v3.14 Chaos Group Phoenix FD for 3ds Max – Rental Options


Chaos Group Phoenix FD for 3ds Max – Rental Options


Download demos and trial versions, product documentation, free presets and more.

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Fluid Dynamics for Artists

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. 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.


New in Phoenix FD for 3ds Max

FLIP SOLVER – Fast & realistic liquid simulations.


QUICK PRESETS – New toolbar with presets for fire, smoke and liquid simulations.


FAST VOLUME RENDERING – Optimized volume rendering with accurate lighting and global illumination.


IMPROVED FIRE & SMOKE SOLVER – Create realistic smoke and fire with natural rolling motion and fine details without increasing resolution.


NEW FORCES – Influence simulations with forces like wind, spline follow, mesh attraction and more.


ACCURATE VIEWPORT PREVIEW – Preview fire, smoke and liquid simulations quickly and accurately in the viewport.



chaos group phoenix 3ds liquids

Liquids, splashes & foam

With Phoenix FD you can create realistic liquid simulations with splashes and foam directly in 3ds Max.

chaos group phoenix 3ds fire

Smoke, fire & explosions

Create any type of fire and smoke effects with Phoenix FD's powerful, adaptive-grid dynamics engine.


chaos group phoenix 3ds interactive

Interactive simulations

Fine-tune simulations interactively in the viewport with Phoenix FD’s GPU-accelerated preview.

chaos group phoenix 3ds max refine simulations

Refine existing simulations

Add detail and increase resolution without changing simulation shape or behavior.

chaos group phoenix 3ds retiming simulations

Simulation retiming

Speed up or slow down simulation playback.   Perfect for slow motion effects.

chaos group phoenix 3ds cascade

Cascade simulations

Create a series of simulations that trigger and interact with each other.

chaos group phoenix 3ds max custom emissions

Custom emission sources

Use a wide range of emission sources including animated meshes, texture maps, particles and more.

chaos group phoenix vorticity


Simulate highly-realistic and complex vorticity effects with full control over large-scale vortex strength and ultra fine details.

chaos group phoenix turbulance


Perfect for generating small wisps of smoke and steam.

chaos group phoenix particles


Render particles as bubbles, drops, points, or fog.

chaos group phoenix mesh

Mesh & particles IO

Import & export mesh objects and particles to Alembic, Krakatoa, Stoke MX, XMesh and V-Ray proxy files.

chaos group phoenix beach waves

Ocean & beach waves

Seamlessly transition from procedural ocean to simulated beach waves.

chaos group phoenix infinite ocean

Infinite ocean

Seamlessly transition from detailed ocean surface simulations to infinite ocean waves (that never repeat.)

chaos group phoenix optimised rendering

Optimized rendering

Render photoreal fluids and volumetric effects using V-Ray's optimized Phoenix FD shader.

Please make sure that your system fulfills these requirements before installing Phoenix:


  • Processor - 1st Gen Intel ® Core ® or compatible processor with SSE4.2 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 ® 2014 / 3ds Max Design ® 2014 or later, 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.

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).
  • Here is a short step by step guide by Microsoft on Adding an Exclusion for Windows Defender.

3.14.00 Official release

Date – 15 May 2019, Download – Build 3.14.00



  • 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

Grid Texture

  • 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

Bug Fixes

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

Grid Solver

  • 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

FLIP Solver

  • 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

Volumetric Illumination

Phoenix lights from one Simulator did not illuminate some parts of other Simulators depending on the camera angle

Volumetric Shader

  • 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 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 Volumetrics

  • GPU Volumetric effects go missing when switching between Bucket and Progressive Sampler type in Volumetric Geometry mode

Particle Flow

  • 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

Cache I/O

  • 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:

New Features

Phoenix FD

  • Support for 3ds Max 2020

Volumetric Shader

  • Modulate or replace the Fire Opacity with a Texture in 'Use Own Opacity' mode

Cache I/O

  • 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

FLIP Solver

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

Volumetric Shader

Optimized volumetric rendering when Smoke Opacity is modulated by a texture

Particle Shader

Motion Blur Interval Center support for the Particle Shader
Name new Particle Shaders "ParticleShader###" instead of "PHXFoam###"

Ocean Mesher

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

Cache I/O

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

User Interface

Added the running Simulator's node name to the simulation viewport status
Renamed the Mapper's 'Time Constant' to 'Buildup Time'

