Phoenix FD™ is a complete solution for fluid dynamics. It is used to simulate realistic water, fire, and other effects for multiple television series such as Game of Thrones and The Flash, and is specifically designed for fast-paced production.
Phoenix FD is an all-in-one solution for fluid dynamics. For example, simulate fire, smoke, liquids, ocean waves, splashes, spray, mist, and more.
Built for 3D artists who want to create dynamic FX using quick presets, fast setup, and intuitive controls.
Preview and render interactively in the viewport. Adjust simulations on the fly.
Create all types of physically-based fluid effects with fast, flexible controls for rendering, retiming, and refining simulations.
Integrated seamlessly into 3ds Max and optimized to render with V-Ray.
Compatible with top industry tools such as Alembic, Krakatoa, Stoke MX, and OpenVDB. Update 2 brings compatibility with 3ds Max 2021 and V-Ray 5, as well. See the Updates tab for more.
What’s New in Version 4.0
New Voxel and Particle Tuners
Change each voxel and particle’s properties during simulation, and use customizable conditions to delete particles.
Float your objects over pools or wash them away in floods with basic rigid body simulation for Phoenix liquids.
Transport texture coordinates along with fluids during the simulation and uses them for advanced render-time effects.
The standalone Cache Preview tool
Load AUR, VDB, and F3D cache files. Preview them and save image sequences.
Create procedural foam coloring of ocean waves without simulation.
Liquids, splashes & foam
With Phoenix FD you can create realistic liquid simulations with splashes and foam directly in 3ds Max.
Smoke, fire & explosions
Create any type of fire and smoke effects with Phoenix FD’s powerful, adaptive-grid dynamics engine.
Fine-tune simulations interactively in the viewport with Phoenix FD’s GPU-accelerated preview.
Add detail and increase resolution without changing simulation shape or behavior.
Speed up or slow down simulation playback. Perfect for slow-motion effects.
Create a series of simulations that trigger and interact with each other.
Custom emission sources
Use a wide range of emission sources including animated meshes, texture maps, particles, and more.
Simulate highly-realistic and complex vorticity effects with full control over large-scale vortex strength and ultra-fine details.
Perfect for generating small wisps of smoke and steam.
Render particles as bubbles, drops, points, or fog.
Mesh & particles IO
Import & export mesh objects and particles to Alembic, Krakatoa, Stoke MX, XMesh, and V-Ray proxy files.
Ocean & beach waves
Seamlessly transition from procedural ocean to simulated beach waves.
Seamlessly transition from detailed ocean surface simulations to infinite ocean waves (that never repeat.)
Render photoreal fluids and volumetric effects using V-Ray’s optimized Phoenix FD shader.
Use Phoenix FD simulation licenses to submit jobs over the network to Deadline and Backburner.
Please make sure that your system fulfills these requirements before installing Phoenix:
Processor – Intel® 64-bit or compatible processor with SSE 4.2 support
RAM – 8 GB RAM and 8 GB swap minimum – recommended 32 GB or more RAM, 32 GB or more swap file
Operating system -Windows ® 7 SP1, Windows ® 8.1 Professional, or Windows ® 10 Professional operating system
3ds Max -3ds Max ® 2015 / 3ds Max Design ® 2015 through 2021 64-bit versions only
USB port – Required for dongle licensing, USB 2.0 or newer
TCP/IP – Only IPv4 is supported. IPv6 is currently not supported.
Chaos License Server – 4.5.1 or later
Hardware Advice for Faster Simulating
Here’s some tips to help you make sure your Phoenix sims calculate as fast as possible.
Bus speed – Phoenix transfers huge amounts of data between memory and the CPU. The entire simulation grid gets processed tens to hundred times per simulation step, so the bus speed is the bottleneck in most simulations.
CPU speed – Processor speed is more important than core count. Also, NUMA and multiprocessor architectures do not perform well with Phoenix. Simulating on one NUMA node is often faster than waiting for multiple nodes to synchronize.
Fast Storage – Both large and small simulations take significant time just to write the cache files from the simulation and to read them back for the preview, so good storage speed can help decrease simulation times up to 30%. Turning off the preview for all grid and particle channels during large simulations could also help speed up the simulation.
GPU – GPUs are currently only used for the GPU preview of fire/smoke simulations.
Software Advice for Faster Simulating
On some machines, the Anti-Virus software may treat Phoenix FD’s files .aur, .f3d and .vdb as a potential risk and consume significant processing power to scan them. Since cache files are often hundreds of Megabytes or more, this could cause the simulation to slow down several times.
Consider adding an exception in your Anti-Virus software for these file formats.
You may also add Phoenix FD log file extension (.log) or the log file directory (accessible through the Phoenix Preferences) to the exceptions of the Anti-Virus software.
It may also be beneficial to add an exception for the 3ds Max process (3dsmax.exe).
With Phoenix FD 4.30 we added force tuning to Voxel and Particle Tuners. This allows forces to affect particles or voxels with certain channels, inside or outside geometries, or according to textures, effectively allowing you to mask forces and gain precise control over how, when and where forces affect the simulation.
We sped up our particle preview and added the ability to preview the Rendering Displacement of the particles in the viewport.
Rendering of fire/smoke with the Use Probabilistic Shading option is now much faster with V-Ray 5. Both fire/smoke simulations, as well as large FLIP liquid simulations are also sped up.
We did some more changes to simulations, allowing for more control and quicker iterations, and we also improved our Standalone Preview and Cache Converter tools, so be sure to check them out!
