29/July/2017: Installer Update

Who should use FumeFX ModernUI?

A VFX-Artist who wants to go earlier to bed

As a creative professional there are a lot of test simulations you have to run in order to get your final sim. Therefore it's benefical to have a tool which can help you in testing the sim with different voxel counts and different versions quickly. Additionally you can run as many container over night as you like and track their progression in one single progressbar.

A Beginner who wants to start with FumeFX

FumeFX is considered to be one of the easier simulation tools. None the less you can achieve great simulations with it and when you start using it all the buttons can be a bit intimidating. FumeFX ModernUI has a nice and simple interface to get you started! Chosse an object in your 3D scene and it will setup a sim for you in its location!

So what can it do?

Initial Simulation Setup
You have a scene without any simulation and want to have a nice simple setup as a starting point? Then hit a button and select afterwards an object in your scene (like in Houdini). FumeFX ModernUI will create an initial setup for you!
Voxel Count Based Simulation Quality
Quickly adjust your simulation quality with precise voxel count control instead of testing grid spacing values. Hover over a radio button to see what voxel count it will set and use a simple slider to multiply the effect.
Managed Folders
With FumeFX ModernUI you can use an already existing sim file, setup a new one or use Managed Folders. A Managed Folder is a folder which either will be extended by the name of the max scene file and an appropiate sim file name or you can use the versioning functionality (up to three versions) which will rename everything accordingly.
Multiple Simulation Mode
Simulate as many container as you like with the Multiple Simulation Mode. Change the simulation quality of all containers at once (Voxel Count Based Simulation Quality) and keep track of the progression in one progressbar.
Preview & Compare
Quickliy preview your current simulation up to the current slider time and compare two simulations in the RAM Player.
Switch File Extension
Quickly switch the file extension to FumeFXs native format to simulate faster or choose Field3D or OpenVDB for final output.
Handy Interface
Clear buttons, clear interface, no tiny litte buttons anymore. And quickly choose your container from a list instead of trying to catch it in your scene behind five objects.
VrayVolumeGrid Connector (v1.2 +)
FumeFX ModernUI VrayVolumeGrid Connector is a drag-and-drop system that simplifies the process of creating VrayVolumeGrids and helps to change the linked simulation files of already existing ones.

I need a manual anyway! Can you explain some of the functionalities?

First of all: The installer will guide you through the installation process.

Installation problems? -> FAQ

Since version 1.01 there is no automatic menu entry anymore so you have to find FumeFX ModernUI after the installation process in the category "Munich Filmworks" and place it onto a button. (Customize -> Customize user interface...) If you are unfamiliar with customizing your UI watch 1-2 min (e. g.) of this video: https://youtu.be/RZl1o9fNHvg?t=1m10s

Welcome Screen

After the successful installation of FumeFX ModernUI you get a welcome screen that informs you about the newest features. It's considered to be a short overview for those who come from a previous version.

1. UI when no FumeFX container was found in your scene...

Rightclick Menu (with configured Managed Folder in Versioning Mode)

Initial FFX (Available Mouse Buttons: L)
When you click on this button it will switch to "Waiting for the user..." and expects you to click on an object in your scene. You then have to confirm the setup of an initial simulation-ready container. Your scene is prepared to immediatly begin with the simulation process.
Folder[...] (Available Mouse Buttons: L,M,R)
Click left on this button and select a specific already existing FumeFX file or type in a new one. Click middle to setup a new Managed Folder which you can then select with your right mouse button - either in Versioning Mode or in Extend Mode (configurable in the menu bar). Into the Default Folder does every simulation go for which no other location has been chosen. (You have to specify a Default Folder the first time you run FumeFX ModernUI and can modify it in the menu bar.)
Extend Mode
Versioning Mode

