Particles can be complex to work with for visual effects. There are numerous engines available, but none make the process as logical and fun as X-Particles (opens in new tab) from Insydium (opens in new tab). The power of the engine is undeniable and it takes advantage of multi-threading, allowing for millions of particles without slowing down your system.
It can be used on individual elements, but really works best when using its own logic. First add a particle system, which has a number of elements pre-attached, then simply add 'questions' to define actions. For example, you can add a question to find the life of a particle, then at a specified time you can change the particle group, or kill the particles, and so on.
X-Particles' clearly laid out workflow makes playing with particles easy, and integration with Cinema 4D is well implemented so adjusting settings feels natural. Fluids have been improved in the latest version. It's not a fluid simulator but it is capable of some impressive fluid results and has a good selection of tools.
This release has many new features and enhancements, including a skinner, new modifiers, wet mapping and a caching system, making X-Particles 2.5 a fully featured particle solution.
Words: Rob Redman (opens in new tab)