NEW PARTICLE TUNER Choose forces to affect the particles when the Tuner condition passes. This allows forces to affect particles with certain channels, inside or outside geometries or according to textures
NEW VOXEL TUNER Choose forces to affect the voxels when the Tuner condition passes, same as the Particle Tuner
NEW PREVIEW Displace the particle preview in the viewport when Rendering Displacement is enabled
NEW CACHE I/O Cacheless Simulation option for speeding up large simulations. It keeps in memory only the last simulated frame and GPU Preview images or per-frame renders can be saved
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Now the Wetmap sticky effect depends on the Sticky Liquid option and the WetMap Viscosity – the Liquid Viscosity does not affect it directly anymore
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Delete Liquid particles when a Source’s Inject Power is negative
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Change the Motion Velocity, Viscosity or RGB of existing Liquid particles with a Source in Volume Brush mode with disabled Emit Liquid
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Reduced the peak memory usage of the FLIP liquid simulations
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Now Liquid particles can stick to WetMaps without the need for the Liquid to have viscosity. The strength of the sticky effect now depends only on the Sticky Liquid value and the WetMap viscosity
IMPROVED GRID SOLVER Sped up the Multi-Pass Transport method with up to 20%
IMPROVED VOLUME SHADER Sped up rendering of volumes when Use Probabilistic Shading is enabled
IMPROVED PARTICLE SHADER Color Map for the Particle Shader using V-Ray 5 GPU
IMPROVED PREVIEW Multithreaded gathering of Particle Preview data
IMPROVED GPU PREVIEW Show multiple Simulators in the classic GPU Preview, instead of only the selected one
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Sped up grid channel compression when saving AUR from the simulation or cache_converter tool
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW New layout where all panels can be docked, reordered or detached from the main window
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW Added information about the currently loaded path and the date of the cache’s last modification
IMPROVED CACHE CONVERTER Convert all caches in a folder without specifying frame range
IMPROVED CACHE CONVERTER Convert VDB to AUR caches
IMPROVED CACHE CONVERTER Added a -storageQuality optional argument, useful when writing AUR caches
IMPROVED CACHE CONVERTER Stop the conversion and show a meaningful error message if the Cache Converter can’t find its openvdbio.dll
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Stop the simulation with the ESC key or SHIFT + ESC combination
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Newborn Splash particles kept splitting and creating more Splashes underwater
FIXED FLIP SOLVER WetMap’s viscosity was ignored by the Sticky Liquids effect when interacting with variable viscosity Liquid particles
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Sticky Liquid’s strength did not scale Linearly
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Foam’s Half Life deleted different amount of particles when simulating on different number of threads
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Liquid particles got deleted on contact with animated obstacles having only rotation
FIXED FLIP SOLVER A fast moving simulator with Fillup For Ocean had particles created outside the grid, which are then not deleted
FIXED GRID SOLVER Crash on Load & Start with Drag particles with RGB
FIXED SOURCES Different amount of Source Particles (Drag/Foam/Splash) was born each new simulation or on different number of simulation threads
FIXED SOURCES Sources were emitting up to 50% slower in very high resolution scenes, since Phoenix FD 4.20
FIXED VOLUME SHADER Crash when rendering AUR files over 2.1 billion voxels with Linear Sampler
FIXED V-RAY IPR Random crash in IPR when changing any properties of a Particle Shader
FIXED MESHER Setting Motion Blur Multiplier for Mesh modes did not affect the inertial velocity of a moving container
FIXED OCEAN MESHER Crash after previewing the ocean mesh in the viewport, deleting the caches, and enabling Pure Ocean
FIXED OCEAN MESHER Underwater Goggles did not render correctly with Motion Blur
FIXED OCEAN MESHER Ocean Mesh mode with any 3ds Max modifiers did not render on V-Ray GPU
FIXED PREVIEW Multithreaded gathering of Particle Preview data
FIXED CACHE I/O Size of particles simulated to OpenVDB were in voxels instead of units
FIXED CACHE I/O Restoring from VDB causes missing FLIP particles, wrong Initial Fillup, and wrong results with rotating simulators
FIXED CACHE I/O Could not save AUR caches where a single grid channel was over 3.05 GB. AUR files saved after the fix can not be opened with older Phoenix versions
FIXED CACHE I/O Could not read huge particle systems from AUR cache files (with hundreds of millions of particles). New AUR files will not be readable by older Phoenix versions.
FIXED CACHE I/O Rare crash while blending frames including particles with velocity data
FIXED CACHE I/O Rarely caches were loaded with missing horizontal voxel slices, which affected the previews, and rendering of fire/smoke and meshes
FIXED 3DS MAX INTEGRATION Phoenix Textures could not be created in the Material Editor or the 3ds Max Map Browser when Arnold was set as current renderer
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW After pressing Cancel in the Browse dialog window, the saving path was erased
FIXED VRSCENES 3D texture maps with Object XYZ mapping rendered with wrong scale with V-Ray Standalone on CPU
FIXED USER INTERFACE Animating any Phoenix curves or color gradients (in Discharge Modifiers, Volumetric Settings and Particle Texture) did not update them when scrolling the timeline.
With Phoenix FD 4.20 we added support for V-Ray 5 and for 3ds Max 2021.
We also improved our Standalone and 3ds Max previews and added support for Particle Shader Fog mode rendering with V-Ray GPU, and we also added support for particle displacement for Fog mode. Particle Shaders can now be rendered in V-Ray CPU IPR as well.
We improved TexUVW for smoke simulations and implemented filling an emitter’s volume with TexUVW and RGB.
Once more we did many changes under the hood so we can develop faster, and as usual, we fixed many bugs.
NEW PHOENIX FD Support for V-Ray 5
NEW PHOENIX FD Support for 3ds Max 2021
NEW SOURCES Use surface texture maps or vertex color for Volume Brush and Volume Inject modes; Now you can fill volumes with RGB or TexUVW and melt them.