2. UI when one or more FumeFX containers are existing...

Reload (Available Mouse Buttons: L)
Reloads the FumeFX Containers existing in the scene. You can use this button whenever you have the feeling that some components of FumeFX ModernUI need an update.
Sim (Available Mouse Buttons: L, R)
Click left to simulate in default mode. Click right to continue a simulation [v1.0-v1.1]. Click right to switch between simulation modes (default, wavelet, post, continue) [v1.2].
Preview (Available Mouse Buttons: L, R)
Click left to preview your current simulation in the FIRST slot of two. After completion it will be played in the RAM player. You can then run another simulation with changed parameters and click RIGHT to store the preview in the SECOND slot. The RAM player will popup and you get a comparison between the first an the second slot preview.
Select (Available Mouse Buttons: L)
Selects the FumeFX container that is currently checked in the listbox and opens its floater. Click right to change the current cache type [v1.2 +].
VrayVolumeGrid Connector (Available Mouse Buttons: L) [v1.2 +]
Opens the VrayVolumeGrid Connector window. You can use this button also to refresh the UI elements of VrayVolumeGrid Connector.
Simulation Quality Settings

FumeFX ModernUI calculates the grid spacing needed to achieve a certain voxel count. The default target values are as follows:

  • Very Low: ~ 1 Million Voxels           // Maximum Iterations: 40 // Quality: 3
  • Low: ~ 10 Million Voxels           // Maximum Iterations: 50 // Quality: 4
  • Medium: ~ 30 Million Voxels           // Maximum Iterations: 100 // Quality: 5
  • High: ~ 80 Million Voxels           // Maximum Iterations: 200 // Quality: 7

You can manipulate the target voxel count by expanding the menu (on the left side of the reload button) and by moving the slider. (In version 1.0 - 1.1 you have to click on one of the presets afterwards again.) You can always check the updated target values by hovering over the quality radio buttons which show a tooltip with the target values. Click right on the slider to get it back to its default position.

v1.2 updates: The slider has now instant feedback, therefore you don't have to press a preset afterwards again. Furthermore in v1.2 you can customize not only the voxel count (with the slider) but also set different values for "Maximum Iterations" and "Quality". To do so just change the values in the native FumeFX Floater, afterwards hold CTRL and press one of the presets. It will show a little "+" extending the title of the clicked preset indicating that it got it's new values from the native FumeFX floater. It is a per session change not a permanent change.

Folder (Available Mouse Buttons: L,M,R)
See above (1.)
Delete (Available Mouse Buttons: L)
Deletes the sim files associated with the current FumeFX container.
FXD (Available Mouse Buttons: L)
Sets the current FumeFX container paths (default, wavelet, post processing) file extension to the .fxd file extension.
F3D/VDB (Available Mouse Buttons: L, R)
Sets the current FumeFX container paths (default, wavelet, post processing) file extension to the name of the button name when you left click. Click right to switch between ".f3d" and ".vdb".

Advice: The icon of the file extension buttons does NOT necessarily indicate the file extension of the current container. It indicates the last used button. So make sure to press the button before an important simulation that you need in a certain file format.

3. UI when you are simulating in Multi Sim Mode...

  • You reach the Multi Sim Mode by choosing "(De-) Activate Multiple Container Simulation" in the menu bar entry "Sim Settings".
  • The simulation quality settings can be used to adjust the simulation quality of each container checked in the listbox.
  • The progressbar indicates the simulation progress of all containers together.
  • Only the cancel button of FumeFX ModernUI is able to cancel the simulation for multiple containers. Therefore you should use this button instead of the FumeFX native one.

