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View Full Version : Particle Illusions R.I.P. - Now what do I do...?



Paul_Boland
04-17-2017, 06:40 AM
Hi Folks.

Are any of you familiar with Particle Illusions? I first learned of it when I bought the Inside Lightwave 8 book many years back and Dan had placed a bit about Particle Illusions on the cover disc. It blew me away and I saved up and bought it. Ever since then, it has been a core tool in my particle special effects for all my CGI work.

Earlier this year I learned that the software was abandoned. The company behind it, WonderTouch, now owned by Genarts, had walked away from it. Since the software requires online activation, there was a lot of concern over how much longer people who own it could activate and use it. And also, the software was performing sluggishly on modern tech, it needed an update very badly!

Yesterday morning I used Particle Illusions in an animation for my game, Dungeoneer, and it went well.

Then the Windows 10 Creators Update arrived which took forever to install!

And then that evening I opened up Particle Illusions again to work on another animation. But to my horror, there was a problem...

It seems the Windows 10 Creators Update doesn't like Particle Illusions. The workspace now has a massive red X going across it which I'm sorry to say, renders out with the animations. I have tried both OpenGL and software rendering modes but both have this X. It would seem that the display properties in Windows 10 have changed to the point where the old displays in Particle Illusions don't work. This happened to me before, years ago, when Poser 8's library controls stopped working when Windows did an update and I was forced to upgrade Poser to get it working again. Unfortunately I can't update Particle Illusions as the company behind it doesn't exist any more.

This is a major blow for my creativity. I used this software for explosions, weather, technical effects, magic spells, fire, water, star fields, etc., etc., etc.... Now I'm not sure what to do...

I know Lightwave has particles and I'm guessing this is where I'm going to have to go now. I have messed around with Lightwave's particles before but not in great detail.

I have considered setting up a dual boot on my computer and putting Windows 7 on a small partition just to run Particle Illusions, but I'm not really for this because with the software not getting support any more, it's only a matter of time before even graphics card display drivers update to a point where the software won't work. Plus, how much longer before the online activation is pulled and the software is completely dead. So while I love Particle Illusions, I can't really be resting on dead software forever. No, it's time to move on...

...But move on to where...? As I said, I can start to learn Lightwave's particles and I can see advantages in that because those particles would be in my Lightwave 3D-space scenes, Particle Illusions were 2D overlays. But I was wondering if anyone out there knew of any alternatives to Particle Illusions that are worth considering? Any thoughts and feedback appreciated...

prometheus
04-17-2017, 07:16 AM
Yep..it had some nice fast effects indeed, sorry if it was abonded, but they never seemed to produce any updates really, so no wonder if they buried themself, I know there was a version for after effect as well, though with fusion and after effects own particle tools..it may have been futile.

There was also a plugin to allow for a lightwave object to have itīs vertices scanned and used for importing tracking data to particle illusion.

It did produce some nice effects in Constantine.

- - - Updated - - -

Yep..it had some nice fast effects indeed, sorry if it was abonded, but they never seemed to produce any updates really, so no wonder if they buried themself, I know there was a version for after effect as well, though with fusion and after effects own particle tools..it may have been futile.

There was also a plugin to allow for a lightwave object to have itīs vertices scanned and used for importing tracking data to particle illusion.

It did produce some nice effects in Constantine.
It had a fast sprite clip engine with options that seems more advanced with rotation and birth controls and much faster than what you could pull off with hv sprites.

Markc
04-17-2017, 07:48 AM
Surely if they are no longer supporting it, they should make the code open source, so it could be independantly modified, by someone who knows how.
Whether it would still work on modern OS's though is another thing, it's a bit like the Worley stuff, which I lost the use of many years back.

I don't know how much you paid for it, but that's irrelevant really.

Did you have this working on the latest LW.

04-17-2017, 07:52 AM
It's a standalone app and only makes pics for use in LW.

Bummer to hear this. Always thought this would be available to me; keep installing it on newer machines I get. Haven't used it in forever.

That guy made a bundle, I hope. He had an awesome piece of software that was before its time.

