex channel information. A plain ‘white’ color indicates areas that will tear while the ‘black’ areas in a bitmap will not tear.

collisionMap has been greatly enhanced and users can get the speed with multiple points of collision now.

Bug Fixes

  • An Issue has been isolated and resolved with playback and caching when a negative pre-roll time was used with thinkingParticles.
  • Particles created with Position Born could result in some situations on a wrong positioning for new born particles.
  • In rare occasions, Bullet Physics could not create the physics interactions.
  • 3ds Max modeling operations performed outside of thinkingParticles (for example cloning an object) would become unresponsive at times or lagging.
  • Layer to Particle could sometimes behave in unexpected ways when using rigid body dynamics.
  • PositionBorn operator did not respect 3ds Max Unit setup settings (generic units).

What’s new in Version 6.2?

ultimate Smoke Operators 
A whole new category, ‘Smoke’ was added to the Operator drop down menu/section:

  • SmokeBoundary – this new operator is dedicated to handling smoke fluid and rigid body interactions.
  • SmokeGroup – this is the main smoke fluid operator used to adjust and control the smoke fluid simulation.
  • SmokeData – like any other fluid type in thinkingParticles; the smoke fluid comes with a full set of simulation controls. SmokeData is used to access and modify those settings on a per particle basis.
  • *SmokeSolver – let there be smoke! Every fluid system needs a solver in its core, this operator represents the actual smoke fluid solver.
  • **SmokeRender – what good is smoke if you can’t smell it ? Or in this case – see it? This unique render node controls the rendering of the smoke fluid effect. For the first time; thinkingParticles 6 offers a fully procedural operator node to control a rendering effect right from within thinkingParticles, controls in real time! (Please see below, under Smoke_atmospheric_renderer for the list of render enhancements.)
  • SmokeTRanges – rendering complex smoke fluids like fire, gas and burning stuff in general presents many challenges. Finding and adjusting the proper color to represent the burn rate of the gas matter becomes a child’s play with this new operator node.

Smoke Atmospheric Renderer 
thinkingParticles 6.2 atmospheric renderer offers multiple render elements that can be used to enhance the look of smoke and fire effects in the post processing stage – more power at your finger tips. Find below a list of supported render elements.

  • CombustibleRenderElement – A render element that will only show the combustible components of the smoke effect. This can be used to efficiently add glow or color grading.
  • FlameRenderElement – This render element stores all flame components of the smoke effect. This allows the vfx artist to add extra glow or some color grading effects.
  • ZDepthRenderElement – An advanced highly optimized Z-Depth render element that accurately represents the distance to the clouds’ estimated average surface. This render element is the key to advanced depth of field effects with atmospherics.
  • TransparencyRenderElement – A render element that writes out a separate alpha channel for the complete smoke render effects.
  • NormalRenderElement – This render element writes out the estimated ‘surface normal’ of the smoke effect. This render element can be efficiently used to change lighting or other surface dependent effects for the smoke component.
  • SmokeRenderElement – This render element stores all the smoke components of the fluid effect. Use it to adjust color or intensities in a post process.
  • SmokeVelocityRenderElement – Atmospheric effects and motion blur are usually a hard thing to do. Normally atmospheric effects do not come with an option to render motion blur. thinkingParticles 6.2 Smoke Render engine allows to create proper motion blur with the help of this render element, as it stores all motion vectors of the fluid in one render element in multiple formats.

Direct Particle Rendering 
thinkingParticles 6.2 is the first version to offer true direct volumetric particle point rendering. The SmokeRender operator does not only work with the newly introduced smoke fluid system, it is able to render all particles without a mesh (points in space). This is a very powerful feature and opens up new creative possibilities. All of this point rendering functionality stays fully procedural within the thinkingParticles context. This amazing feature also allows for parameter controls such as distance-temperature fall off.

the Initiator Operator
The Initiator menu section has a new operator!

  • PPassString – with this latest release of thinkingParticles’ 6 Subscription Drop 2, a new particle group access workflow has been introduced. Particle groups can now be accessed across ‘hierarchy trees’ just by their name or parts of their name. This new operator alone, opens up more powerful and efficient setups than it would have been possible ever before for VFX.
  • New Generator Operators
    • LayerToParticle – a powerful, brand new operator for thinkingParticles 6 offering the ability to automatically “import” objects from the 3ds Max scene into a thinkingParticles 6 simulation. Working with the standard 3ds Max layer system, one or multiple layers can be dedicated as an ‘import’ to thinkingParticles layer. Now, whenever a new object is created or moved to this layer – it will be automatically added to thinkingParticles.
    • LayerToParticleData – to support the functionality of the new LayerToParticle operator, a specialized LayerToParticleData operator has also been introduced.

Enhancements in Subscription Drop 2
The Camera Map operator now has new features that allows for some truly amazing magic tricks.

  • CameraMap – a new feature has been added to the CameraMap operator to allow it to “freeze” or memorize UV-coordinates at a specific time. Those UV-texture coordinates are then applied to a selected group of particles, to simulate the same UV camera mapping throughout the animation based on a specific frame or time in the simulation.

cebas thinkingParticles - Simulate Gelatin Cubes

Learn how to simulate super elastic gelatine cubes using Viscoelastic Fluids in thinkingParticles, with this tutorial from cebas Visual Technology.


Midweek Motivation: cebas thinkingParticles - Joe Scarr Q & A

Joe Scarr (formerly ScanlineVFX, Vancouver), gives many great tips, pointers, techniques and insights into the visual effects he has helped to create for major films like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 2’, TV shows such as ‘Shannara Chronicles’ and video games like ‘The Witcher 2’, using thinkingParticles, in this 6 part series.  Plus part 6 is actually a great thinkingParticle tutorial from Joe.


cebas thinkingParticles - Viscoelastic Fluids: Honey tutorial

The visco elasticity solver in thinkingParticles for 3ds Max allows for the creation of viscous liquids like honey or oil, or any kind of thick fluids. Learn how to use the solver to create flowing honey in this tutorial.


cebas thinkingParticles - ImplicitShape Shader Tutorial

Learn how to work with the ImplicitShape and shaders within thinkingParticles using data channels in this tutorial by Joe Gunn.


thinkingParticles 6.2 Shockwave Tutorial!

Fabian Buckreus has put together this great tutorial for Cebas thinkingParticles!


Simulating A Campfire With 3D Studio Max, Thinking Particles & FumeFX

Madhan at CGTuts+ shows you how to create a campfire with 3ds Max,Thinking Particles,FumeFX, and Adobe After Effects. Who brought the marshmallows?