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Frost Rollout

Options

Icon
Choose whether the Frost icon is displayed in the viewport.
Icon Size
The size of the Frost viewport icon.
Velocity to Map Channel
When enabled, the Velocity will be written to the specified Map channel of the Frost mesh.
Map Channel
Specifies the Map channel to copy the Velocity data into. Default is 2.

Viewport Update

Control when the Frost mesh is rebuilt. Building the mesh can take a while, so you may want to limit how often it is done.

When Frost Changes
When enabled, the mesh will be rebuilt whenever a parameter in a Frost rollout is changed.
When Particles Change
When enabled, the mesh will be rebuilt when an object in the Particle Object list changes.
Force Viewport Update
Rebuild the mesh now.

 

Help Rollout

Open Online Help...
Open the Frost Online Help in the default web browser. Requires internet connection.
Configure License...
Display a License Configuration dialogue, which allows you to add, remove, or change your software license.
Show Log Window
Display the Frost Log Window. This log window lists errors, warnings, and other messages from Frost.

Presets Rollout

The Presets Rollout allows you to manage custom presets of parameter values that can be applied to any other FROST object.

To load a preset and apply its settings to the current FROST object, simply click on a preset name in the Preset List

Controls

Save...
Saves the current FROST object settings to a presets file. A new dialog will open, allowing you to specify which parameters to be saved. By default, all parameters except for the icon size will be highlighted. Use Ctrl+Click and SHIFT+Click or the Add, Invert and Default buttons to highlight the controls you want to save. Enter the name of the preset in the Name field. Press the SAVE PRESET button to save, or CANCEL to exit.
Set Default...
Sets the currently highlighted preset as the default to be loaded when a new FROST object is created.
To disable the default preset loading on new object creation and use the factory defaults instead, highlight the Custom Settings entry, then press Set Default. A prompt will appear asking you to confirm the operation. 
Delete...
Deletes the currently selected preset file from disk.
Explore...
Opens the folder containing the preset files in Windows Explorer. You can use this option to manage preset files, for example copy presets to other computers, email them to friends and so on.
Note: This feature is identical to the Presets system of Krakatoa PRT Loader objects.

 

Particle Objects Rollout

The Particle Objects rollout allows you to choose scene particle sources to mesh using FROST. If you'd like to mesh a particle data file instead, see the Particle Files Rollout.

Controls

Pick
Select a single particle object to add from the viewport. Right-click or click the Pick button again to cancel.
Add...
Launch a dialog box that allows you to select particle objects from the scene by name.
Particle Object List
A list of objects that add particles to this FROST object.
Remove
Remove the selected particle objects from the particle object list.
Options >>
Open a context menu with options to clean up, reorder or sort the Particle Objects list in various ways:
Select Highlighted In the Scene
Selects in the scene the objects that are highlighted in the Particle Objects list.
Remove Deleted Objects
Cleans up the Particle Objects list by removing any entries left from objects that have been deleted from the scene.
Highlight In List
All
Highlights all entried in the Particle Objects list.
Invert
Inverts the highlighted entries in the Particle Objects list.
Similar
Highlights the objects of the same class as the highlighted object.
Move Highlighted
To Top
Moves one or more highlighted objects to the top of the list. The relative order of the moved objects will be preserved.
One Object Up
Moves exactly one highlighted object up one position. The selection will be preserved, allowing multiple clicks to move several positions up. If there are more than one highlighted objects or the top most object is highlighted, this option will be grayed out.
One Object Down
Moves exactly one highlighted object down one position. The selection will be preserved, allowing multiple clicks to move several positions down. If there are more than one highlighted objects or the bottom most object is highlighted, this option will be grayed out.
To Bottom
Moves one or more highlighted objects to the bottom of the list. The relative order of the moved objects will be preserved.
Sort
Ascending Alphabetical Order
Sorts the whole list in Alphabetical order in ascending order, from A to Z and a to z.
Descending Alphabetical Order
Sorts the whole list in Alphabetical order in descending order, from z to a and Z to A.
Scene Creation Order
Sorts the whole list in scene creation order from oldest to newest, reflecting the order of the scene tree. Note that linking and then unlinking a child from its parent will send it to the end of the scene tree.
Object Type
Reorders the current list by object class, e.g. all Boxes in one consecutive block, all Particle Flows in another, all SphereGizmos in their own block and so on.
Reverse Current Order
Flips the current order of the list regardless of how it was achieved. For example, to sort by newest to oldest creation order, one could execute "Sort In Scene Creation Order" and then "Reverse Current Order".