Bug Fixes

V-Ray Support

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

Grid Solver

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

FLIP Solver

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 General

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

GPU Volumetrics

  • 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

Volumetric Illumination

  • 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

Volumetric Shader

  • 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

  • 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

Particle Nodes

  • Slowdown the second time you rendered a large number of Foam particles

Ocean Mesher

  • 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

Grid Texture

  • 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

Wave Force

  • 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
  • PRT I/O
  • 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 6x1 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:

New Features

GPU Volumetrics

  • Support for textures for volume rendering with V-Ray Next GPU

Ocean Mesher

  • 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 6x1

Sim Instancing

  • 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


FLIP Solver

  • WetMap now has different sticky effect against different liquid viscosities

Volumetric Shader

  • 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

Cache I/O

  • 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

Particle Nodes

  • 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

User Interface

  • 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

Bug Fixes

FLIP Solver

  • 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

Grid Solver

  • Crash when Resimulating with Adaptive Grid with Preallocation and the result grid was over 2.1 billion voxels

Volumetric Shader

  • Missing buckets with moving Simulator in Volumetric Geometry mode and Motion Blur

GPU Volumetrics

  • 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

Particle Shader

  • 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

Isosurface Rendering

  • 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

Render Elements

  • 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

Ocean Mesher

  • 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

Ocean Texture

  • Artifacts when rendering Ocean with high Ocean Subdivs and high Ocean Texture Level of Detail

Grid Texture

  • 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

Cache I/O

  • Caches containing digits after the # format could not be loaded
  • Caches containing a minus/dash sign before the # format could not be loaded

Particle Nodes

  • 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

Particle Flow

  • 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.

View Full Release Notes

What's new in v3.1

New features:

  • FLIP Solver: Variable viscosity for the FLIP solver. Added to the Sources, Grid Texture and Mapper
  • FLIP Solver: Default RGB color for Initial Fill Up of the simulation and Initial Liquid Fill of interacting geometries
  • Particle Shader: Use texture RGB color to shade particles in the Particles Shader
  • Ocean Texture: Implemented looping and direct frame index option for the Ocean Texture
  • Particle Flow: Implement caching of the Simulator frames in order to speed up the Phoenix Particle Flow operators
  • Particle Flow: Option to delete PFlow particles exiting the Simulator grid when using a Force Operator
  • 3ds Max Integration: Support XForm modifiers in Volumetric render mode for the Simulator
  • 3ds Max Integration: Added the Flip Y/Z option to the Input rollout in 3ds Max


  • FLIP Solver: WetMap particles are now able to stick to deforming and fast moving geometries
  • FLIP Solver: Improved the thread loading of the FLIP solver
  • FLIP Solver: Added a Fill Up for Ocean option which can be disabled so Initial Fill Up would not produce liquid voxels and mesh under the fillup level
  • Volumetric Shader: Render negative Fire from caches imported from FumeFX
  • Volumetric Shader: Speed up rendering of scenes with Simulators and Particle Shaders in volumetric mode in 3ds Max
  • Animation: Renamed Cache Start to Cache Origin and Play Start to Timeline Origin
  • V-Ray RT and IPR: Ignore the Optimize Big Volumetric Grids option when the current render is V-Ray RT
  • Ocean Mesher: Allow simultaneous use of the Vertical Fade Level and Fade Above Velocity displacement options
  • Ocean Mesher: Added a hidden cache stretching parameter used to fill air pockets in imported Houdini VDB caches used for ocean meshing - "cachestretchzone"
  • Ocean Texture: Optimized the Ocean Texture
  • Path Follow: Reverse the direction or attraction of FollowPath using a negative Follow Speed or negative Pull Speed
  • VRScenes: Resolve environment variables in Phoenix paths during rendering and not during export
  • Cache I/O: Multithreaded writing and loading of AUR caches. After this change, old versions of Phoenix won't be able to open new caches. New Phoenix versions will open old caches without problems.
  • Cache I/O: Merged the OpenVDB DLL into the Phoenix plugin
  • User Interface: Added options for using the Timeline beginning/end as the simulation start/stop frame
  • 3ds Max Integration: If the connection to the license server is lost, automatically try to reconnect
  • SDK: Allow providing custom motion blur start and end frame times through the Phoenix SDK

