RealFlow is a fluid and dynamics simulation tool for the 3D and visual effects industry, developed by Next Limit Technologies in Madrid, Spain. This stand-alone application can be used in conjunction with other 3D programs to simulate fluids, water surfaces, fluid-solid interactions, rigid bodies, soft bodies and meshes. In 2008, Next Limit Technologies was awarded a Technical Achievement Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their development of the RealFlow software and its contribution to the production of motion pictures.[1] In 2015, Next Limit Technologies announced the release of RealFlow Core for Cinema 4D.[2]

Developer(s)Next Limit Technologies
Initial release1998
Stable release
Operating systemWindows, macOS, Linux
TypeFluid simulation, 3D computer graphics, computer physics engine


RealFlow technology uses particle based simulations.[3] These particles can be influenced in various ways by point-based nodes (daemons) which can do various tasks such as simulate gravity or recreate the vortex-like motion of a tornado. RealFlow can also simulate soft and rigid body collisions and interactions. The inclusion of Python scripting and C++ plug-ins allows users to program their own tools to improve RealFlow capabilities, adding control to most aspects of the RealFlow workflow including batch runs, events, daemons, waves, and fluids.

The RealFlow Renderkit (RFRK)[4] is a set of tools designed to facilitate the rendering of fluids. The RFRK enables the generation of procedural geometry at render time and the rendering of individual fluid particles. With this interface, fluids can also be rendered as foam and spray.[5]

On July 30, 2015, RealFlow 2015 was released to the public. The main features in this major release include:

  • An increase in the quality of simulations.
  • New DYVERSO solvers and GPU acceleration.
  • Direct-to-render feature using Maxwell Render.
  • Enhanced User Interface
  • More controllabitlity: new splines nodes, text tools, daemons falloff, crown daemon, and spreadsheets
  • DYVERSO solvers and rapid OpenVDB meshing speed up simulation times by 10x.



RFConnect is a connectivity plugin between standalone RealFlow and DCC applications. The plugin is a successor of RF Connectivity and RF RenderKit (RFRK). The plugin supports following DCC applications: 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, and Houdini. The plugin is also available for Lightwave and Softimage but the development is currently not active.


RFCore is a plugin for bringing RealFlow functionality to the DCC applications. The plugin supports following DCC applications: 3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema 4D.

Third-party plug-in developersEdit

Next Limit lists three 3rd party plugins for Wetwork, IoSim, and V-Motion.[6]

Version historyEdit

1998 RealFlow 1.0
RealWave 1.0
RealFlow 1.2
1999 RealFlow 1.3
2000 RealWave 2.0
2001 RealFlow 2.0
2002 RealFlow 2.5
2004 RealFlow 3.0
2006 RealFlow 4.0
2010 RealFlow 5.0
2012 RealFlow 2012
2013 RealFlow 2013
2014 RealFlow 2014
2015 RealFlow 2015
2016 Cinema4D
2017 Cinema4D 2.0
2018 Cinema4D 2.5
RealFlow | Maya
RealFlow | 3ds Max
2019 Cinema 4D 3.0
RealFlow 10.5



  • Particle based solver (liquid, gas, elastic and particles)
  • Interaction bitmaps
  • Custom particle behaviour
  • UV data and weight maps
  • UV texture mapping
  • Automatic mesh generator
  • Force fields
  • Python / C++ plugins
  • Direct-to-render feature
  • OpenVDB meshing


  • Hybrid fluid solver technology to simulate large bodies of water with secondary effects such as splashes, foam, and mist



  • Physically accurate water surfaces

Python scripting / C++ pluginsEdit

  • Daemons
  • Waves
  • Fluids
  • Events
  • Batch runs

Dyverso SolversEdit

  • Drastic speed-up on simulations
  • Smooth layered meshes,

Use in industryEdit

Motion Pictures[7]

Television series


Video games

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-06-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Announcing RFCORE C4D".
  3. ^ "RealFlow | Large Scale Fluid Simulation Workflow with Hybrido2 and HyFLIP". 28 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Next Limit releases RealFlow RenderKit 2014 | CG Channel".
  5. ^ "Digital Media World - Open your World". 20 September 2021. Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Next Limit: Plugin Developers". Archived from the original on 2017-11-06. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  7. ^ "RealFlow in Movies". Archived from the original on 2015-04-14. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  8. ^ "RF4: Fluids & dynamics simulation tool". Archived from the original on 2017-11-22. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
  9. ^ Next Limit Technologies. "Disney "World of Color" - by Motion Theory". Real Flow Case Studies. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011. Retrieved 9 September 2012.

External linksEdit