What's New in Effex 2.5
To see a complete list of new features, changes and bug fixes please see the changelog in our community forums.
Bullet Dynamics & Two-Way Coupling
Rigid Bodies and Fluids are one of the most used features for VFX nowadays. Effex brings these two now together by providing the artist with a quick and easy way to create rigid body dynamics for volumes using the most popular Bullet Physics library.
Furthermore these dynamic volumes can be fully coupled to fluid dynamics allowing two-way interaction. Ships floating on water or cars being carried away by a massive flood based on physical properties like mass and density is a breeze now.
State-of-the-Art Surface Tension
The new surface tension models make the big difference when simulating small scale effects and equip the artist with brand new algorithms based on latest research.
It provides the artist with new ways to create bubble dynamics, wiggling water droplets and similar small scale phenomena increasing realism in these scenarios.
Full control of the whole simulation pipeline is now given via the Pipeline Viewer giving the artist the chance to define and understand when the used nodes are evaluated during a given timestep. Making it easier to create and manage complex simulation setups.
Also it opens the door for custom setups to be handled by simply reordering nodes.
Vast Effex API
Now shipping with a vast API for third party developers it gives read & write access to the most important structures in Effex like Particles, Channels, Volumes etc.. So external renderers or other plugins can now easily support Effex simulation data!
Furthermore it allows third parties to create their own plugin constraints, forces and operators to extent the Effex Framework opening the door to new/custom algorithms being introduced even during a running project.
High-Quality Viscosity for Gases
Effex' high-quality viscosity is not an own liquid dynamics node any longer (viscous liquids) but has been rewritten to now be available as a setting in all fluid dynamics!
This means you can now also use it for any smoke and fire simulation which adds to the realism and quality tremendously (and is not available in any other package we know of).
Also variable viscosity is of course possible to mimic real-world behaviors even more (such as lowered viscosity at higher temperatures).
New Menu, Quicktabs and Candidate buttons
The new Effex menu is much more intuitive to read with nodes being grouped in a more meaningful way. This makes it more intuitive for the artist to know what nodes logically fit together.
Another workflow enhancement is the new Quicktab that is available in several nodes and contains useful mini-setups involving the specific node. Beside this Effex 2.5 also extents the candidate buttons availability in several nodes increasing workflow speed even more.
MultiVolume and MoGraph Support
The multivolume is an enhancement that a lot of users were wishing for. It allows to take several input meshes and convert them to volumes avoiding cluttering your object manager and makes linking multiple volumes in other nodes way easier and faster.
Another huge advantage that comes along with it is that rigid dynamics can be easily applied to all contained volumes.
But not enough, the MultiVolume also natively supports MoGraph's Cloner and Matrix objects, so now the fun begins for all those motion graphics artists.
The new mesh curvature operator calculates curvatures on any volume or mesher's mesh which in turn can be used by other nodes to create curvature based effects.
It can be use it in conjunction with the Particle Mesh emitter for example to restrict the emission based on the curvature at the sample locations.
Additionally to the volume smoother there is now a mesh smoother which is marvelleous at enhancing your final liquid meshes not only visually, as in smoother, but also topologically, as in better distributed mesh polygons.
This is especially important in rendering quality and later mesh editing procedures.
Improved Particle Emitters
Both the Volume Emitter and the Mesh Emitter do now contain much more options to more efficiently generate particles. Volume driven emission densities, sample distances to avoid overlapping particles and create uniform distributions, curvature based emissions and straightforward color and UV emissions make the emitters more powerful.
The mesher sees a huge increase in performance for all meshing algorithms involved.
Speed ups of 400 - 500% are possible especially in more splashy scenes. It is now feasible to use the high-quality meshing modes and therefore gain higher-quality results even in complex scenarios.
Weak Spring Particle Support
The weak spring node (among others!) does now support all native Effex particle types (and the fluid dynamics node dependancy has been removed, now being optional).
According to our research we found that it can especially improve our particle turbulence force by conserving volume and a favorable particle distribution also for vorticity particles.
However also ballistic setups and diffuse secondary particles like foam and spray can highly take advantage of it.
New and additional display options
All channels and volumes do now have new and improved settings for displaying their content more intuitively allowing the artist to "analyze" the data more efficiently.
One feature worth accentuating is the adaptive volumetric display of channels which comes in very handy when working with cached smoke/fire simulation data and speeds up the editor display.
The whole multithreading pipeline has been revisited resulting in quicker node execution and avoiding any multiprocessor issues that have arised in the past.
More node abstractions
Several features were now abstracted into individual nodes, such as particle and grid advection and particle force emissions.
This not only results in more control (especially in conjunction with the new Pipeline Viewer) but also allows plugin operators to chime in and provide custom algorithms for these operations (without confusing the artist).
The new dual force 'Field Curl' implements the popular curl noise approach. This can generate a velocity field out of any noise field and therefore create turbulences for all kind of simulations (even ballistic ones!).
The great thing is that it not only supports noises as source fields but any available Effex constraint, making it a powerful turbulence tool.
Another great addition is the Variable Density node which uses existing temperature and smoke channels to create a physically-based variable density channel. And the best thing is that it is very fast to calculate!
Last but not least, we introduce Position-Based-Fluids to the framework. However, this is still an experimental addition.