Removed features:

  • Phoenix FD: Dropped support for 3ds Max 2013

Bug fixes:

  • FLIP Solver: Random crash with liquid simulation when particles exit the grid and there is an obstacle on the border
  • FLIP Solver: Random crash while simulating liquid in contact with moving solid source geometries
  • FLIP Solver: Hang when not all existing FLIP particle systems are affected by a Phoenix force
  • FLIP Solver: Solid bodies with Clear Inside kill liquid particles on contact
  • FLIP Solver: Can't use another simulator as an obstacle to FLIP liquid
  • FLIP Solver: Restoring liquid simulation with moving simulator creates incorrect velocities at the borders
  • FLIP Solver: Load & Start of a non-backup liquid cache does not load all the liquid particles
  • FLIP Solver: Animated object entering the simulator does not emit liquid from its entire surface
  • FLIP Solver: Liquid cannot wet the inside of a Confine Geometry
  • Grid Solver: Overlapping non-solid Surface Force sources sum their temperatures to very high values
  • Grid Solver: Crash with fire/smoke simulations and Confine Geometry if Object Voxels is different than Circumscribed
  • Simulation General: Crash during simulation when Phoenix FD runs out of memory
  • Simulation General: Pressing Start quickly and repeatedly could crash the simulation with enabled Force Preview
  • Simulation General: Repeated Stopping and then Starting the simulation quickly could lead to a crash in 3ds Max
  • Simulation General: Hang when using Load & Start for a Resimulation
  • Simulation General: After a recent Windows Update, simulation in 3ds Max could hang on Start
  • Simulation General: Can't Start a simulation from the toolbar after a failed Restore
  • V-Ray RT and IPR: Crash when the Ocean Texture is used as liquid simulator displacement when rendering with V-Ray RT
  • Volumetric Shader: No scene shadows if Visible to Camera is disabled in Volumetric Geometry mode
  • Volumetric Shader: Fire/Smoke in Volumetric Geometry mode does not render at all when Min Visible Opacity is set to 0.0
  • Particle Shader: Crash when rendering a Particle Shader with Liquid Geometry set to a Simulator used by a Particle Texture with motion blur
  • Particle Shader: Particle Shader without particles slows down rendering of the entire scene in 3ds Max
  • Rendering: Crash when rendering a simulator without a cache with Velocity render element enabled
  • Animation: Precise Tracing and Interpolation methods don't work smoothly for particles if the original simulation has SPF above 1
  • Sources: Lag when displaying the Modify panel for Liquid Sources in 3ds Max 2018
  • Sources: Wrong texture mapping when using a Grid Texture to transfer data from one simulator to another via a Source
  • Forces: 3ds Max forces need huge multipliers in order to work with Phoenix
  • Body Force: Body Force using geometry with modifiers may not use the proper geometry transform in 3ds Max
  • Body Force: Crash when a body used by Body Force is moved far away from the simulator
  • Wave Force: Wave Force icon helper position in the viewport affects the simulation
  • Mapper: Mapper's Time-Constant is not working correctly with a mask
  • Grid Texture: Crash when trying to add a quick Paint preset with open Material editor and previously used Grid Texture in it
  • Ocean Texture: Crash when rendering Ocean simulation using V-Ray Standalone with -numThreads command
  • Ocean Mesher: Handled out-of-memory when rendering high-poly Phoenix ocean on large resolutions
  • VRScenes: Particle Shaders are not correctly exported to VRscenes from 3ds Max in Phoenix FD 3.05
  • PRT I/O: Export of PRT files from an unsaved scene does not expand the $(cachedir) macro correctly
  • PRT I/O: Cannot export PRT files for negative frames
  • Particle Flow: Some PFlow particles randomly get stuck when exiting the Simulator grid when using a Force Operator
  • 3ds Max Integration: Cannot render a simulator with modifiers since Phoenix FD 3.05
  • 3ds Max Integration: Sources stop emitting through Particle Flow in 'Use Particle Shape' mode if test operators remove some of the particles
  • 3ds Max Integration: Crash when setting a Phoenix Simulator as a Clipper mesh
  • 3ds Max Integration: Crash when shift+clicking on a Simulator with the move tool
  • SDK: All Phoenix nodes returned NULL for getPhoenixSDKInterface()

What's new in v3.05

This patch includes critical fixes for 3ds Max 2018 updates 2 and 3.

