Thinkbox releases Stoke MX particle reflow for 3ds Max

Stoke allows a non-linear workflow and supports scripting inside 3ds Max.


Stoke 1Thinkbox Software today added to its lineup of innovative animation and simulation tools with the launch of Stoke MX, a particle simulator plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max designed to simplify and accelerate the creation of high-volume particle clouds driven by velocity fields.

Stoke MX supports a wide variety of emitter and velocity sources, and introduces new workflows. Previously unavailable capabilities include multi-threaded particle advection, rapid memory-buffered playback, and asynchronous multi-threaded particle file saving, which Thinkbox says enables higher performance compared to existing workflows.

In essence, Stoke enables a new way of working with particle clouds. Instead of being stuck in a linear simulation workflow, artists can layer their particles and work backwards to mix, enhance or alter simulation data without having to re-simulate. “It opens up a lot of possibilities,” says Thinkbox founder Chris Bond.

Key features of Stoke MX include:

  • Particle generation from other particle systems, geometry surfaces, volumes, vertices and edges including selection and soft-selection support, as well as from Sitni Sati’s FumeFX simulations
  • Optional emitter channel acquisition with minimal overhead
  • Particle advection using velocities from other particle systems or files, 3ds Max force space warps, FumeFX simulations, Thinkbox’s Ember simulations, and other Stoke simulations
  • Velocity field mixing, scaling and optional divergence removal from particle-based velocity fields to produce uncompressible fluid motion
  • Flexible memory caching for fast simulation iterations and interactive viewport playback
  • PRT file saving using one or more background threads, decoupling the simulation from the particle saving process for even faster iterations
  • Integration with local and Thinkbox’s Deadline partitioning
  • MAXScript exposure enabling the creation of custom Stoke-based tools
  • Compatible with the Thinkbox’s Krakatoa MX high-volume particle renderer and its various components including PRT Loader and other PRT objects, Magma and delete modifiers, particle data viewer, etc.
  • Compatible with Thinkbox Software’s Frost particle mesher (version 1.3.5 and higher)

Visual effects artist Jason Crosby used a pre-release version of Stoke in the feature film After Earth, which opens May 31. “For the wormhole shot in After Earth, Stoke allowed me to come up with a look in just a couple days. Creating iterations was a very quick process.”

The Stoke MX base package includes one workstation and two network simulation licenses. Additional network simulation licenses can be purchased individually.stoke 2

Our take

Thinkbox keeps cranking out innovative physics-based tools for animation and VFX. We have heard that various companies in the manufacturing & digital reality space (3D CAD/scanning/printing) are intrigued by what Thinkbox is doing, but we can’t name names.

The YouTube video below is a short animation (0:26) provided by Torbjorn “Tobbe” Olsson showing a base Naiad simulation of up to 170,000 particles over 300 frames.