 

Particle Flow Events Rollout

The parameters in this rollout control which Particle Flow Events add particles to FROST.

Note that a Particle Flow object can only contribute particles if it is in the Particle Objects list in the Particle Objects Rollout.

Controls

All Events
When this is selected, FROST will use particles from all Particle Flow events.
Selected Events
When this is selected, FROST will only use particles that are in events listed in the Particle Flow Events list, which is described below.

The following controls are enabled only if you choose Selected Events.

Edit...
Shows the Select Particle Flow Events Dialog, which lets you add or remove events in the Particle Flow Events list.
Remove
Removes the selected events from the Particle Flow Events list.
Options >>
Displays a context menu with the option "Remove Deleted Events". This option can be used to clean up <Deleted> entries from the list belonging to events that have been deleted from Particle View.
Particle Flow Events list
The list of Particle Flow Events that will be included in the FROST mesh.

 

Thinking Particles Groups Rollout

The parameters in this rollout control which cebas thinkingParticles Groups add particles to FROST. This rollout is visible only if you have cebas' thinkingParticles installed.

Note that a thinkingParticles object can only contribute particles if it is in the Particle Objects list in the Particle Objects Rollout.

Controls

All Groups
When this is selected, FROST will use particles from all thinkingPartices groups.
Selected Groups
When this is selected, FROST will only use particles that are in events listed in the Thinking Particles Groups list, which is described below.

The following controls are enabled only if you choose Selected Selected Groups.

Edit...
Shows the Select Thinking Particles Groups dialog, which lets you add or remove events in the thinkingParticles Groups list.
Remove
Removes the selected groups from the thinkingParticles Groups list.
Options >>
Displays a context menu with the option "Remove Deleted Groups". This option can be used to clean up <Deleted> entries from the list belonging to groups that have been deleted from Particle View.
thinkingParticles Groups list
The list of thinkingParticles Groups that will be included in the FROST mesh.

 

Particle Files Rollout

The Particle Files rollout allows you to add particle data files to mesh using FROST.

If you'd like to mesh a scene particle object instead, see the Particle Objects Rollout.

Controls

Add...
Open a Select the Particle File Sequence dialog. To add a particle file sequence, select a file from the sequence, and press Open.
Remove...
Remove the selected files from the File List.
File List
A list of the particle files being used by this FROST object.
Reload Source Sequences
Reload all of the particle files for the current frame.

Timing

Load Single Frame Only
Load the exact particle file name you selected, and do not attempt to load different frames.
Use Playback Graph
Enable the Playback Graph control, which is described below. 
Playback Graph
This animatable parameter controls which file frame number is loaded for each scene frame.

Frame Offset
This offset is added to the scene frame number to calculate the particle file frame number. For example, if you are on frame 1 in the scene, and the Frame Offset is 10, then Frost will load frame number 11 from the file sequences.
Limit To Custom Range
When enabled, FROST will only load frame numbers inside the range given by the First Frame and Last Frame controls.
Range button
Attempt to find a frame range that is present in all of the sequences in the Particle Files list. If a range is found, then the First Frame, Last Frame, and Limit To Custom Range controls will be set. If no common range can be found, then a warning dialog box will appear instead.
First Frame
When Limit To Custom Range is enabled, this is the first frame number that FROST will load.
Last Frame
When Limit To Custom Range is enabled, this is the last frame number that FROST will load.
Before Range Behavior
Control what particles FROST will use for frames before the First Frame. Hold First will load the first frame, while Blank will load no particles.
After Range Behavior
Control what particles FROST will use for frames after the Last Frame. Hold Last will load the last frame, while Blank will load no particles.