Markc
04-17-2017, 08:13 AM
Ah didn't realise, I thought it was a plugin :foreheads

ianr
04-17-2017, 08:47 AM
Paul,
I had that to but they never made the jump into 2.5 D big time soooo

Don,t worry Paul some stuff you can do with the Free Version of BMD Fusion

.
And in a 2.5 D enviromentt for pin point placing. Lots of particle FXs fireworks

etc on how to do on Youtu e for you to copy to get started Apart from that you

get a new skill set to a great program liberty3d.com have tutorials for passes

& Lightwwave for later. Go for it!

prometheus
04-17-2017, 08:52 AM
unless you have after effects particular, then I would suggest take a look at the free fusion and itīs particle engine.
Video copilot had some very nice stuff showcasing particle animations mapped to one of after effects particle system, so they could instance the animation with these pre-rendered clips attahed to a sun object and the rotation of the clips aligned along the normal or center for that special solar flare effect ..now that is something I d onīt think is possible with lightwaves particle system to get hv clips to rotate aligned in the same way.
4:43 in the clip...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYzGhNkNBWs

raymondtrace
04-17-2017, 09:04 AM
It is possible that you just have a display driver update issue. Keep an eye on your manufacturer's driver updates in the next few weeks as they respond to reports from the Win10 update.

I use a free/lite version of PI that came on a magazine cover CD so I can't speak to the activation/licensing going forward, however... I can run my lite version as a portable app (USB thumb drive) and it even works in Linux with Wine.

136566

I forgot I still had this app until you mentioned it. You should really peek at apps like Fusion.

MichaelT
04-17-2017, 09:34 AM
Hi Folks.

Are any of you familiar with Particle Illusions? I first learned of it when I bought the Inside Lightwave 8 book many years back and Dan had placed a bit about Particle Illusions on the cover disc. It blew me away and I saved up and bought it. Ever since then, it has been a core tool in my particle special effects for all my CGI work.

Earlier this year I learned that the software was abandoned. The company behind it, WonderTouch, now owned by Genarts, had walked away from it. Since the software requires online activation, there was a lot of concern over how much longer people who own it could activate and use it. And also, the software was performing sluggishly on modern tech, it needed an update very badly!

Yesterday morning I used Particle Illusions in an animation for my game, Dungeoneer, and it went well.

Then the Windows 10 Creators Update arrived which took forever to install!

And then that evening I opened up Particle Illusions again to work on another animation. But to my horror, there was a problem...

It seems the Windows 10 Creators Update doesn't like Particle Illusions. The workspace now has a massive red X going across it which I'm sorry to say, renders out with the animations. I have tried both OpenGL and software rendering modes but both have this X. It would seem that the display properties in Windows 10 have changed to the point where the old displays in Particle Illusions don't work. This happened to me before, years ago, when Poser 8's library controls stopped working when Windows did an update and I was forced to upgrade Poser to get it working again. Unfortunately I can't update Particle Illusions as the company behind it doesn't exist any more.

This is a major blow for my creativity. I used this software for explosions, weather, technical effects, magic spells, fire, water, star fields, etc., etc., etc.... Now I'm not sure what to do...

I know Lightwave has particles and I'm guessing this is where I'm going to have to go now. I have messed around with Lightwave's particles before but not in great detail.

I have considered setting up a dual boot on my computer and putting Windows 7 on a small partition just to run Particle Illusions, but I'm not really for this because with the software not getting support any more, it's only a matter of time before even graphics card display drivers update to a point where the software won't work. Plus, how much longer before the online activation is pulled and the software is completely dead. So while I love Particle Illusions, I can't really be resting on dead software forever. No, it's time to move on...

...But move on to where...? As I said, I can start to learn Lightwave's particles and I can see advantages in that because those particles would be in my Lightwave 3D-space scenes, Particle Illusions were 2D overlays. But I was wondering if anyone out there knew of any alternatives to Particle Illusions that are worth considering? Any thoughts and feedback appreciated...

Ahh,, the classic WinForms X of doom.. How annoying... But have you tried using compatibility mode? Like running it as a Windows 7 application?

Greenlaw
04-17-2017, 10:13 AM
Sad to hear that. I haven't use Particle Illusion for many years but I used to rely on it heavily, especially back when I was starting out. It was a lot of fun to play with too.

These days, for similar fx, I mostly rely on Trapecode Particular in AE. It's a little more work to set up but I can get much more convincing results from it, especially for water and fire fx. Plus, it works in 3D, so I can attach the emitters to animated nulls imported from Lightwave or tracked with Syntheyes.

prometheus
04-17-2017, 10:30 AM
Sad to hear that. I haven't use Particle Illusion for many years but I used to rely on it heavily, especially back when I was starting out. It was a lot of fun to play with too.