NEW PARTICLE SHADER Support for Particle Shaders in Fog mode in V-Ray Next GPU and V-Ray 5 GPU
NEW PARTICLE SHADER Support for Particle Shaders in V-Ray CPU IPR
NEW PREVIEW Velocity Streamline Preview ported to 3ds Max from the Standalone Preview
NEW STANDALONE PREVIEW Particle Preview in the Standalone Preview
IMPROVED GRID SOLVER Allow the RGB channel to be transported with Fuel as it does with Smoke
IMPROVED SCENE BODY INTERACTION Do not interact with 3ds Max splines as fluid obstacles or emitters unless they are extruded
IMPROVED PARTICLE SHADER Support for displacement in Fog mode of the Particle Shader
IMPROVED RENDER CURVES Delete Color Gradient points with Backspace
IMPROVED GPU PREVIEW Use fully transparent black background color when saving images
IMPROVED PREVIEW Option to disable the Particle Preview Color Scaling
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Sped up and using less memory for blending frames having Grid Velocity or liquid particles (when using Time Bend controls)
IMPROVED VOLUME SHADER Render Fire without cache data just by offsetting the Fire Opacity curve above zero (Physically Based must be below 1.0)
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW Save images in TIFF format
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW Optimized the Velocity Streamlines Preview when the Auto Reduction is off
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW Split the Log and Info windows
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW Renamed the executable from ‘standalone_previewer’ to ‘phoenix_previewer’
IMPROVED SCRIPTING New A_GetGridSize, $.getGridSize and $.getVersion MaxScript functions
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Renamed ‘Frm. Blend’ in the Input rollout to ‘Grid Blend’
REMOVED PHOENIX FD Dropped support for V-Ray 3
REMOVED PHOENIX FD Dropped support for 3ds Max 2015
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Artifacts with texture-mapped Volume Liquid Sources
FIXED FLIP SOLVER The WetMap particles were born with sizes equal to 1 scene unit, instead of 1 voxel
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Could not animate the Sticky Liquid option
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Motion Velocity Multiplier of animated objects had no effect if a Phoenix Simulator with Fillup for Ocean was linked to them
FIXED FLIP SOLVER Blocky artifacts around submerged geometry with disabled Clear Inside, when simulating with Fillup For Ocean
FIXED ACTIVE BODIES Crash when deleting Active Body originals which had MassFX Rigid Body modifier applied
FIXED TEXUVW Incorrect TexUVW on the borders of smoke simulations
FIXED SOURCES The Emit Mode was loaded as Surface Force from saved scenes if any of its emitters were geometries, since Phoenix FD 4.0
FIXED VOLUME SHADER Border Fade did not affect fire in Own Opacity mode
FIXED PARTICLE SHADER Crash when rendering a Simulator which is picked directly into a Particle Shader, since Phoenix FD 4.10
FIXED PARTICLE SHADER Random crash during sequence render with Liquid simulator checkbox enabled in the Particle shader and Displacement turned on
FIXED PARTICLE SHADER Canceling the ‘Building Fog’ pre-pass did not stop the rendering
FIXED OCEAN MESHER Ocean Mesh was not constructed properly when Stereo Camera was used with FoV larger than 180
FIXED MESHER Motion Blur rendered differently with and without modifiers applied to the Phoenix Mesh
FIXED CACHE I/O AUR files where the grid data was over 8GB were unreadable
FIXED CACHE I/O Incorrect positions of recently born particles when retiming a simulation with adaptive grid
FIXED PREVIEW The green Simulator grid box preview did not account for Resimulation Amp. Resolution
FIXED GPU PREVIEW The Viewport GPU Preview disappeared if the Simulator was flipped by using a negative scale
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW When Flip Up Axes was enabled the caches were rotating on every reload
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW Could not type in manually in the Timeline Input box
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW Crash when selecting out of range start or end for saving a sequence
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW GPU Preview was displaying brighter on the first render pass
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW If the preview window was resized, saving an image with *.bmp extension produced a skewed picture
FIXED STANDALONE PREVIEW The Slice Level slider was not working in negative direction if Z axis was chosen
FIXED VRSCENES Phoenix’s Atmosphere Gamma Correction was ignored in V-Ray Standalone and was always 1.0
FIXED TOOLBAR Crash when creating a toolbar preset that uses discharge modifiers and then undoing
FIXED PARTICLE FLOW Cropped user interface for the PFlow Test operator, since Phoenix FD 3.99
FIXED INSTALLATION Crash when rendering with custom V-Ray for 3ds Max install with ‘VRay=’ instead of ‘V-Ray main plug-ins=’ in plugin.ini
FIXED SDK aurloader_s required missing vfree and vmalloc symbols
What’s new in v. 4.10
With Phoenix FD 4.10 we focused on particles – Sources can now emit from any 3ds Max particle system, we sped up the particle preview and the Particle Shader and exposed its data for rendering by 3rd party render engines. We also did fixes and improvements to our new Active Bodies and Standalone Preview, as well as the usual round of other bugfixes and small improvements.