File Units

Specify the unit of length in the particle files. Frost will convert this into 3ds Max system units. See File Units Scaling for more information.

 

Material Rollout

Control how the Material IDs are set in the FROST mesh.

The following options are available:

Single Material ID
The entire FROST mesh will have Material ID 1.
ID from MtlIndex Channel
The Material ID will be set from the particles' MtlIndex channel.
ID from Shape Number
(Requires Meshing Mode: Geometry) Each object in the Custom Geometry list will get its own Material ID in the FROST mesh. For example, the first object in the Custom Geometry list will get Material ID 1, the second object in the list will get Material ID 2, etc.
ID from Geometry
(Requires Meshing Mode: Geometry) The FROST mesh will keep the same Material IDs as the objects in the Custom Geometry list.
Material from Geometry
(Requires Meshing Mode: Geometry) The FROST mesh will use the same materials as the Custom Geometry objects. Press the Create Material button to build the material and apply it to the FROST object.

 

Meshing Rollout

Meshing Mode drop-down list
This drop-down controls the particle meshing mode. See Meshing Modes for more information.
Enable in Render
Enable mesh creation during rendering. When disabled, FROST will produce an empty mesh at render time.

Viewport

Enable in Viewport
Enable the Frost mesh in the viewport. When disabled, Frost will produce an empty mesh in the viewport.
Use Render Particles
Some particle sources generate different particles in the viewport and render. When enabled, Frost will use the render particles to create the viewport mesh.
Load Mode drop-down list
This list provides the following options:
Mesh First N Particles
Load particles from the beginning of each particle source until the desired count is reached. If the particles are ordered (for example saved from geometry primitives, or emitted over time), this mode will show only a small region that is unrepresentative of the overall shape of the particle cloud, but since loading just a portion of the file is much faster than reading the whole file, it was made the default setting. If the particles in the cloud are completely random (unordered), the result of this mode will look like the result of Mesh Every Nth Particle but without the speed hit.
Mesh Every Nth Particle
Balance loading through the files, skipping particles to reach the final count. If the particles are ordered (for example saved from geometry primitives, or emitted over time), this mode will display a lower particle count that would still represent the overall shape of the particle cloud correctly. On the negative side, this mode requires each particle object on the current frame to be opened and read from start to end, making this mode the slower one.
Mesh Every Nth by ID
Balance loading through the files, skipping particles based on their ID channel (if present) to reach the final count. If every particle has a unique ID, the same particles will be loaded even if other particles are born or die, resulting in a stable flicker-free particle cloud over time. This method has the same speed drawback as Mesh Every Nth Particle.

Particle %
Define the percentage of particles (either first N or every Nth) to be meshed as fraction of the total particle count.

Particle Size

Radius
A default radius that is used for all particles.
Use Radius Channel
When enabled, particles will get their radius from their own radius information. Particles that do not have radius information will use the value in the Radius control instead.
Randomize Radius by ID
Create variation in the size of particles. This only affects particles that get their radius from the Radius control. The Variation control, below, controls how much variation is used.
Variation %
When Randomize Radius by ID is enabled, this is the fraction of the Radius control value that will vary randomly. The Maximum Radius is given by the Radius control, and the minimum radius is (1 - Variation/100.0) * (Maximum Radius).
Seed
A random seed that is combined with the particle ID to produce random variation.
Change Scale with Age
Preset options for changing the size of particles over their lifespan. These options set the value of the animated Scale and Synch by controls, below.
Scale
The Radius and Radius Channel are multiplied by the Scale to get the particle radius. The Scale can be animated according to the particle age by using the Synch by control, below.
Synch by
Choose how the Scale is animated. This list provides the following options:
Time
The Scale is animated using the scene time.
Age
The Scale is animated using the Age channel of the particles.
Life %
The Scale is animated using the lifespan percentage of the particles. The Life % is 0 at a particle's birth, and is 100 at its death. This is calculated as 100 * Age / LifeSpan.

Radius Channel Status Indicator
Indicate whether a Radius channel is available.
ID Channel Status Indicator
Indicate whether the ID channel is available.

