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This guide serves as a reference for the installation of Phoenix FD 3.0 for Maya. You can download the latest official version of Phoenix FD 3.0 from with the account supplied to you by Chaos Group or your reseller.

This page covers installation of Phoenix FD through the Phoenix installer. For additional setup and troubleshooting, see the following pages:



In order to run Phoenix FD for Maya, you need to have V-Ray for Maya and access to the License Server (installed on your machine or a connection to one over your network).


Note: You need V-Ray installed in all cases on each machine that will run Phoenix for Maya, but you don't necessarily need a licensed version - a V-Ray Trial will suffice.

System requirements

Please make sure that your system fulfills these requirements before installing Phoenix.


Processor1st Gen Intel ® Core ® or compatible processor with SSE4.2 support
RAM8 GB RAM and 8 GB swap minimum – recommended 32 GB or more RAM, 32 GB or more swap file
Operating systemWindows ® 7 SP1, Windows ® 8.1 Professional, or Windows ® 10 Professional operating system
Autodesk MayaMaya 2015 or newer, 64-bit versions only
V-Ray for MayaV-Ray for Maya 3.6 or later, 64-bit versions only
USB portRequired for dongle licensing, USB 2.0 or newer
TCP/IPOnly IPv4 is supported. IPv6 is currently not supported.


Processor1st Gen Intel ® Core ® or compatible processor with SSE4.2 support (x64)
RAM8 GB RAM and 8 GB swap minimum – recommended 32 GB or more RAM, 32 GB or more swap file
Operating systemRed Hat ® Enterprise Linux® 6.2 WS,  Fedora™ 14, or CentOS 6.2
Autodesk MayaMaya 2015 or newer, 64-bit versions only
V-Ray for MayaV-Ray for Maya 3.1 or later, V-Ray RT 3.3 or later, 64-bit versions only
USB portRequired for dongle licensing, USB 2.0 or newer
TCP/IPOnly IPv4 is supported. IPv6 is currently not supported.


Hardware Advice for Faster Simulating

Here's some tips to help make sure your Phoenix sims calculate as fast as possible.

Bus speedPhoenix transfers huge amounts of data between memory and the CPU. The entire simulation grid gets processed tens to hundred times per simulation step, so the bus speed is the bottleneck in most simulations.
CPU speedProcessor speed is more important than core count. Also, NUMA and multiprocessor architectures do not perform well with Phoenix. Simulating on one NUMA node is often faster than waiting for multiple nodes to synchronize.
Fast StorageBoth large and small simulations take significant time just to write the cache files from the simulation and to read them back for the preview, so good storage speed can help decrease simulation times up to 30%. Turning off the preview for all grid and particle channels during large simulations could also help speed up the simulation.
GPUGPUs are currently only used for the GPU preview of fire/smoke simulations.

Software Advice for Faster Simulating

On some machines, the Anti-Virus software may treat Phoenix FD's files .aur, .f3d and .vdb as a potential risk and consume significant processing power to scan them. Since cache files are often hundreds of Megabytes or more, this could cause the simulation to slow down several times.

Consider adding an exception in your Anti-Virus software for these file formats. 

You may also add Phoenix FD log file extension (.log) or the log file directory (accessible through the Phoenix Preferences) to the exceptions of the Anti-Virus software.

It may also be beneficial to add an exception for the Maya process (maya.exe under Windows).

Here is a short step by step guide by Microsoft on Adding an Exclusion for Windows Defender.

Installation of Phoenix FD

The Phoenix FD installer will automatically remove any previous installations. This will allow you to seamlessly upgrade from older versions of Phoenix FD. If you experience problems, you can manually uninstall the previous versions to perform a clean install. For more information, please refer to the Uninstalling Phoenix FD page.

Before running the installation, make sure your Windows account has administrative privileges and the dongle is not plugged in.


Run the installer.

1. Upon the start of the installation, Windows may ask you for permission to run the installer with administrator privileges. Please confirm.

2. You will be presented with the Phoenix FD licensing agreements. Please take a moment to review the agreements. Click the I Agree button to proceed:

3. During the next step, you can choose the installation type. The available installation types are:

Workstation (full) – This is a complete installation and includes all components necessary to use Phoenix FD. It includes Phoenix FD for Maya, the V-Ray RT render plugin.
Render Slave
– This installation includes Phoenix FD for Maya and the V-Ray RT render plugin.



4. After you choose the installation type, you can click the Customize button and adjust the corresponding installation settings. If you have selected the Workstation installation, you will see the full list of customizable settings:

Uninstall previous installations – Leave this checked to automatically uninstall any previous versions.

Phoenix FD License Server location – If changed from Local Phoenix FD license server to Remote Phenix FD license server, additional settings become available in the window to set the server name/location.

Specify installation paths – Please check if the default folders are correct. Common settings for Workstation installation for Maya 2018 with default paths should look like the screenshot below:




5. When ready, click the Install Now button.



1. Unpack the contents of the installation archive to a temporary folder (called phoenix_install_dir below);

2. Open a console and navigate to that folder;

3. Make sure you have root permissions or use the su or the sudo command and run the installation file in the directory for the respective OS and Maya version:

Maya VersionInstaller Name
Maya 2015phoenixFD_adv_30400_maya2015_vray_30_linux_x64
Maya 2016phoenixFD_adv_30400_maya2016_vray_30_linux_x64
Maya 2017phoenixFD_adv_30400_maya2017_vray_30_linux_x64
Maya 2018phoenixFD_adv_30400_maya2018_vray_30_linux_x64

4. Follow the instructions of the installer.

5. You will be presented with the License Agreement. Please take a few minutes to review it and then continue

6. In the next step, you can choose what to install. The available options are

Workstation (full) – Includes the Phoenix FD for Maya and sample scenes.
Render slave
– Includes the Phoenix FD plugin for V-Ray Standalone. Pick this option if this machine is going to be used as a render slave only.

7. Pick an option and finish the installation

For example:

$ cd phoenix_install_dir
$ sudo ./phoenixFD_adv_30400_maya2018_vray_30_linux_x64
follow installer instructions
$ exit

Completing the installation

Please skip the steps that are not relevant for your installation type.


1. After you click the Install Now button, the installer will proceed to uninstall any previous versions and install Phoenix FD on your machine.


2. If the installation was successful, you will get this screen.

Visit our online documentation site will open a new browser window/tab to the Phoenix FD for Maya Docs.
Open the changelog file after the installation will open the text file with changes broken down by releases (also available through the Version Change Logs).

Click the Finish button:


3. If you don't already have a ChaosGroup License Server installed on your machine or if you have an older version, you should install the one included with the zip package of Phoenix for Maya (vrlservice_installer.exe or vrlservice_installer.bin for Linux), or download the latest License Sever from To make sure that your license server is up and running and you have the necessary licenses, please proceed to the Set Up Your Phoenix FD License page.


Simulation Slaves and V-Ray Licenses

Running Phoenix FD simulations without rendering will still consume a V-Ray license for reading textures for the simulation. This can be turned off from the Phoenix Preferences (it's on by default), which can be found in the Phoenix menu, but it will make the sampling of textures a lot slower. However, this would be a way for machines that are only used as simulation slaves to assist in calculating sims and would not consume V-Ray licenses unless actually rendering.