PRT I/O – Emit fluid from Phoenix PRTReader particles and Krakatoa PRTLoader particles in the Phoenix Sources
STANDALONE PREVIEW – GPU Preview for fire in the Standalone Preview
STANDALONE PREVIEW – Controls for the GPU Preview light direction
SDK – Now the Particle Shader exposes PhoenixVolumeShaderInterface and can be sampled in Fog mode using IPhoenixFDVolRendSampler
SDK – New IPhoenixFDParticleRendData interface for obtaining the particle rendering data of a Particle Shader in non-Fog modes
FLIP SOLVER – Sped up FLIP particle resimulation with 10%, up to 20% on some scenes
FLIP SOLVER – Do not offset the Foam particles vertically during simulation
ACTIVE BODIES – Pop-up menu with density presets in the right-click properties of bodies
PARTICLE SHADER – Sped up the particle collection rendering pre-process up to 5 times
ISOSURFACE RENDERING – Expose the Sampler option for Isosurface rendering in the Liquid Simulator
PREVIEW – Sped up loading of new frames for the Particle Preview with 20%
CACHE I/O – Store velocity of Drag particles in their particle data instead of in the Grid Velocity. Added an Output Drag Particle Velocity option to Sources
STANDALONE PREVIEW – Options to save a range of frames and a single frame
STANDALONE PREVIEW – Text box for the loaded cache file info
STANDALONE PREVIEW – By default name the saved image files the same way as the input cache files
STANDALONE PREVIEW – Image saving to PNG files
USER INTERFACE – Don’t warn about the interacting forces if the Simulator is in Include List interaction mode
PARTICLE SHADER – Removed the Particle Shader Liquid Tint and Liquid Turbidity options
SOURCES – The ‘Can Pick Simulators’ option is now On by default and hidden from Sources and can be accessed only through script using ‘pick_ph’
FLIP SOLVER – When using Variable Viscosity, some particles were not behaving properly
FLIP SOLVER – FLIP particles resimulation produced NaN-values with Simulate Air Effects
GRID SOLVER – Failing to load cache for resimulation displayed an error message, but did not stop the resimulation
SIMULATION GENERAL – During the first restore frame, bodies in the simulation had incorrect velocities
ACTIVE BODIES – All modifiers keys were erased at simulation startup when the object was set as Active Body
ACTIVE BODIES – Restoring an Active Body simulation broke the animation of the original objects
ACTIVE BODIES – Active Bodies were falling slower with more Steps per Frame
ACTIVE BODIES – Don’t show per-node Phoenix properties on the Active Bodies center of mass helpers
VOLUME SHADER – A Phoenix smoke volume inside a Mesh with Refraction Glossiness below 1.0 rendered blocky
VOLUME SHADER – Random artifacts when rendering smoke using Volume Light Cache in Volumetric Geometry mode
PARTICLE SHADER – Count Multiplier above 1 did not preserve the positions and sizes of the created particles in animation
PARTICLE SHADER – Rendering a Particle Shader with Liquid Simulator selected used extra memory
PARTICLE SHADER – Particle Shader in Points Mode rendered incorrectly using a 360 V-Ray Spherical Camera
PARTICLE SHADER – Crash when attempting to render a Particle Shader with V-Ray GPU
PARTICLE SHADER – Zooming In and Out during V-Ray IPR was not working correctly while Particle Shader pre-passes acquired the focus
PARTICLE SHADER – The Velocity Render Element of a Particle Shader in Points mode was not affected by the Motion Blur Multiplier
ISOSURFACE RENDERING – Crash when rendering in Isosurface mode using V-Ray Volume Scatter material
TEXUVW – Source UVW variation using inherited UVW from Geometry was not consistent during simulation
EXPRESSIONS – Crash when changing the tiling or offset of a texture selected in an expression
MESHER- Crash rendering two Simulators when one uses the other as a Cutter and also its material has Distance Texture pointing to the other one
OCEAN MESHER – Some Ocean Mesh normals pointed downwards with V-Ray Spherical camera and FOV over 180 degrees
CACHE I/O – Enabling RGB Input smoothing for a Mesh which was shaded using RGB from a Grid Texture had no effect until changing the frame
CACHE I/O – Handled some out-of-memory in case of saving Grid RGB to cache files or when blending cache files
CACHE I/O – Could not use General Purpose Time Bend Resimulation when the base caches were VDB instead of AUR
PRT I/O – The Phoenix particle Size was incorrect when exported to the Scale channel of PRT files
GPU PREVIEW – The GPU Preview disappeared if the camera went inside it
GPU PREVIEW – Crash with caches which had transformations with negative or fractional offsets, since Phoenix FD 3.99
GPU PREVIEW – Randomly appearing colored artifacts with the GPU Preview when using Detail Reduction, since Phoenix FD 4.0
GRID TEXTURE – The Grid Texture could pick Phoenix Particle System nodes
STANDALONE PREVIEW – Crash when cancelling the first cache open dialog
STANDALONE PREVIEW – If ‘Enable GPU Preview’ was turned on, the Standalone Preview didn’t save files after pressing the “Save” button
STANDALONE PREVIEW – Sometimes the Standalone Voxel Preview drew in slices the first time a cache was loaded
CACHE CONVERTER – Cache Converter did output empty VDB files, since Phoenix FD 3.99
3DS MAX INTEGRATION Could not pick Particle Flow events in the Scene Interaction rollout – only the PF Source got added
3DS MAX INTEGRATION – Switching between two different Grid, Ocean or Particle Textures in the old Material Editor did not update some of their GUI elements
NEW ACTIVE BODIES New rigid body solver node, interacting with the Liquid Simulator. No mutual interaction between rigid bodies yet
NEW TEXUVW New TexUVW channel for fire/smoke and liquid simulations, moving with the fluid and allowing for render-time texture mapping of surfaces and volume color and opacity, as well as for adding displaced detail moving with the fluid in all render modes
NEW VOXEL TUNER New Voxel Tuner node allowing to change any grid channel during simulation depending on conditions based on grid channel values, textures or distance to meshes
NEW PARTICLE TUNER New Particle Tuner node allowing to change any particle channel or delete particles during simulation depending on conditions based on particle channel values
NEW THINKINGPARTICLES Phoenix FD Birth, Sample and Force operators for thinkingParticles
NEW PREVIEW New Standalone Previewer tool for AUR, VDB and F3D cache files, much faster than the 3ds Max and Maya viewports and currently showing voxels and a new velocity streamline preview
NEW GRID SOLVER Simulate the RGB channel for Drag particles
NEW PRT I/O Register the PRT Reader path into the 3ds Max Asset Tracker for repathing, archiving, and asset transfer for distributed rendering with V-Ray Next
NEW SCRIPTING New <node>.getFrameInfo MAXScript function that retrieves the currently loaded frame info string
IMPROVED INSTALLATION Now Phoenix for V-Ray 3 and for V-Ray Next can load in 3ds Max and simulate without V-Ray installed, and can render with Scanline, Corona, Octane, etc. so Phoenix installers for Scanline are no longer needed