See Controlling the Particle Size for more information.

Motion Blur Mode

Control how the mesh is created for subframes between integer frame numbers. The options are:

Frame Velocity Offset
A mesh is created for each integer frame. For subframes, the whole frame mesh is offset using the particle velocity. This keeps the mesh topology consistent within the half-frame before and after each frame, which is necessary for some types of motion blur.
Subframe Particle Position
A mesh is created for each subframe. This is useful for multi-pass motion blur rendering where topology changes do not matter.

See Motion Blur Modes for more information.

 

Meshing Quality Rollout

This rollout is visible only if you choose Union of Spheres, Metaballs, Zhu/Bridson, or Anisotropic in the Meshing Rollout.

Resolution

The Union of Spheres, Metaballs, Zhu/Bridson and Anisotropic meshing modes work by sampling a density field. The resolution controls let you adjust how many samples are taken from the density field. A greater number of samples may capture finer details, but will also take more time and the resulting mesh will require more memory.

There are two different types of controls for adjusting the resolution: Relative to Max Radius and Absolute Spacing. The arrow buttons between the control types let you convert your settings from one type to the other.

Relative to Max Radius

Control the number of samples taken along the length of the radius of the largest particle. A higher number produces a mesh with more and longer faces, which takes longer to build.

Because this resolution is relative to the particle size, it lets you keep a similar mesh quality as you adjust the radius for your scene.

Absolute Spacing

Control the distance between samples, measured in world units. A lower number produces a mesh with more and longer faces, which takes longer to build.

Because this resolution is independent of the particle size, it is useful for keeping the mesh look consistent when particles have different animated radii.

The arrow buttons between the Relative and Absolute controls can be used to convert the settings from Relative to Absolute and back. For example, if you have set up a good Relative resolution according to the current radius values and want to "freeze" this resolution for the whole animation regardless of changing radii, you can press the down arrow button to produce the needed Absolute settings.

Vertex Refinement

Control the number of iterations used to move the mesh closer to the exact surface. A higher number produces a mesh that is a better fit for the surface, but takes longer to build.

Use Viewport Settings

Use the same settings for rendering as you see in the viewport.

 

Metaballs Rollout

This rollout is visible only if you select Metaballs in the Meshing Rollout.

Radius Scale
A particle will affect space up to a distance of (radius * Radius Scale) away from the particle. This distance is the particle's effect radius.
Surface Level
A particle adds density in the space surrounding the particle. This density is greatest at the particle's center, and decreases to zero at the particle's effect radius. The mesh will be created where the combined density from all particles equals this Surface Level. Increasing the Surface Level will move the mesh closer to the particles, while decreasing it will move the mesh farther away.

 

Zhu/Bridson Rollout

This rollout is visible only if you select Zhu/Bridson in the Meshing Rollout.

Blend Radius
Zhu/Bridson meshing blends the surface between nearby particles. The blending distance is determined by (maximum particle radius * Blend Radius).
Low Density Trimming
Each particle contributes a density that is highest at its center, and that decreases to zero away from the particle. When Low Density Trimming is enabled, the mesh volume is removed from low-density regions.
Threshold
Regions under this density will be affected by low density trimming.
Strength
The strength of the low density trimming effect.

This meshing method is based on the method described in:

Yongning Zhu and Robert Bridson. "Animating Sand as a Fluid". ACM Transactions on Graphics, vol 24, number 3, pp 965-972, July 2005.

 

Anisotropic Rollout

This rollout is visible only if you select Anisotropic in the Meshing Rollout.

Radius Scale
Multiply the radius of the particles. This also scales the size of the neighborhood that is used to stretch the particles and smooth their positions.
Surface Level
A particle adds density in the space surrounding the particle. This density is greatest at the particle's center, and decreases to zero farther away from the particle. The mesh will be created where the combined density from all particles equals this Surface Level. Increasing the Surface Level will move the mesh closer to the particles, while decreasing it will move the mesh farther away.
Max. Stretch
Particles are stretched to fit the shape of the nearby surface. The Max Stretch is the greatest multiplicative difference allowed between the stretch in different directions. Max Stretch 1 corresponds to a sphere with no stretching, while higher values allow stretched ellipsoids.
Min Neighbors for Stretching
The number of particles required near a particle to allow stretching. With less than this number of neighboring particles, the particle will be shaped as a sphere.
Position Smoothing
Particles are moved toward their neighbors to smooth out lumps the mesh surface. Position Smoothing controls the strength of this smoothing effect. 0 means no smoothing, while 1 applies the full smoothing effect.

