Question about what simulation program to start learning

Alright, I’m looking into picking up a tool to create fluid and explosion simulations. The only program currently installed on my pc with these capabilities is Maya. However, to even create a simple fire effect I seem to have to go through a million steps. Is Maya a program you lot would recommend as a core sim package to use? Or should I look into acquiring Fume FX and Realflow? Iv had a little crack at blenders fluids but they seemed a little basic. I also had no idea how to navigate its viewport :stuck_out_tongue: I should add as a note that I am not very technically minded. Im trying to get better though.

I’m having to do so much catching up on this tools stuff. My last engine I worked in barely had functioning flipbook texture tech. Let alone a full blown node based material editor. This is all very exciting stuff!

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated!
Below is my current progress with Mayas fire sims… It’s safe to say that it’s all flown miles over my head already.

100% biased opinion here, but of all the sim softwares I’ve tried I can’t recommend Houdini warmly enough. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s so incredibly scalable, flexible, and integrates with just about anything. They have an apprentice version that you let’s you explore the entire thing for free.

Within the games industry I don’t think it’s usage is as wide-spread as FumeFX, but hell, if you’re going to learn one package you might as well learn the best one :wink:


Can’t believe it but I’m agreeing with Chris here.

Houdini is a strong candidate for all types of sims so you don’t need 4 different packages. (Hell, I even comp/edit my textures in Houdini at times). However, learning houdini can be daunting. It’s not like other 3d packages since it’s a lot more open. More options means more complexity.

If you are dedicated and sit down and properly learn it, houdini will stay with you for a long time. If you more want a one click make decent button, go with Fume or realflow or any package dedicated to one thing.

Whatever you do, for the love of everything you hold dear: Stop simming with vanilla Maya. Every hour you spend doing it takes a week of your life. Bet you didn’t know that, did you!?


I started with Fume, but have since graduated to Houdini. Still use Fume on occasion, but it would be hard to over sell houdini

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I know Splash has a couple of FumeFX licences for Max so it’ll be well worth putting some extra time in the office to learn that - i tried to get them to pick up Houdini last year but sadly to no avail. There’s definitely a bunch of my old simulation files on the network somewhere (might be on my old projects perforce) if you want some starting points to deconstruct from, but to be honest the best learning is just playing and seeing what happens.

Houdini would be the best imo too but, having personally tried to learn it on a few occasions, it’s really hard to keep the skills fresh without being able to at least occasionally use it at the office too.

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