IMPROVED INSTALLATION Ship the Visual C++ redistributable with the Phoenix installer and install it silently in the end, if needed
IMPROVED 3DS MAX INTEGRATION Ability to animate the Phoenix per-node properties
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Make the Foam Falling Speed vary depending on the bubble sizes
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Apply the Initial Vel. Rand. option not just to newborn Splash, but to splitting splash particles as well
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Optimized Birth Volumes
IMPROVED FLIP SOLVER Improve the CPU core usage of the Initial Fill Up phase in FLIP simulation
IMPROVED GRID SOLVER Represent all drag particles in the scene using the keyword “Drag” in the Clear Channels field and Affect fields of forces
IMPROVED SOURCES Emit from instanced thinkingParticles meshes when Prt Shape is set to Use Particle Shape
IMPROVED SOURCES Emit from thinkingParticles meshes which are different per each particle when Prt Shape is set to Use Particle Shape
IMPROVED PARTICLE TEXTURE Read Data Channels from thinkingParticles using the Particle Texture
IMPROVED VOLUME SHADER Optimized rendering of tens or hundreds of Simulators in Volumetric render mode
IMPROVED VOLUME SHADER Renamed ‘Fade Out’ to ‘Border Fade’ and changed it from voxels to world units
IMPROVED PARTICLE SHADER Speed up and improve CPU utilization for Optimizing Particle Congestion with large cache files
IMPROVED RENDER CURVES Copy-paste support for render gradients and curves
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Sped up Grid RGB channel saving to compressed AUR cache files up to 8 times
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Save and load Grid Viscosity from VDBs created by Phoenix
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Sped up loading of VDB caches by reading their min-max channel ranges from metadata instead of calculating them
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Added cache info to VDB caches describing which version of Phoenix FD was used during simulation
IMPROVED CACHE I/O Hidden script option to disable the preset popup when loading Field3D or OpenVDB caches – inDontOfferPresets
IMPROVED PRT I/O Sped up export of PRT files up to 5 times
IMPROVED PRT I/O Allowed use of # in the PRT Reader for specifying sequences just like cache paths in the Simulator work
IMPROVED PREVIEW Option to color the particle preview according not just to Speed, but to Age, Size and Viscosity as well
IMPROVED PREVIEW Better viewport performance with many particle systems in a single Simulator
IMPROVED PREVIEW Don’t reset the preview Detail Reduction on loading a new cache sequence in 3ds Max
IMPROVED GPU PREVIEW Option to save images from the classic GPU Preview at the render resolution
IMPROVED GPU PREVIEW Multithreaded the data gathering pre-process of the GPU Preview
IMPROVED STANDALONE PREVIEW GPU Preview for smoke in the Standalone Preview
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Added new toolbar icons for the Phoenix nodes
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Display the total number of particles in the Cache File Content list in the Simulation rollout
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Enabled Motion Velocity in Sources by default for new scenes
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Changed Mapper’s Initializer option to off by default for new scenes
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Renamed “Use Light Cache” to “Volume Light Cache” so it’s not confused with V-Ray’s Light Cache
IMPROVED USER INTERFACE Added new toolbar icons for the Phoenix nodes
IMPROVED SDK Renamed aura_ver.h to phoenix_ver.h, and aurinterface.h to phx_cache_interface.h
IMPROVED SDK Removed grid and particle channel defines from phx_cache_interface.h, and renamed GridChannels::ChU/V/W to ChRed/Green/Blue, and ParticleChannels::ChR to ChSize in phx_cache_interface.h
IMPROVED SDK Removed the frameTime2contentTime() member of PhoenixSimInterface. Now only PhoenixFrameDataInterface::frameTime2contentTime() should be used
The Grid viscosity channel is now reconstructed from FLIP particles when using Time Bend Controls, preventing render flickering
Speed up a preview of AUR cache files
Show the mesh preview together with the voxel/velocity/force preview when both are enabled
Helpers for re-scaling the output values of the Grid Texture to a certain range
Option specifying whether the alpha of the Grid Texture would be solid or based on the intensity
If there is only one visible Simulator and the rest are hidden, the toolbar Start button should start it immediately
Scene Body Interaction
When a moving geometry stopped, it kept contributing velocity in the Fire/Smoke simulator or broke liquid emission in the Liquid Simulator, since Phoenix FD 3.05
Crash with Adaptive Grid when ‘No Smaller than Initial Grid’ was off, the Grid was completely outside the initial grid and shrunk to 0, since Phoenix FD 3.00.02
Liquid Sources kept emitting Foam/Splash particles in Brush Mode even if the Brush Effect was 0
Moving ocean containers still produced disturbances at their fronts in some cases
Wetmap particles were not born on some surfaces of objects with non-uniform scale
Phoenix lights from one Simulator did not illuminate some parts of other Simulators depending on the camera angle
Crash when using one object as a render cutter for more than one Fire/Smoke simulators, since Phoenix FD 3.12
Replacing the fire opacity with a texture using the ‘Fire Opacity From Texture’ option affected Fully Visible and Use Smoke Opacity modes as well
Volumes were rendered if the Simulator was hidden but ‘Create Lights Even If Not Renderable’ was Enabled, since Phoenix FD 3.13
GPU Volumetric effects go missing when switching between Bucket and Progressive Sampler type in Volumetric Geometry mode
Phoenix’s PFlow operators didn’t take into account the cache Input time bend settings
Stored caches for pflow operators were not released from memory on closing the scene
Birth operator used the RGB green channel instead of the velocity when based on Speed
Wrong particle positions when looping adaptive grid with loop overlap
Crash when exporting Alembic mesh with Simulator in Pure Ocean mode
Caches couldn’t be deleted from the toolbar if there were modifiers applied to the Simulator
3ds Max Integration
Nodes which are not Geometries, such as Sources, Body Force, Mapper etc, could be picked for Cutter Geom, Fade Volume, etc.
Expand and Don’t Shrink option enabled the Maximum Expansion XYZ options in the UI even if Maximum Expansion was off
3.13.00 – Official Release
With Phoenix FD 3.13 we have focused on adding many frequently requested features, improving usability and support for 3ds Max 2020.
Faster liquid simulations
FLIP simulations are 30% faster on average and up to 2x faster on some scenes.
