Over 100 Free Particle Flow Presets from Allan McKay

Posted by visualz, 7 June 2011 8:00 pm

March 2014 update - these now are included in the base install of 3ds Max 2015.  I have also posted a video of all of these effects rendered out for reference.  At the end of this blog post is a link to download all of these rendered animations.  //gD

(now back to the original post...)


For some time now (since the release of 3ds Max 2010), 'Max has shipped with over 100 Particle Flow presets that users can take advantage of for their various project types.  These are included with every copy of 3ds Max, however they are not part of a default install.  These presets are broken down into four elemental effects for air, earth, fire, water as well as "logo" presets for motion graphics and broadcast designers.  Here, we'll take a look at where to find them, how to install them and finally how to access them within 3ds Max.

Visual effects artist and fellow 3ds Max Master, Allan McKay, was contracted to created these Particle Flow presets specifically to ship with 3ds Max. They are a killer starting point for projects, as well as an excellent way for new users to reverse-engineer Particle Flow's event-driven particle system.

You can download my edited versions with categories as a prefix here: 

DOWNLOAD Partilcle Flow Presets RENAMED

DOWNLOAD all the rendered MP4 files HERE

I hope you enjoy the presets and please spread the word!

Untill next time,




Posted 17 June 2011 3:44 pm

Thanks! Very useful!


Posted 17 June 2011 4:50 pm

Gary thanks for taking the time to do this!

I had been meaning to do this very thing since these shipped.

It always bothered me that they weren't listed the Preset Flow operator, simply for the fact that I would forget these even existed.


Posted 20 June 2011 7:05 pm

Great to shine the light on this since so many forgot or didn't know.

My only question is this....

How do you share those presets or new presets you make over a NetWork?


Posted 20 June 2011 7:32 pm

most pflow presets dont create external dependencies like texture maps on the network since they are just regular max files essentially being merged with the current scene. Use Asset Tracker like any other time to check and repath any external dependencies.



Posted 21 June 2011 2:30 pm

user Sedokun points out:

If in InstallSettings.ini - useUserProfiles set to "0", than You should put presets to
--3dsMaxInstallFolder--\plugcfg\Particle Flow Presets


Posted 28 June 2011 1:45 am


Thanks for sharing! This will speed up work flows and testing dramatically! Thank you. I wish I knew about these presets sooner.


Posted 30 June 2011 2:53 pm

'Make sure to check out all the other killer free goodies in the "samples" directory of the 3ds Max installer. there are tons of scripts, plugins, pre-rigged models and more.



Posted 4 July 2011 1:48 am

thank you


Posted 10 March 2012 6:18 am

i am travelling for work at the moment and just tried the download link from my hotel room and it seemed to work ok. it might have been a temporary issue with netowkr traffic. please try again.



Posted 5 May 2012 5:09 pm

Right On..GD...AM

fernando ferro

Posted 6 June 2012 5:15 pm

Hi, thank you!
Could you please tell me where are the textures of this scenes?
Dust.tga, dustDevil... etc.

fernando ferro

Posted 6 June 2012 5:27 pm

Sorry, I've found it:
...\Samples\Particle Flow Elements Library\sceneassets\images


Posted 4 September 2012 5:26 pm

Has the "Particle Flow Presets" folder been moved in Max 2013? I can not find it under its normal path of: C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsmax\2013 - 64bit\ENU\plugcfg_ln


Posted 6 September 2012 2:31 pm


The address in Max 2013 is:

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2013 - 64bit\ENU\en-US\plugcfg


Posted 13 September 2012 9:51 am

All great but the cache node does not work ! still slow after a cached the particles.


Posted 19 September 2012 10:23 am

Nice set of predifined particles. Thx.


Posted 14 November 2012 2:03 am

These are great! However, a high percentage of them causes 3ds Max Design 2013 to exit with an error, sometimes closing the Particle View, sometimes zooming and/or panning.

If anyone has any ideas please lt me know.

Thank You


Posted 15 January 2013 1:39 pm

Just open the .max Files via "File-> Open" or double click them in your Windows Explorer directly and everything is working fine.