This meshing method is based on:

Jihun Yu and Greg Turk. "Reconstructing Surfaces of Particle-Based Fluids Using Anisotropic Kernels". ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Computer Animation (2010).

 

Particle Geometry Rollout

This rollout is visible only if you select Geometry in the Meshing Rollout.

Custom Geometry

Pick
Pick a scene object in the viewport to add to the Custom Geometry List. You can cancel by right-clicking or by pressing the Pick button again.
Add
Show a dialog box of objects that you can choose to add to the Custom Geometry list.
Remove
Remove the selected items from the Custom Geometry list.
Custom Geometry List
A list of objects that are used to represent particles.
Custom Geometry Selection Mode
Choose how a Custom Geometry list entry is selected for each particle.
Cycle Shapes
The first particle gets the first Custom Geometry list entry, the second particle gets the second Custom Geometry list entry, and so forth.
Random Shape by ID
A particle's ID is combined with the Seed to choose a random shape from the list.
Use ShapeIndex channel
An integer channel named ShapeIndex is used choose a list entry for each particle. The first entry in the list has ShapeIndex 1. Out of range values are wrapped around.
Seed
Change the random seed that is combined with the particle ID to choose a shape for each particle in Random Shape by ID mode.

Animation Timing

Animation Timing Base Mode
Control what time the geometry is sampled at:
Use Time 0
The geometry's mesh will be taken from time 0.
Use Current Time
The geometry's mesh will be taken from the current frame time.

Animation Timing Offset Mode
This is combined with the Animation Timing Base Mode to control what time the geometry is sampled at:
No Time Offset
Sample the geometry at the base time.
Random Offset By ID
Choose a random time offset based on the particle ID and the Seed.
Add GeomTime Channel
The GeomTime channel is added to the base time. The GeomTime unit is frames.

Max Offset
The maximum time offset to use when Random Offset By ID is selected. This is measured in frames.
Seed
A particle's ID is combined with this seed value to choose a random time offset for Random Offset by ID.

Orientation

Orientation Mode
This drop-down controls how the particles are oriented:
Look At Target Object
 The particles will be oriented so their Z axis faces the object selected in the Target Object pickbutton, which is found below.
Match Target Object
The particles will use the same orientation as the object selected in the Target Object pickbutton, which is found below.
Use Orientation channel
A float[4] channel named "Orientation" will control the particle orientation.
Use Vector channel
A float[3] channel specified in the Vector Channel drop-down list, below, will control the orientation.
Specify Orientation
The particles will be oriented according to the X, Y, Z controls that are found below.

Target Object pickbutton
Target Object for the Look At Target Object and Match Target Object orientation modes.
Vector Channel
The float[3] channel that will be used when Use Vector Channel mode is selected. The Refresh button will rebuild the list of channels available at the current time.
X, Y, and Z
Specify the particle orientation when Specify Orientation mode is selected. X, Y, and Z are the rotations around the respective axes, measured in degrees.
The Get From Node button will set these from the orientation of a scene object. You can cancel by right-clicking or by pressing Get From Node again.
Divergence
Variation in the particle orientation. This is the maximum variation, measured in degrees.
Restrict Diverg. To Axis
When enabled, the divergence will be limited to a rotation around the axis specified by the X, Y, and Z controls below. 
Divergence Axis Space 
World The divergence axis is in world space (after the orientation is applied). 
Local The divergence axis is in local space (before the orientation is applied).
X, Y, and Z
Specify the divergence axis.
Get From Node Z Axis
Set X, Y, and Z from the Z axis of a scene object. You can cancel by right-clicking or pressing Get From Node Z Axis again.