Fire Opacity Texture
Now you can modify the Fire Opacity using textures in order to achieve more interesting shading results.
Support for Loading and Saving OpenVDB Point Data
Save particles simulated by Phoenix FD to VDB cache files, and also import particles from other software via VDB caches
Following is the complete changelog for this version of Phoenix FD:
Support for 3ds Max 2020
Modulate or replace the Fire Opacity with a Texture in ‘Use Own Opacity’ mode
Saving of Phoenix simulated particles to OpenVDB caches
Loading of OpenVDB point data for rendering using the Particle Shader
Option to allow only expansion of the adaptive grid, but disable shrinking for the Liquid Simulator
Resimulation of the RGB channel for FLIP particles
Export of Particle Velocity for WetMap over moving geometries
Use less memory for simulation of WetMap when ‘Sticky Liquid’ is disabled
Grid RGB channel is now reconstructed from FLIP particles when using Time Bend Controls, preventing render flickering
Optimized volumetric rendering when Smoke Opacity is modulated by a texture
Motion Blur Interval Center support for the Particle Shader
Name new Particle Shaders “ParticleShader###” instead of “PHXFoam###”
Support for rendering Ocean Mesh from multiple cameras via Batch Render
Support for rendering Ocean Mesh with Stereoscopic camera
Show the force preview in the box of the loaded cache, if any, and in the simulation box otherwise
Updated OpenVDB from version 3 to version 5
Export Phoenix meshes with vertex velocity using 3ds Max’s 2019 built-in Alembic export into the ‘Max_Map_Channel velocity’ color set. Used for motion blur rendering with V-Ray Next update 1.1
Separate export to Alembic for the different particle systems of a Simulator by exporting the “Particles  of ” nodes via 3ds Max’s built-in exporter
Added the running Simulator’s node name to the simulation viewport status
Renamed the Mapper’s ‘Time Constant’ to ‘Buildup Time’
The Phoenix FD 3ds Max plugin could not load together with V-Ray builds older than V-Ray 3.6. Restored compatibility with V-Ray 3.1
Intersecting a moving obstacle with a Solid emitter left non-emitting voxels after the obstacle
Clear Inside did not clear the volume of Non-Solid emitters in Surface Force mode in the Fire/Smoke Simulator
Empty adaptive grid expanded by itself when Extra Margin was used and Expand and Don’t Shrink was On
Crash with ‘Simulate Air Effects’ and forces affecting the ‘Air’ system of a Liquid Simulator, since Phoenix FD 3.04
WetMap was not equally generated over flat surfaces and might not appear on horizontal or vertical surfaces
Subsiding liquid at the front of a long moving ocean container with Motion Inertia
Fixed various issues with moving ocean containers producing disturbances and waves at their borders
Trying to resimulate over a liquid cache with no Liquid particles showed different messages the first and second time
Simulation restore did not go back to the last backup frame and could cause a crash, since Phoenix FD 3.12
Scene Body Interaction
Voxelization of a large number of small bodies used excessive amounts of memory, since Phoenix FD 3.11
Voxelization of hundreds of geometries with very small sizes was slower on many threads compared to simulating on 1 thread
Geometry with Initial Liquid Fill which was also selected in a Source in Volume Brush or Volume Inject mode created a double amount of liquid particles and this caused explosions
Particles with small size used as emitters for Liquid had random Discharge strength
Sources did not emit from Thinking Particles when simulating through Deadline or Backburner
Flickering FLIP liquid mesh near emitters when Input Play Speed was below 1
When two or more Simulators had any overlapping walls, volumetrics weren’t rendered correctly with V-Ray GPU
Crash with instanced Simulators in Volumetric Render Mode during sequence render with V-Ray GPU
Crash when rendering a scene containing any Particle Shaders with V-Ray GPU
Crash when rendering a scene containing a VolumeGrid and a Simulator with V-Ray GPU
Shading volumes using only textures still required a loaded cache file with V-Ray GPU
Volumes loaded from OpenVDB caches that contain internal rotation rendered clipped with V-Ray GPU
Fire Lights kept illuminating the scene after the cache sequence ends during sequence render
Crash when rendering a volume with Create Lights intersecting a geometry with a Light Material
Using many chained texture maps in the volumetric shader produced different renders of the same frame when rendering repeatedly
Could not abort rendering by canceling the pre-render progress windows
Random crashes when rendering in Volumetric mode with Defscanline
Volumetric Light Cache still consumes additional memory even when it should be disabled in Progressive V-Ray rendering
Memory leak when rendering with GI and any V-Ray render elements
Particle Shader particles appeared smaller when exported and rendered from a VRScene
Crash when rendering a Particle Shader without a linked Liquid Simulator, since Phoenix FD 3.12
Slow down of Particle Shader Bubble/Splash/Cellular rendering with linked Liquid Simulator and ‘Use Light Cache’, introduced in Phoenix FD 3.04
Incorrect alphas for Bubbles mode, and cellular walls for Cellular mode Particle Shader rendering in V-Ray StandAlone
Slowdown the second time you rendered a large number of Foam particles
Ocean mesh used excessive amounts of memory when rendered with the spherical panorama camera
Ocean mesh was not built correctly when the viewport was set to Orthographic mode
Crash when rendering Ocean mesh with Cutter Geom and Motion Blur
Missing mesh polygons on the container border when rendering in Ocean Mesh mode
Flipped mesh polygons on the container border when rendering in Ocean Mesh mode with Mesh Smoothness above 0
Crash if creating a circular dependency between a Grid Texture and a Simulator’s displacement, when ‘Skip the Displacement’ was off
Crash during fire/smoke simulation if using a Grid Texture reading the Temperature of the same Simulator in a Mapper affecting Temperature with ‘Initializer’ Off
Crash when rendering a scene with Grid Texture used as a mask in a Blend material with Motion Blur
VRayVolumeGrid could be selected as a Phoenix Grid texture Source Node
Boiling effect on the open grid borders when using Wave Force with Fillup for Ocean and there was geometry over the bottom
Voxel preview of temperature around 200 Kelvins with As Fire enabled drew bright red and pink voxels
Preview Auto reduction did not work for the Force preview
Constant mesh rebuild in 3ds Max viewport when the timeline start was not an exact frame
Slow viewport preview in 3ds Max when the timeline start was not an exact frame
When render viewport was locked, Ocean Mesh preview was drawn from that perspective in any viewport
Crash when repeatedly pressing Export PRT particles
3ds Max Integration
Forward scrolling timeline slider while simulating and looking at the Simulation rollout hung the simulation
Selecting ‘Don’t show again’ on dialogues caused some messages to not appear at all even on the first run
The warning about DR and local paths still appeared even after all Simulators were deleted from the scene
The installer for V-Ray 3 placed vray_phoenix.dll into ‘3dsmax XXXX for x64/bin/plugins’ instead of ‘RT for 3ds Max XXXX for x64/bin/plugins’
v3.12.00 – Official release
With Phoenix FD 3.12 we have focused on adding many frequently requested features, improving usability and integration in 3ds Max.