Posted 18 January 2013 5:36 pm

My 3ds Max Design 2013-64 do not have this folder "plugcfg", but have this "plugcfg_ln" and doesn't work. Please, help me!


Posted 7 February 2013 5:11 pm

Thank you for this very nice work on the Presets.


Posted 2 March 2013 6:13 pm


C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Local Settings\Application Data\Autodesk\3dsmax\2010 - 64bit\enu\plugcfg\Particle Flow Presets


C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2013 - 64bit\ENU\en-US\plugcfg\Particle Flow Presets


Posted 26 March 2013 7:35 pm

Thanks much Gary for the tip and named files download!!! And thanks to Allan for the presets!!!



Posted 9 May 2013 4:10 am

Thanks a shedload. Allan "Grand PooBah" Mackay


Posted 7 June 2013 3:50 pm

***UPDATE*** on location of install for newer release.

C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2014 - 64bit\ENU\en-US\plugcfg\Particle Flow Presets

Michael Powers

Posted 16 August 2013 5:20 pm

There has been a slight change in path. (Autodesk keepin' it real and making our lives difficult!)
C:\Users\%username%.%userdomain%\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2014 - 64bit\ENU\en-US\plugcfg\Particle Flow Presets


Posted 16 August 2013 5:29 pm

THANKS very much for the update!!



Posted 31 August 2013 9:49 pm

Could you please tell me where are the textures of this scenes?
Dust.tga, dustDevil... Sorry I can not find them. Could someone give a old-man a clue?



Posted 11 November 2013 12:03 am

Thank you very much for this!.. I was looking into the logo disassemble preset, but couldn't find out how to change it to any shape you want. any tips on how to do this?? again thanks alot for these presets!


Posted 12 February 2014 3:45 pm

UPDATE: i render them all out and compiled a MOV here:



Posted 12 February 2014 4:07 pm

Excellent, Thank you !


Posted 19 February 2014 4:57 pm

UPDATE #2. at the top of this page ive posted a second download link to get all the rendered MP4 files. these are all named according to the Particle Flow Presets MAX scenes.

uwe ziese

Posted 21 February 2014 12:42 pm

Very nice. Thank you Alan.

All the best


Gil G.

Posted 21 February 2014 1:11 pm

Thanks !
Really nice


Posted 25 September 2014 3:40 pm

Having problems with the Presets download it gets somewhere and just stops with an error. Please post a fresh link or something i'm really die'n here. i'm out of options. Thanks alot


Posted 25 September 2014 3:52 pm

i just tried both and they are still working. might just need to try again later/


Posted 26 September 2014 9:13 am

I just tried again same thing. I don't know is it the zone i'm in or something.


Posted 26 September 2014 12:17 pm

they also ship with 2015 as part of the default install. maybe you could get the 30 day trial if you are not on it already.


Posted 2 November 2014 1:38 pm

Hi, I don't seem to be able to install the presets. I found a plugcfg folder @ C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2013\plugcfg
and created a new folder called Particle Flow Presets, then simply copied over all of the files, including the .txt. I followed your instructions for opening the presets in Particle View but it's empty.
I also tried the \AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2013 - 64bit\ENU\plugcfg_ln folder but no luck.


Posted 3 November 2014 4:54 pm

it might be a version compatibility issue. worst case is you can always drag and drop them (open or merge) since they are really just MAX files.


Posted 1 April 2015 6:59 pm

Hello, i downloaded the files but having issues locating some missing files with the tga extension


Posted 1 April 2015 7:03 pm

all of these are now part of the default install of 3ds max. (not the animations i made available for download, but all the scenes and associated external references)



Posted 25 June 2015 5:05 am

Hello I downloaded the files and video examples. The setup works fine in 3ds Max 2014 and I can see all the presets. When I use air_Car Dust.max, it says "Missing External Files" sceneassets\images\DustDevil.tga. Where can I find this file?


Posted 25 June 2015 6:39 pm

I used asset tracker and it linked to my project folder so I copied the images there and it worked great. Awesome work Allan.


Posted last week

Says file is not there.... Any new link?


Posted last week

i just re-uploaded they should be working now. NOTE: these also now ship as part of the base install of 3ds Max (much later than this original post which required them to be loaded of disk2 or downloaded)

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