thinkingParticles™ 4.0 is the next generation rule based particle system for 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design, offering unparalleled power to the user. thinkingParticles in its latest incarnation, Release 4, (R4) redefines Fluid, Rigid Body and Particle F/X simulation in a whole new way.
Sam Khorshid a professional Digital Artist, who worked at Uncharted Territory in the making of Roland Emerich's latest movie, "2012" says:
Due to the sheer number of dynamic, interacting systems, we needed a procedural solution. This show was too complex for each artist to work on a shot level. Thinking particles R4 was the right fit for this task. The basis for our destruction pipeline was TP4's integrated dynamics (shape collision) and rule based workflow, coupled with finalRender's fantastic instancing ability. volumeBreaker too, was specifically developed for "2012" along with a new robust joint system, layered caching with retiming functionality and new mesh handling tools for ingesting complex buildings into particle systems. What these new innovations enabled, was the creation of a world that dynamicly interacts with all of its elements: buildings reacting to earth upheavel, cars reacting to falling debris, everything interconnected.
The real power of thinkingParticles comes from its unlimited combination of conditions and operators that define the behavior of each single particle, in a particle system. As a programming language offers all the freedom and power to a programmer, so thinkingParticles offers the same unlimited power to the 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design artist.
What's the real deal with thinkingParticles ?
thinkingParticles offers its particle system functionality through a kind of programming approach. However, unlike programming, you won't have to write a single line of code! A powerful visual "Wire Setup Interface" enables any 3ds Max artist to define the rules and conditions that control the particle behavior. Because it is a "program" that controls the particles and their behavior, you will find that there is no limit to what you can do! Nearly every particle effect can be created or controlled through a set of operators and conditions.
Rule-based Versus Event-driven Particle Systems
Where does thinkingParticles stand? The difference between event-driven particles and rule-based particles can be summed up quite simply. An event-driven particle system usually works, based on "triggers" or events that must happen to activate an effect. This implies some kind of key frame related effects while thinkingParticles is totally independent of any timing and key framing!
thinkingParticles offers true Non Linear Animation technology. Rules and conditions control the particle effects, and not timers or events, that happen at certain key frames in an animation. A particle system created with thinkingParticles will always work, regardless of the timing or number of frames that may change in an animation.