And we've added time-saving new features, including:

  • Faster overall simulation - We’ve made Phoenix FD more efficient, speeding up some scenes by up to 30%
  • Force Preview - See how Phoenix or standard 3ds Max and Maya forces will influence the simulation — without multiple iterations
  • Improved Frame Blending - Smoothly retime your fire and smoke more with our new precise tracing method

What's new in v3.04

New Features


  • Support for 3ds Max 2018
  • Remove the DEMO configuration and implement support for TRIAL builds


  • Option to control droplet breakup and droplet size when Surface Tension is used


  • Ocean Off-Screen margin option to allow extending the ocean outside of the render view
  • Option to control the roughness of the ocean horizon


  • Auto White Speed for the preview of particles
  • Preview for the particle RGB channel


  • Add an option to use environment variables in Phoenix FD cache files path


  • Implement emission based on Vertex Color and Vertex Color tex map
  • Option to disable or enable liquid discharge from the Liquid Source


  • Ability for the Body Force to evenly fill a volume


  • Support for the 3ds Max Drag force


  • Export and import the RGB Color channel to/from PRT caches


  • Add a MAXScript function that loads render presets - A_LoadRenderPreset [node] [preset_path]

Modified Features


  • When the simulator is renamed, its cache files should be renamed too


  • Optimized Particle-based mesh smoothing of very large files

Curve control

  • New and converted Bezier and Spline ramp points should follow the slope of the curve


  • Allow animating the Body Force Max Distance


  • Allow Restoring or Loading the simulation from script inside OnSimulationBegin without an infinite recursion

Bug Fixes


  • Adaptive grid attached to animated body is jittering when motion speed changes
  • Fast moving fire emitter leaves frozen voxels using Adaptive Grid
  • Second NUMA node is not recognized and utilized on machines with more than 64 cores
  • Drag particles are not affected by Body Force even when the affected channels include Velocity
  • Foam and splash occasionally gets stuck when exiting the borders of a ship simulation
  • Splashes are born underwater with Splash By Free Fly above 0
  • Inertial forces with value set to 0 still affect the liquid


  • Rendering artifacts with Optimize Congestion in Bubble mode and Liquid Geometry
  • Flickering ocean surface seen in reflections with a moving camera
  • Bubbles that intersect the liquid surface render over-bright with enabled Particle Shader Light Cache
  • Sequence render with Defscanline and Fire Lights keeps showing the lights after the cache sequence ends
  • Black artifacts rendering with Light Cache when the container is inside refractive geometry with gray fog color
  • Rendering particles as Points in Geometry mode produce NaN Pixels
  • No motion blur on the simulator in ocean mode with a moving camera locked to a moving simulator
  • Blending particles that are born and die each frame produces a lot less particles


  • Opening a cache file with a negative frame index does not load the rest of the sequence


  • Numerical Errors when applying the Fire preset on a PFlow emitter and changing the Source Prt Shape


  • Turbulence in Pressure Mode cannot affect the Liquid simulator
  • Pressure Mode deactivates the preview of Turbulence Streamlines


  • Hidden Mapper with Initializer enabled still affects the simulator
  • Crash when transferring velocity between two sims using a Mapper, Grid Texture and SPF over 1


  • Copying any Phoenix texmap between the Sample Slots of the material editor loses the name of the map


  • Crash when using Grid Texture as discharge map with overlapped simulators
  • If a simulator is renamed, liquid becomes not renderable with Phoenix texture
  • Blending Grid Textures using a Composite map produces a different render after the first frame and in animation


  • Rotating the PhoenixOceanTex produces different wave patterns in different scales


  • Scene scale does not affect liquid Quick Setup presets which use VRayMtl's Fog multiplier
  • The turbulence Strength of the Cigarette and Fire presets does not scale according to the emitter size


  • VRScenes exported from 3ds Max always have Probabilistic Volumetrics forced On

Create a Splash with Phoenix FD for 3ds Max

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.


Chaos Group Phoenix FD for 3ds Max – Quick Start: Basic Liquids #gettingstarted

This video covers the basic workflow for creating a basic liquid simulation in Phoenix FD for 3ds Max, using both a toolbar preset, and then again manually, step-by-step for good measure.