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RealFlow 2013 Review


By Jahirul Amin

Web: http://www.realflow.com (will open in new window)

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Date Added: 2nd August 2013
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RealFlow 2013 is out now! Expert Jahirul Amin shares his thoughts as a new user on this industry-standard, out-of-the-box, fluid simulation software.

Product: RealFlow 2013

Company: Next Limit

Website: www.realflow.com

Key features: Hybrido Fluid Technology, Caronte body Dynamics, Particle-Based solver

Review score: 5/5

Release date: May 2013

Price: Learning edition: $99.00 US.

Commercial license: from $3,995 US.

Visit www.realflow.com/pricing for more info

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Introduction

As a new user to RealFlow 2013, I first stumbled across the industry-standard, out-of-the-box, fluid simulation tool at its unveiling in London back in May 2013, hosted by Escape Technology with Next Limit Technologies.

Excited by what I saw, I was later given the opportunity to test out the product as a new user. And having had only minor experience with packages like RealFlow beforehand, I must say I am impressed with what I've seen!

The latest release of RealFlow is, as Victor Gonzales says, "a milestone" for RealFlow. 15 years in the making, it's the RealFlow that should have been, making tasks that were previously not possible, possible. This latest version not only adds more to the toolset, but it's also evolved to make the procedure of doing those small-to-large-scale simulations a touch easier for artists all-round.

I'm not going to go into the details about the new features as it's already pretty easy to find that kind of information online. What I want to share with you instead is how I've found using RealFlow as a new user. Was it intuitive? Is it powerful? Can I fit it into my toolkit? And more importantly, beyond this review, would I want to use it again?

To answer all of these questions, I set myself the challenge of completing an image; that image being some paint-like substance being thrown over a head. Sounds simple, right? So how did things pan out?

Before starting the image, I thought it would be wise to get familiar with the interface and the RealFlow 'workflow'. If you are familiar with packages like Maya, then navigating should be a doddle to you; as a Maya user myself the general UI was clear enough for me to start creating some nodes and running tests pretty much straight away.

To be quite frank, I found it very easy to get up and running: I simply created a circle emitter for the particles, added some gravity to pull them down, created a plane for the particles to make contact with, and then hit Simulate. With that done, I already had my first fluid simulation running.

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An initial test to get familiar with the package

Better still: I found that you can stop the simulation at any point, make some changes and hit go again. Rather than having to re-simulate from the start frame, it continues from where you last left off. Simply add a Mesh node to convert the particles to geometry and hit F6 to render.

And yes, you can now, for the first time, view renders in RealFlow through the integration of the Maxwell Renderer! I cannot imagine having to work without this feature, so I'm pretty sure this will make many RealFlow users very happy indeed. Also coming along for the ride, Next Limit has included a variety of shaders, allowing you to apply them to your surfaces to get a clearer idea of what the final output will be.

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Playing with the viscosity to get the desired results


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