VrayVolumeGrid Connector (v1.2 +)

FumeFX ModernUI VrayVolumeGrid Connector is a drag-and-drop system that simplifies the process of creating VrayVolumeGrids and helps to change the linked simulation files of already existing VrayVolumeGrids.
  • If you have Vray installed the respective button will show up in the UI of FumeFX ModernUI.
  • VrayVolumeGrid Connector is divided into two parts. On the left are the elements you can drag, on the right are the elements that are able to receive the draged components. So the basic principle is: drag from left to right.
  • The elements on the left represent the paths of your FumeFX grids (Default, Wavelet, Post). A group of three elements (with identical colors) represents one FumeFX container.
  • Elements (paths) that are valid for a drag-and-drop operation are marked with a green arrow. A path is valid if there are simulation files in the respective folder and the files have the .f3d or .vdb extension. So make sure you simulate at least a few sim files before using VrayVolumeGrid Connector.
  • On the right are all your VrayVolumeGrids and an additional drop target to create a new one. You have two options: Either drag a FumeFX path from the left to an alredy existing VrayVolumeGrid to change its linked simulation files or drag it to the element "Drop here to create a new VrayVolumeGrid" to create a new one that is placed and orientated correclty.

Who wrote the tool and what are the requirements?

About

My name is Delano Osterbrauck, I'm a VFX-hobbyist located in Munich (Germany) and interested in creating VFX and VFX tool developement. Because I'm doing a lot in the field of simulation and dynamics I developed a script for handling FumeFX with VrayVolumeGrid. Although there is no implementation of the Vray part of the original script I decided to make the FumeFX functionalities of my script available to the public in a fresh tool called FumeFX ModernUI.

If you want to contact me personally (not for bugs) use this e-mail-adress: delano@munich-filmworks.com

Requirements

This section is based on tests on three different computers, feedback from users and feedback from Sitni Sati with regard to 3ds Max 2017.

  • Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 are supported. Make sure to enable notifications of apps (Windows 10).
  • 3ds Max 2015, 3ds Max 2016 and 3ds Max 2017 are supported. 3ds Max 2013 and 2014 should also be okay (not tested) and are detected by the installer.
  • FumeFX 3.5.5 and FumeFX 4 are supported. Prior versions are not tested.
  • Your .NET assemblies should be up to date. The installer of version 1.2 checks for the necessary .NET version.

 

Windows and 3ds Max Compatibility (with FumeFX ModernUI v1.2)

  3ds Max 2013/2014 3ds Max 2015 3ds Max 2016 3ds Max 2017 3ds Max 2018
Windows 7 (Not tested)
Windows 8 (Not tested)
Windows 10 (Not tested)

Known Issues

  • If you are using display scaling in Windows (125 %, 150 % etc.) the UI sometimes gets broken. You need to  close and reopen FumeFX ModernUI.

What else is to say?

  • I'm doing this stuff in my spare time, so there is no time to fix every error on every system, you get this tool "as is". Nonetheless you can report errors to bugs@modernui.munich-filmworks.com and i might consider it in an updated version.
  • I want to thank Allan McKay from whom i have learned a great deal, Paul Neale from Pen Productions for sharing his knowledge about using .NET in Maxscript.
  • I also want to thank my friend Wolfgang Wiedmeyer from Munich Filmworks for helping me with the final release of the tool.

Creative Commons License Content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where indicated otherwise.

Credits

  • Thanks to Romain Guy for the header image called "Plumes" which you can find here under the CC license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).
  • Fire icon made by Icomoon from www.flaticon.com
  • All other icons used in the tool itself (except the Munich Filmworks Logo) made by Maxim Basinski & MadebyOliver from www.flaticon.com

Privacy

Every time you start FumeFX ModernUI it downloads the newest "MUIupdateFile.ini" from "https://www.modernui-munich-filmworks.com". You can find it in "...<current user>/FFX_MUI/MUIupdateFile.ini". It's a small text file which contains the newest version number, newest help, about & download website links as well as an info text which pops up in the UI in case i have to inform you about a problem or bug etc.
Since v1.1 FumeFX ModernUI additionally downloads the newest version if you click "YES" in the respective window.
Since v1.2 the installer of FumeFX ModernUI calls a little PHP script that counts the installation attempts and completed installations.