- New Quick Presets provide several quick settings as good starting point
- Scene scale gives you global control, to ensure a proper simulation
- The new FLIP Solver can easily simulate a large scale of water
- Smoothness removes the grid artifacts
- PCG conservation and massive vorticity can produce more realistic, detailed smoke and explosions
- Fire has a separate opacity control, create more realistic fire
- Able to simulate splash, foam, and mist particles take realism to a higher level
- Slow down fluid simply by lower the value of time scale
- Industry-leading, intuitive retiming workflow
- New force types: Follow Path force, Body Attraction, Morphing forces and Wave Force allow for a variety of effects
- Support for 3ds max’s built-in Alembic export
- Lack of dedicated render elements
- Unable to simulate rigid body dynamics
- Lack of state control, it is hard to swap fluid from one state to another
It’s been more than six months since my PhoenixFD 2.2 review was published. This time, because I am the PhoenixFD nightly tester. I can share with readers my experience in a shorter time. A plug-in that can simulate water, fire, smoke, and render particles, is really an ambitious goal, you can imagine how difficult programming, and design it’s UI. Let’s start with the improvement of the user interface.
Quick Setup presets
The slogan for PhoenixFD 3 is “Fluid Dynamics for Artists.” Few clicks and you get desired effects, without knowing so many parameters, is the dream comes true for artists. Although it sounds too good to be true, I actually tested it out once I got the official release. The new PhoenixFD Toolbar give you a total of 14 quick settings: Fire, Explosion, Large-scale Smoke, Cigarette Smoke, Candle, Cloud, Tap water, Beer, Honey, Blood Splatter, Paints, Ink in water, Waterfall, and Ocean. I don’t have time to test them all; you may check each example on official help site.
So I placed a teapot in the scene casually, with teapot selected then hit the explosion icon, PhoenixFD generates all necessary helpers for me. Then I press the simulation button, in few seconds, I got results that already good. The new GPU Preview displays directly in the viewport. PhoenixFD automatically adjusts the value of the scene scale to ensure a proper simulation.
I even use quick presets for my current projects. The following example uses “Large-scale Smoke” presets, and the new Massive Vorticity fixing a boiling effect that is present in the classic vorticity algorithm.
PhoenixFD simplified it’s simulator user interface by separating liquid and fire/smoke into two simulators – FireSmokeSim and LiquidSim. Since volume conservation is crucial for liquid, therefore removing other conservative methods that making the liquid lose its volume during each iteration, this avoid user’s confusion. For FireSmokeSim, besides three types of conservation methods, added PCG Symmetric.
- Wave Force that transfers the effect of the PhoenixFDOceanTex onto the simulation
- Follow Path force to move the fluid along the path
- Body Attraction and Morphing forces
- Allowed gradual transition between the default Black Body Fire model and an artistic model using the ‘Physically Based’ option
- Rigidbody Simulation – In many cases, we need a dynamic interaction between the rigid body and the liquid. Although PhoenixFD calculates the collision between the geometry and the fluid, it is an only one-way collision. The current fluid can not repel the rigid body, for example, the flood can not push the carton on the floor. The movement of the box must rely on other software. Autodesk 3dsMax had removed the Reactor since version 2012, and even with new Nvidia’s massFX, it lacked Reactor’s water simulation. If PhoenixFD supports rigid-body simulation, the function will be more complete
- Currently can not directly separate the fire and smoke, there are no dedicated render elements (But there are indirect methods can be done)
- The lack of Realflow filter daemon that converting state of the fluid, for example, I have an object fragmentation, I want to turn that rigid frag into liquid based on speed, PhoenixFD has no mechanism to do this kind of task