Ocean Mesh with Physical Camera and all V-Ray camera types
The ocean mesh in Phoenix is generated in camera space, so it needs to be aware of all the camera options and all camera types. With Phoenix FD 3.12, the Ocean Mesh mode now supports all parameters of the V-Ray Physical Camera and the built-in 3ds Max Physical Camera.
We’ve also added support for all V-Ray camera types that are available under the V-Ray Render Settings – Spherical, Cylindrical, Box, Fisheye, Warped spherical, Ortho, 360 Virtual Reality Spherical Panorama and Cube 6×1 cameras.
Instancing and referencing of Phoenix FD Simulators
In versions prior to 3.12, Phoenix FD could only instance Simulators in Mesh render mode. Now you can manually instance Simulators across the scene for preview and rendering in both Volumetric render modes, as well as the Isosurface and Ocean Mesh modes.
Additionally, now you can have Simulators instanced for simulation as well. This means all Simulators will share one cache sequence and the same simulation settings, but each Simulator instance will interact with the obstacles, emitters, and forces inside its own grid.
Note that instancing of Simulators using VRayInstancer is currently being implemented in V-Ray and will be available soon.
Support for Scene and Object XRefs
Adding the ability to instance Simulators in 3ds Max also paves the way for being able to XRef Simulators and Particle Shaders. Caches loaded by the Simulators will be correctly picked in object and scene XRefs by the volumetric shader and Particle Shaders when using explicit cache paths or using the default $(…) Phoenix macros.
Note that if you manually merge the XRefs into a scene where they were XRef-ed into, any $(dir) or $(scene) macros of XRef-ed Simulators will be automatically unrolled to the full directory and scene name of the XRef-ed scene, so Simulators will be able to find their caches from inside the new scene they were merged into.
Textures support for volumes on V-Ray Next GPU
Now texture mapping the color and opacity of fire and smoke works on V-Ray Next GPU as well. Requires a V-Ray Next nightly build.
Following is the complete changelog for this version of Phoenix FD:
Support for textures for volume rendering with V-Ray Next GPU
Support for all parameters of the V-Ray and 3ds Max Physical Camera types when creating an Ocean Mesh
Support for all V-Ray camera types when creating an Ocean Mesh – Spherical, Cylindrical, Box, Fish eye, Warped spherical, Ortho, Spherical panorama, Cube 6×1
Instancing and referencing for rendering and preview of Simulators in non-mesh render modes
Instancing and referencing of Simulators during simulation
3ds Max Integration
Support for Simulators and Particle Shaders in Scene and Object XRefs
MaxScript interface for getting grid data and loading render presets directly from the Simulator nodes. The new functions are loadRenderPreset, setCoordSys, getVelocity, getRGB, getTemperature, getSmoke, getFuel
New MaxScript functions for saving a Simulator render preset to file – <node>.saveRenderPreset <path> and A_SaveRenderPreset <node> <path>
New MaxScript functions for saving and loading a Simulator’s simulation preset to file – loadSimPreset, saveSimPreset, A_LoadRenderPreset, A_SaveRenderPreset
WetMap now has different sticky effect against different liquid viscosities
Exposed the hidden grid-based motion blur algorithm from Phoenix FD 3.00.01 for use via the ‘mbgrid’ script parameter
Discharge Modifiers by Particle Size
Support for the new transformation model of OpenVDB caches from FumeFX 5
New default $(scene_path) macro for simulation cache Output expands to “$(scene)_Phoenix_frames” directory and does not use the node handle in the cache name
Converted the Particle Group nodes to a new node type instead of being Simulator instances
Cache Converter now requires source and destination files and is verbose by default
Particle Shaders created by enabling Foam or Splash, or by Quick Setup presets, are now named after the simulator with ‘Foam/Splash/Mist Shader’ appended
Renamed the Foam and Splash ‘Outside Life’ option to ‘Max Outside Age’
Renamed ‘Sticky Effect’ and ‘Sticky’ to ‘Sticky Liquid’ and ‘Sticky Foam’ respectively
Renamed ‘Boundary conditions’ to ‘Container Walls’
Exposed a new function – getVolRendSamplerFromNode() which takes a node as an argument in order to support Simulator instances
Show a warning when installing Phoenix for V-Ray 3 together with V-Ray Next and vice versa
Liquid particles got deleted on contact with deforming geometries, Alembic and Point Caches
Liquid sources emitted in pulses when adaptive grid resizes, since Phoenix FD 3.11
Could not emit liquid from particle systems, since Phoenix FD 3.11
If the Liquid Simulator’s cache Output path could not be written to, no error was shown and the simulation continued, since Phoenix FD 3.11
Surface Tension Droplet Breakup caused liquid drops in zero gravity to take diamond shapes
Confine Geometries used by Liquid Simulators were not internally set to Solid like Fire/Smoke Simulators do
Solid geometry without Clear Inside did not create liquid voxels under the Fillup for Ocean level
Liquid was created in voxels covered by Confine Geometry when Fillup for Ocean was used
Significant difference in the simulation between Sticky Liquid set to 0.001 and 0.002
Crash when Resimulating with Adaptive Grid with Preallocation and the result grid was over 2.1 billion voxels
Missing buckets with moving Simulator in Volumetric Geometry mode and Motion Blur
Wrong cache file was rendered with V-Ray Next GPU when Resimulation was enabled, Play Speed was not 1.0 and Use Time Bend Controls was On
Warning about Emit light not supported on V-Ray Next GPU was shown when rendering in Mesh mode