These days, for similar fx, I mostly rely on Trapecode Particular in AE. It's a little more work to set up but I can get much more convincing results from it, especially for water and fire fx. Plus, it works in 3D, so I can attach the emitters to animated nulls imported from Lightwave or tracked with Syntheyes.

there is an old motion exporter that you can use for tracking lw nulls in lightwave and export to particle illusion..
http://www.wondertouch.com/downloads_other.asp
Direct..
http://www.wondertouch.com/downloads/IX_LW75.zip

machbeowulf
04-17-2017, 12:35 PM
Paul - I have had to deal with exact same today - Windows 10 Creator update borks the licensing somehow - If you do the 'Help' -> 'About' in PI, I expect you will find that you are running in Trial mode which is what the red X indicates. There is a Install License utility in the Wondertouch folder - I tried to simply reinstall the license - it did not resolve the red x issue.

Solution I found was to uninstall PI via control panel ensuring that you select 'register this uninstall online'. Make sure you have the latest version of PI (3.09) from GenArts. If you don't have and need the link please pm me. Then reinstall and choose enter license and register online and you should be good as gold again. Hope this helps ... and also, my experiences with GenArts support has been very good in the past with licensing issues. (There is a new GenArts licensing system in the 3.09 release that replaces the particle illusion license system). They are still selling and promoting PI3 - just not providing new emitters. There is a blank available for creating new emitters which is something I have not done .. but would be loads of fun I do believe.

JamesCurtis
04-17-2017, 01:11 PM
I'm running Windows 8.1 and have no real issues. The only thing I have encountered is that I need to select one of the preset window resolutions in the PI 3.09 application to get the particle window to display properly.

Paul_Boland
04-17-2017, 02:09 PM
Paul - I have had to deal with exact same today - Windows 10 Creator update borks the licensing somehow - If you do the 'Help' -> 'About' in PI, I expect you will find that you are running in Trial mode which is what the red X indicates. There is a Install License utility in the Wondertouch folder - I tried to simply reinstall the license - it did not resolve the red x issue.

Solution I found was to uninstall PI via control panel ensuring that you select 'register this uninstall online'. Make sure you have the latest version of PI (3.09) from GenArts. If you don't have and need the link please pm me. Then reinstall and choose enter license and register online and you should be good as gold again. Hope this helps ... and also, my experiences with GenArts support has been very good in the past with licensing issues. (There is a new GenArts licensing system in the 3.09 release that replaces the particle illusion license system). They are still selling and promoting PI3 - just not providing new emitters. There is a blank available for creating new emitters which is something I have not done .. but would be loads of fun I do believe.

Machbeowulf, you're a life saved! This fixed it!! The red X is gone and the software is working again. THANK YOU for this bit of info about uninstalling and reinstalling, it worked! Very much appreciated!!

To everyone else, I really appreciate all the feedback on this and the suggestions too. I'll definitely be looking at some of the new packages and ideas posted above because while I'm delighted to have Particle Illusions back up and running, I'm wondering for how long... Perhaps this is the push I need to start exploring other options that are out there.

Thanks to all, really appreciate the huge feedback and the help.

MichaelT
04-17-2017, 03:16 PM
:) .. still amazed to see a red 'x' looking similar to the WinForms error. They sure could have chosen a better licensing error notice.

Greenlaw
04-17-2017, 03:26 PM
Paul - I have had to deal with exact same today - Windows 10 Creator update borks the licensing somehow...
Come to think of it, I found my BNR license stopped working this weekend. After discussing my situation with the developer, he suggested I run BNR 'as Administrator'. After enabling the option in the app properties, I was back in business. Apparently, Win 10 was preventing the program from writing to certain configs. It was fine the last time I used BNR though, and I already had Win 10 installed at the time.

I can't say exactly when the license stopped working because it's been a while since I last ran BNR, but now I suspect the Creator update may have caused this.

ernpchan
04-17-2017, 04:22 PM
Unfortunately I can't update Particle Illusions as the company behind it doesn't exist any more.


This information is based on what? Wondertouch was acquired by GenArts which was acquired by BorisFX. There are still purchase links for PI.

Paul_Boland
04-17-2017, 05:53 PM
This information is based on what? Wondertouch was acquired by GenArts which was acquired by BorisFX. There are still purchase links for PI.

If you check out their Creative Cow forums, the creator, Alan, has said he has nothing more to do with the software and it's being left at its current state. There are people there asking for updates and release of a patch to remove the online activation so the software won't be lost in the future, but all requests are gone unanswered. I am aware of the company changing hands (I didn't know about BorisFX), but the software hasn't been updated in years.

- - - Updated - - -


:) .. still amazed to see a red 'x' looking similar to the WinForms error. They sure could have chosen a better licensing error notice.

