Exploring Thinking Particles in 3DS Max
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by Ketki Jadhav
8 hours ago

I really like how you've articulated your entire process. This was a very enriching read. A Well deserved feature!

Great article! Thanks for the awesome read.

Wow, this is so cool! Nice job!

Exploring Thinking Particles in 3DS Max
16 January, 2017
3d artist Deepak VN talked about the way he creates beautiful procedural effects in 3DS Max.



I’m basically from Silicone Valley of India Bangalore. But my native place is Kerala. I did my basic 3d animation course at Auriga Animations, Kerala. But it was just software learning. I believe only self-education can make us strong. I have worked for Dhruva Interactive (an outsourcing company in India), Pixel Animations Studios in Kerala. I was a part of many international games and CG ads. Currently I am working as a CG generalist at GSN games.








Actually I wanted to do some R&D with VolumeBreaker and Thinking Particles. Thinking Particles is simply an awesome tool for particle animation and demolition. I wanted to get photorealistic output using V-Ray and AfterEffects. In real world you can’t see so much particles during pencil’s nib collapse, but I wanted to show more particles to get the feel I expected.

First I collected as many references as I could. I took a detailed study about pencil tip. There are many variations of pencil wood and graphite. I selected the best image as a reference to get the maximum appeal and feel. I did a little bit of sculpting on the model. I only used default max hair. I think fur and dust are necessary for macro shots.


Particle Effects

I used Thinking Particles to create the particle effects. There are many tools to do demolition in CG but I prefer Thinking Particles. You can achieve unlimited level of detail in particle animation. All the animation you saw in the shot except pencil’s animation is procedural. I have used Volume Break 3 times in this shot. It was a little bit challenging to get what I expected. I have done many simulations using random seeds in Volume Breaker. Once I finished the breaking animation I took the cache. Only after that I started doing the line drawing animation and dust particle animation. I believe patience can give us maximum quality of work.




Usually I have been doing depth of field only during compositing stages, but this kind of macro shots, especially with particles, are very difficult to do when it comes to depth of field at compositing stage. So I have used the V-Ray depth of field in this shot. It gave me a good result. We have to increase the value of Max Subdivision in image sampler, so it will take more rendering time. I have taken many passes using V-Ray render elements. It helped me a lot at compositing stage.


In this shot I have only used one light, but I used HDRI lighting. If you want to achieve get render you should play with HDRI lighting. If you want photorealistic results you should be a master of compositing software as well. Here I could have also used BG, but I it was too blurry in DoF, so I took a photo of my room with my camera. At lighting stage I followed the same light direction as with BG lighting. I had a clear idea about what the output should be. At composting stage I applied lens effects using optical flares, motion blur using reel-smart motion blur. Optical flare is an amazing tool to do photorealistic lighting effects and mood of lighting. I believe we should have a good knowledge of using SLR cameras to get photorealistic output in CG.


Deepak VN, Freelance 3D Generalist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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yathish kumar Recent comment authors
yathish kumar
yathish kumar

awesome work ! V_ray Render is extraordinary…(kallan)