Non-Event-Driven Particle Systems
Command entry: Create panel (Geometry) Particle Systems
Command entry:Create menu Particles

Non-event-driven particle systems provide relatively simple, straightforward methods for generating particle sub-objects over time for the purpose of simulating snow, rain, dust, and so on. You use particle systems primarily in animations. 3ds Max provides six built-in, non-event-driven particle systems: Spray, Snow, Super Spray, Blizzard, PArray, and PCloud.

Fountain spray created as a particle system

TipYou can take advantage of the AutoGrid feature to orient and position new particle systems with respect to existing objects. For details, see AutoGrid .


Snowstorm created as a particle system

This topic describes only the general properties of particle systems. Other plug-in particle systems might be available in your configuration.

The built-in particle systems share these controls:


Specifies where in the scene the particles are generated. The emitter is the particle system's main sub-object. It doesn't render. Particles appear on the surface of the emitter and fall (or drift, drop, flurry, spray) from the emitter in a particular direction.


The timing parameters control the dynamics of particles in the system. They specify how quickly particles appear, how quickly they disappear, whether the emission rate is constant, and so on.

Particle-specific parameters

These parameters are specific to the kind of particle system. Examples are particle size and speed.

Rendering properties

These parameters are also specific to the kind of particle system. There are options for displaying particles in viewports and rendering them in scenes and animations. Particles do not necessarily appear the same in renderings as they do in viewports.

You can modify and animate particle system parameters. You can also affect particle system behavior with space warps. In addition, you can deform particle systems with the Mesher compound object.

See Also
  • Particle System Usage

    You create particle systems when you want to model an object or effect that can best be described as a large collection of similar objects behaving in a similar fashion. Obvious examples of such effects include rain and snow, but other equally valid examples include water, smoke, ants, and even crowds of people.

  • Spray Particle System

    Spray simulates water drops such as rain, a fountain, the spray from a garden hose, and so on.

  • Snow Particle System

    Snow simulates falling snow or confetti. The snow system is similar to Spray, but it has additional parameters to generate tumbling snowflakes, and its rendering options are different.

  • Super Spray Particle System

    Super Spray emits a controlled spray of particles. This particle system is like the simple Spray particle system with the added power provided by all the newer particle systems.

  • Blizzard Particle System

    This is an advanced version of the original Snow particle system.

  • PCloud Particle System

    Use the PCloud (or Particle Cloud) particle system when you want a "cloud" of particles that fill a specific volume. PCloud can provide a flock of birds, a starfield, or a troupe of soldiers marching over terrain.

  • PArray Particle System

    The PArray (Particle Array) particle system can distribute particles on a geometric object. You can also use it to create sophisticated object explosions.