Yes, agreed. Perhaps a big logo or message in the centre of the screen would be better. I really think is an OS compatibility issue when I saw the red X.

Shawn Farrell
04-18-2017, 05:51 PM
also hitfilm might be the next gen solutution for you...

Snosrap
04-19-2017, 06:31 AM
also hitfilm might be the next gen solutution for you...

Yep - and the particles are 3D. Particle Illusion was created by the same guys that made Imagine3D - that died years ago - and then they got into selling RC cars of all things.

04-19-2017, 07:58 AM
Really... that's what the Halvorson boys are doing now?

That gets a big guffaw!

I know why, too: there's money in that!

Snosrap
04-19-2017, 11:12 AM
I doubt they are still into that now. RC cars were somewhat of a fad in the mid to late nineties. As I recall they had some kind of exclusive import license on the really small versions not the 8th, 10th, 12th scale variety that are still popular in some circles.

Paul_Boland
04-21-2017, 06:35 PM
also hitfilm might be the next gen solutution for you...

Thanks for this. Looks great!! Appreciated.

Snosrap
04-21-2017, 07:43 PM
Thanks for this. Looks great!! Appreciated.

Yes - Hitfilm is awesome - and easy to learn.

machbeowulf
04-23-2018, 08:17 AM
Paul - thinking this may be of interest to you -

https://borisfx.com/press-releases/boris-fx-adds-alan-lorence-to-the-team--brings-back-famed-particle-illusion-system/

JamesCurtis
04-23-2018, 09:16 AM
We'll see. Not sure if it'll be a standalone though. I'm an owner of the full version of PI, bit in any case, I doubt that there will be any kind of discount for original owners. But we'll have to wait and see what happens after NAB, which was a week ago.

Paul_Boland
04-23-2018, 10:18 AM
Paul - thinking this may be of interest to you -

https://borisfx.com/press-releases/boris-fx-adds-alan-lorence-to-the-team--brings-back-famed-particle-illusion-system/

Oh my God, this is truly amazing news!! I struggle to keep the old version still running as I don't want to lose this from my creative toolkit. I agree with James, let's see how it shapes up and what type of release it gets, but I am truly thrilled to bits by this news! Thanks!!

machbeowulf
04-23-2018, 10:41 AM
Not sure if it'll be a standalone though..

Good point - I hadn't thought about that .. I own the full app as well and really don't expect a discount - hopefully their pricing will be sane and in line with what the original release cost.

machbeowulf
04-23-2018, 12:40 PM
You're very welcome, Paul ! Fingers crossed ! :)

KSTAR
01-13-2019, 06:10 PM
I just downloaded the trial its nice to have this back. There is an upgrade discount for Particle Illusion 3 owners its $195 However you can use Toby G's discount code from his YouTube channel Surfaced Studio and get 15% off which brings it down to $165.75 the discount code is surfacedstudio (all one word) I just tried the code and it works

Greenlaw
01-14-2019, 02:46 PM
unless you have after effects particular, then I would suggest take a look at the free fusion and itīs particle engine.

I agree, Fusion Particles is fantastic! I've used it for smoke, blood, fire, oil, water...with the right setup the motions can look very credible. (My slo-mo chainsaw and buzzsaw animations from Sharknado 2 (https://vimeo.com/209695539), for example, used Fusion Particles for the blood spray.)

Trapcode Particular is great too but it's a bit expensive. (Worth it though. If you can afford to get only one big plugin for AE, this one is it.)

I like Particular a lot and use it at work all the time, but Fusion Particles has a number of advantages for simulating dynamics. Plus, it's free to use in non-commercial projects. (Actually, you can buy a full commercial license of Fusion Studio for a hundred dollars less than the cost of Particular.)

Greenlaw
01-15-2019, 12:07 PM
I forgot to mention that the very latest version of TC Particular adds fluid dynamics. Previously, I had to fake this type of motion using turbulence settings, but the new feature is easier and looks more credible. (FYI, I've always had to fake fluid particle motions in Fusion too but it was easier to do there.)

JamesCurtis
01-16-2019, 12:00 AM
I just downloaded the trial its nice to have this back. There is an upgrade discount for Particle Illusion 3 owners its $195 However you can use Toby G's discount code from his YouTube channel Surfaced Studio and get 15% off which brings it down to $165.75 the discount code is surfacedstudio (all one word) I just tried the code and it works

Hi,

Can you provide a link to this download. I do not have Continuum 2019 and have been waiting for Particle Illusion to be back.

KSTAR
01-16-2019, 01:17 AM
Here you go
https://borisfx.com/products/particle-illusion/