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SKaiser

The problem(s) with Xparticles

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Sorry if this turns into a bit of a rant. I've been using Xparticles on and off for a few years now. This year I really tried to get deep into to plugin and use it a lot. I must say I have found the experience problematic and wanted to online my findings here in the hope that maybe someone could sympathize and possibly offer some solutions or best practices? What does everyone feel about Xparticles?

 

Personally I find the plugin buggy as hell. I often find a new bug or finding that something doesn't work the way it should each time I use Xparticles. Simulations not reading from cache, simulations not working for some unknown reason only to work fine when I rebuild from scratch. System crashes often, slow particle simulations. On top of this their tech support are slow to respond. Often taking weeks to get back to me. Redshift on the other hand take hours...a few days at the most (before they were bought out by MAXON). This is simply unacceptable when you're working in production and you need a solution fast or the project cannot proceed. 

 

Their forum also sucks! hardly anyone is on it, no questions answered to common problems (and there are many). Apparently you can get a faster response on their discord channel but there are no solutions there either. I have never seen a plugin that has so many issues and no resolutions from the devs such as Xparticles. It's almost a joke and makes me very wary of using it in production.

 

What are your thoughts and experiences?

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I've been using XParticles for a while now, mind you, not in a production environment at all. I've been using it in my freetime to do some abstract artwork and get used to the plugin before I am willing to offer it as a skill to clients.

I think it's a great Plugin, it hasn't crashed on me once and every single time something didn't work and I rebuilt it I noticed that I screwed up some setting. So no, I can't confirm that rebuilding stuff from scratch magically fixes some scenes, but I don't deny it either. I haven't used their tech support either, except once when I bought my license (used) and it didn't show up in my account. I got an answer in less than 4h every time. I think some of XParticles systems are very obscure and badly documented though especially since a lot of functions have been depracated and moved to other parts of the plugin. It's sometimes hard to get a clear answer to very simple questions. Their videotutorials are great though, learned a lot just by watching them.

I haven't used the forum for the sole reason that it seems to be dead so I never bothered even registering so I can't comment on that.

 

All in all though considering that's a plugin and not a dedicated software and the amount of features it delivers it's fine for me. As I said, I haven't really encountered any severe bugs or issues.

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I used to get crashes on the beta release, but not so much on the stable release. The thing is the plug-in (not limited to xParticles) will always crash when there's too much memory. And as you sim crazy scenes, there will be too much memory to handle. That's just a limitation. Same goes for realflow. Although maybe not so much for TFD because it uses GPU? Not quite sure about that. 

Anyhow, I have the same sentiment with their forum. There's little to no intersection. It's as if an afterthought. The discord is active but it cannot be referenced. What happens if you want to go back to a previous issue? Scroll through the messages? God, that's awful. 

The technical support works as expected but I still prefer the forum so it can be reference not only for my sake but for others as well.

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  • Interesting to hear that it's not just me with these issues. I guess I'll have to ride the wave of the crashes. @DasFrodo while I was using Xparticles as a "hobbyist" (i.e. not working on any client projects) I had no issues with it. As soon as I was in a real word scenario, I quickly saw its flaws.

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    1 hour ago, SKaiser said:

    Interesting to hear that it's not just me with these issues. I guess I'll have to ride the wave of the crashes. @DasFrodo while I was using Xparticles as a "hobbyist" (i.e. not working on any client projects) I had no issues with it. As soon as I was in a real word scenario, I quickly saw its flaws.

     

    I live in a C4D bubble so I don't really know... Is there a good replacement for it? I know there's pretty much nothing like it in C4D and I've seen Realflow for a couple of times. Afaik that's mainly for fluid simulations, right?

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    Realfow is mainly for water simulations but can also do rigid/soft body simulation. At least for the main Realflow software. 
    The main flaw of XP's rigid body system is its particle based. It's ridiculously slow. Having a bullet system or any tried and proven system should be more viable. 

    Look at the forum. It's littered with questions with rigid body problems. It works with "non" conventional applications which is the forte of mograph but other than, its a pain. 

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    5 minutes ago, bentraje said:

    Realfow is mainly for water simulations but can also do rigid/soft body simulation. At least for the main Realflow software. 
    The main flaw of XP's rigid body system is its particle based. It's ridiculously slow. Having a bullet system or any tried and proven system should be more viable. 

    Look at the forum. It's littered with questions with rigid body problems. It works with "non" conventional applications which is the forte of mograph but other than, its a pain. 

     

    To be perfectly honest, I didn't buy XP for the rigid body simulations. C4D already does that really well. I bought it for all the rest ("simple" particle simulations, smoke, fire, ...) which C4D can't do or is too hard to do as I despise TP.

    Maybe at some point I might face that problem if I want to mix all the stuff but as of right now it's fine for me. I can see it becoming a problem in a production environment thought.

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    Well, I didn't buy XP for the RBD simulation too and perhaps majority of the people.  The problem is XP doesn't necessarily interact with the C4D RBD system. So for some scenes, you need to use the XP RBD system rather than the native RBD system.

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    6 hours ago, bentraje said:

    I used to get crashes on the beta release, but not so much on the stable release. The thing is the plug-in (not limited to xParticles) will always crash when there's too much memory. And as you sim crazy scenes, there will be too much memory to handle. That's just a limitation. Same goes for realflow. Although maybe not so much for TFD because it uses GPU? Not quite sure about that.

     

    TFD only works on GPU for very simple fluid simulations (depending on the GPU memory of course).

     

    On my GTX or RTX cards (8 GB GPU memory), it's blazing fast for simple fire / smoke simulations but when I add complexity or up-rez, it fails back to CPU. Note that you can only select one of the installed GPUs in TFD for simulation. However the Up-Rez'ing feature allows to art-direct the basic simulation on GPU and than add details for the long CPU calculations.

     

    With added complexity I also sometimes get crashes in TFD.

     

    I didn't experience too many X-Particles crashes but that's because I've only used it for simple particle / smoke / fire / water  simulations so far.

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  • One of the first major issues I had with XP is with their dynamics system, which wasn't working as it should. Yes, you say that C4D native already has dynamics but I figured that as we pay for it with XP and it interacts with the XP system, I'll use the XP dynamics. 

    Simple collisions did not work as they should and whenever I adjusted the values to a state where it should work, the system crashed. In this instance I resorted back to native C4D dynamics and it worked fine. This was when I started to notice the inadequacies of XP. 

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