Volumes didn’t render in V-Ray Next GPU in scenes where Particle Shaders referenced missing caches
Incorrect light intensity with Approximate Scattering using V-Ray Next GPU
The Size Multiplier of a Particle Shader animated by Particle Age did not work correctly for particles born on negative frames
Rare infinite loop when rendering particles in Bubble mode with V-Ray Next
Point Mode and Fog Mode did not render when Render as Geometry was enabled
Rendering in Bubbles Mode, then rendering in Fog Mode, and then again rendering in Bubbles Mode still rendered the fog when Render as Geometry was enabled
Crash with Particle Shader in Geometry Mode and geometry with VRayMtl with V-Ray Edges Tex rounded edges bump since Phoenix FD 3.10
Render Cutter in Isosurface mode of a Simulator with VRayMtl with Affect Shadows blocked GI rays for geometry inside the Cutter with V-Ray Next
Buckets in VRayLightSelect render element when rendering the Simulator in Volumetric Geometry mode with Phoenix Light Cache enabled
The Simulator’s Shadow, Raw Shadow, GI, and Raw GI render elements didn’t render correctly in Volumetric Geometry mode with Phoenix Light Cache enabled
The Simulator’s Shadow, Raw Shadow, GI, and Raw GI render elements didn’t render correctly with enabled Phoenix Light Cache
Random crash when rendering a Simulator in Volumetric Geometry mode with V-Ray Velocity Render element
The Simulator surface appeared rougher than the Ocean extension in the distance at a low angle with low Ocean Subdivs and low Horizon Roughness
Incorrect mesh velocity when rendering a moving Ocean or Cap mode Simulator with Motion Blur
The Underwater Goggles option did not account for the Off-Screen Margin option
Artifacts on the grid border when rendering in Ocean Mesh mode with Mesh Smoothing and Use Liquid Particles
Black artifacts near the horizon in Ocean Mode with Horizon Roughness and the camera was far from the Simulator origin
Noisy Phoenix Mesh displacement using an Ocean Texture when looking at tall waves from the side since Phoenix FD 3.03
Missing mesh polygons on the container border when rendering in Ocean Mesh mode with Mesh Smoothness above 0
Using Mesh Smoothing in Ocean Mesh or Cap Mesh render mode shrunk the mesh
Artifacts when rendering Ocean with high Ocean Subdivs and high Ocean Texture Level of Detail
Crash if using a Grid Texture sampling a ‘Rendering …’ channel that used the same Grid Texture as Based On or Modulate texture
Crash or a different render when re-rendering the same frame that used a Grid Texture
Random crash after selecting a new Simulator in a Grid Texture
Grid Texture did not update during sequence render if it was plugged into an Output map
Grid Texture did not read the Rendering Color or Opacity channels from a Simulator in Mesh or Isosurface Mode
Incorrect preview when the Simulator’s Pivot Point was Offset
The range for velocity preview was wrong then there was no velocity channel and auto-range was enabled
Caches containing digits after the # format could not be loaded
Caches containing a minus/dash sign before the # format could not be loaded
Crash after deleting a Simulator and one or more of its hidden PG nodes together
Phoenix Simulators could not be used as a Velocity Field Source in Stoke MX since Phoenix FD 3.05
Crash when simulating with Stoke MX using a Simulator with a Grid Texture in its material as a Velocity Field Source
Emitting from Particle Flow systems where some events have no particles produces emission at coordinates 0,0,0
PRT Export in the interval from frame 0 to frame 0 exported the entire timeline range
After exporting once, the PRT Export dialogue became non-modal and another one could be opened, which could lead to crashes
Cache Converter required a missing aurloader.dll
Simulation or render presets had a different number of keyframes every time they were saved
3ds Max Integration
Crash while running a simulation if selecting ‘New scene’
What’s new in v3.11
Support for 3ds Max 2019
Support for V-Ray Next – now Phoenix FD volumes such as fire and smoke can be rendered on the GPU using V-Ray Next
RGB channel simulation for Foam, Splash and Mist particles – now secondary particles can be born from Sources mapped with colored textures and can change color during simulation using the Mapper
Particle Texture color based on Particle Channels – the Particle Texture can be plugged into the Particle Shader and can shade particles based on their Age, Speed, Size, Position, etc.
2x faster particle rendering in Bubble, Cellular and Splash modes using the Phoenix FD Light Cache – the Particle Shader has been greatly optimized in this version
Faster scene interaction with complex or moving geometries – the simulation, cache save and load, and scene interaction now utilizes all CPU cores and allows the fluid to interact quickly with large geometry models
Quicker Displacement Fade Volume and Body Force with complex or moving geometries – these algorithms are much faster now and allow for quick simulation of fluid attraction and morphing into geometry shapes, as well as quick rendering of high poly oceans
Loading and rendering of sparse OpenVDB caches over 2.1 billion voxels – huge sparse grids can now be loaded and rendered quickly and using much less memory than before
An important change was that we dropped support for the oldest version of the AUR cache format – caches simulated with Phoenix builds before 13 Mar 2015 would not open anymore with Phoenix 3.11.
Jesse Pitela shows how to make water splash with the basic liquid emitter in Chaos Group's Phoenix FD for 3ds Max. He has it set up to splash over half an orange, but you can splash water on anything you can conjure. This tutorial covers the 3ds Max version of Phoenix FD but there is also a version for Maya.
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