Particle Flow tips & tricks

1. Use ; keyboard hotkey to toggle Particle Flow emission.


2.  To view how many particles is in the event:


3. You can merge entire PFlow system into a new scene by merging only PF Engine object. Just check Select Influences:


4. As an alternative to Find Target can be spherical Wind with negative values.


5. Every animator will leave Realtime play, but when working with lagging particles calculation, it’s better to turn this off.



6. The best method (in every render) to hide particles from rendering is to hide it in object properties. Event Properties:


7. Synchronize layers when some event created in different scene layers. Particle View -> Tools -> Synchronize Layers.


8. Shape instance operator: link objects to one master objects. Use this master in shape instance to have multiple instanced geometries:



9. Use Krakatoa deflector whatever is possible. It’s many times faster:


10. Simple Inter-particle collisions can be faked with Keep Apart + Speed Test operators (example).


11. You can make Splines from the particles trajectories – PF Spliner.


12. To make particles following a path, use Speed by Icon operator with assigned Path Constraint Controller.


13. There is an ability to directly select some particles in the viewport, in PF Source object. They can be separated into another event with Split Selected Test event.


14. Mesher.

Create -> Compound Objects -> Mesher.

It converts particles to mesh objects, can be used to make some impact on other objects. As an example with Vol. Select and Mesher Compound Object as selected mesh (example).


15. Often underrated Shape Mark operator can be used for writing/painting on contact geometry object (example).


16. Having hi-poly objects as shape instances will have poor performance. Avoid this as possible with:

  • Use box#3 Cache Selective operator with low poly objects. Replace it with hi-poly Shape Instance objects in Post-Cache operators list.
  • Save particles to PRT (in Krakatoa). Use PRT with Frost, as custom geometries pick hi-poly objects.
  • Bake animation, replace the object with this script or Object Replacer from SoulburnScripts.


17. Particles Caching alternatives:


18. Baking to geometries:


19. Geometry Fracturing:


20. Official Particle Flow Help and FAQ


That’s all. Leave in comments your pflow tips.

  1. I picked up a few gems and bookmarked the page for a few more once I understand what you’re talking about. Thanks!

  2. Try to use Houdini or Softimage ICE and you will NEVE look at ParticleFlow again. thanks :]

  3. nice tips… Maybe something that beginners don’t know. If you want to stop particles, use a speed with 0 Speed, or download the pflow freebies. There is a stop operator in.

  4. nice of you to share those! Right now the one I’m thinking about is really simple but it can be quite annoying if you don’t now the tip : if you want to move your particles from one layer to another you would have to select the pflow emitter WITH influences (as show above for the merging tip). If you don’t you will just move the icon of the emitter to another layer and the particles will stay in the same layer.

    1. Yes, thx for this.
      Also you can use “synchronize layers” from pflow menu. It will move all dummy operators and events objects to pf source layer.

  5. Hello,
    this was really a nice tricks for pf source but while click this page there is thumbnails of the matrix effect you done is 3dsmax pf source that was pretty interesting can you please tell me how to do that would be appreciated very much


  6. hello, i have an animated flying book that i need to use as an instance for PF but it is divided and animated as follows :
    -cover (skin)
    -pages: bend modifier
    The thing is that i need to make multiple animation variations and i think that i have to some how combine and bake all book parts into one single object, but i haven´t been able to find anything to make this happen, is there any other way?

    1. Don’t sure if it will work practically in your state, but you can try XMesher from Thinkbox or even VrayProxy, but you will need to bake multiple animation variations for it.
      Also, grouping objects can help. Shape instance can split to objects or use entire object group.

      1. Thank you for your answer in such short time. I have to run more tests but i think that making a link hierarchy with the pages, the hardcover and a master object to be selected has particle shape and then selecting “object elements” may just work. thanks

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