Display operator

The Display operator can be used to display particles in the viewport.

Particles are meant to be displayed using the latest Nitrous viewport driver. Displaying particles with a legacy DirectX/OpenGL driver will have a negative impact on performance. Also, not all display types are supported by legacy drivers.


  • Display type: the drawing method to use for particles.

Pixels: particles will be drawn as individual pixels.

Small dots: particles will be drawn as small dots.

Small dots: particles will be drawn as large dots.

Ticks: particles will be drawn as ticks.

Sprites: particles will be drawn as images on sprites.

Bounding Boxes: particles will be drawn as bounding boxes which encapsulate their shape mesh.

Geometry: particles will be drawn as geometry. If a particle does not have an assigned shape mesh, it will be drawn as an X.

“Sprite” mode is best for granular simulations, where a spherical visualization of particles is necessary. Sprites will display much faster than actual sphere geometry, because they are drawn as simple quads with a sphere texture, rather than actual spherical geometry composed of many vertices and faces.


  • Multiplier: A multiplier applied to the viewport size of non-geometry particles.

If your display or screen resolution render particles too small by default, you can modify the default size multiplier value from the “[v]” menu next to the multiplier spinner.


  • Percent %: the percentage of particles to drawn in the view.
Simulation groups
  • Simulation groups: controls which particle simulation groups will be drawn.
Export groups
  • Export groups: controls which particle export groups will be drawn.


Color settings apply to non-geometry particle display (ie, all display modes except ‘geometry’ and ‘bounding box’

  • Source: controls which particle data the color information will be derived from.
  • Texmap: the texmap to sample colors from.
Custom Properties
  • Channel: the custom properties channel to read the color data from.

  • Multiplier: a multiplier applied to custom properties data, for scaling the resulting vector.


  • Sphere: displays sprites with a built-in sphere texture.

  • Bitmap texmap: displays sprites using a custom bitmap texture map as the texture.

  • Variation %: the amount of color value variation to apply to sprite particles.


  • Mark particles with no geo: particles without a shape mesh will be drawn as an ‘X’

  • Display material: controls whether geometry will be displayed with the material assigned to the tyFlow object. If this is disabled, only the Display operator color will be used, overriding any material assignments.

Nitrous GPU instancing does not support UVW (mapping) overrides on instances. Therefore, if particles have active UVW overrides, instead of being instanced they will be combined into a single (potentially gigantic) mesh. Depending on the number of particles in the cache, this can eat up huge amounts of system resources. For example, a million identical particles with no mapping override can be sent to the GPU as a single mesh and a million transforms. But, a million particles with mapping overrides will be sent to the GPU as a million different meshes – something even the most powerful systems will have a hard time processing. By enabling “ignore UVW overrides”, mapping overrides on particles will be ignored for viewport display, maximizing the number of particles that can be efficiently instanced in the GPU. The drawback is that with “ignore UVW overrides” enabled, particle mapping channels will not have a visible effect on particle material display in the viewport.

Mapping Overrides

  • Full Display (instancing: NO): if particles have mapping overrides enables, they will be displayed in the viewport but instancing for those particles will be disabled.

When mapping overrides are applied to particles, this mode can result in poor viewport performance when a lot of particles are visible.

  • Ignore (instancing: YES): if particles have mapping overrides, they will not be displayed in the viewport and instancing for those particles will remain enabled.

  • Single channel display (instancing: YES): if particles have mapping overrides, the overrides for the specified channel will be displayed in the viewport and instancing for those particles will remain enabled.

In 3ds Max 2020 and above, the ability to display instanced particles with mapping overrides is possible. However, only one channel override is available at a time and the override will apply to all mapping channels of a particle.