Creating diverse and realistic simulations like smoke, clouds, dust, explosions, fire, and water is crucial for adding credibility to certain 3D scenes. This step is both artistic and highly technical, often requiring significant computational power.

A Long History

My first FX work dates back quite a while. At that time, they required extensive computational time. Simulations were set up during the day and calculations ran overnight, leaving little room for error to meet deadlines. Despite this, it was always exciting to see the results each morning. Below is one of my earliest simulations for my first short film (2011).

Motion graphics

My first commissioned FX were for the Geneva-based studio Le-Truc and their client Nespresso. Almost every month, we created a small commercial for their coffee capsules, each with its set of FX. Most were done directly in 3ds Max using Particle Flow, a simple and efficient solution for creating numerous effects relatively quickly.

The Coffee Drop

For a new coffee drop effect for Nespresso, Particle Flow wasn’t sufficient. I needed RealFlow to achieve a realistic simulation and mesh the drop. This was more complex than it seemed, requiring multiple versions to find the right shape that pleased the client.


At Le-Truc, I also worked on several mapping projects, each with its own set of FX. For example, particles dispersing to form shapes like a bird, panda, tic-tac-toe game, or tiger, all created with Particle Flow and some scripts.

For a mapping project for Audemars Piguet, I had to create “mystical” smoke simulations. Particle Flow wasn’t suitable, so I used PhoenixFD for these effects.

LeBron James – Audemars Piguet

For this event film by Le-Truc, liquid metal was needed to construct the watch box. I tested various methods but opted for Particle Flow due to its simplicity and the ability to quickly modify the effect to meet client requests. The effect was created in reverse: the watch box was filled with particles that then flew out along paths drawn with splines. The animation was reversed to give the illusion of particles forming the box. Frost plugin was used for meshing the particles, achieving excellent results.


Few years ago, a new powerful plugin, TyFlow, developed by Tyson Ibele, has been integrated into 3ds Max. TyFlow, an enhanced version of Particle Flow, expands possibilities significantly.

Despite still being in beta, it allows for a large number of particles and their interactions without overloading the processor and excessively slowing down the scene. I had the pleasure of testing this plugin for a film by Le-Truc for Jaeger LeCoultre.

Snow Simulation

Encouraged by this experience, I decided to use TyFlow for our latest short film project to create some of the FX. This was a complex task as we needed to simulate snow, which is challenging to reproduce accurately. Below is a test simulating snow being picked up by a character’s fingers.