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This guide serves as a reference for the installation of Phoenix FD for Maya. You can download the latest official version of Phoenix FD 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:

If you experience any problems, please check the Installation Troubleshooting page. 

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

System requirements

Please make sure that your system fulfills these requirements before installing Phoenix FD. Note that Phoenix FD is only supported for 64 bit operating systems and 64 bit versions of Maya. 

Phoenix FD for Maya comes in 2 build types - compatible with V-Ray 3 and V-Ray Next. If you don't have V-Ray, it does not matter at all which one you install - Phoenix would still be able to simulate, load, save and preview caches. If you do have V-Ray 3 or V-Ray Next, please take care to install a matching Phoenix build.

Note that reading textures during simulation, e.g. by Sources, Mappers, etc, would be faster if you also have V-Ray installed.


ProcessorIntel® Pentium ® IV 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 and Windows ® 10 Professional; 64-bit versions only
MayaMaya 2017 or later
USB portRequired for dongle licensing, USB 2.0 or newer
TCP/IPOnly IPv4 is supported. IPv6 is currently not supported
Chaos License Server4.5.1 or later
V-RayAll V-Ray 5 and V-Ray Next versions are supported




ProcessorIntel ® Pentium ® IV 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 systemRed Hat ®  Enterprise Linux® 6.5 and 7.2 WS, or CentOS 7.2 for all Maya versions; CentOS 6.5 for Maya 2017 and 2018; 64-bit versions only
MayaMaya 2017 or later
USB portRequired for dongle licensing, USB 2.0 or newer
TCP/IPOnly IPv4 is supported. IPv6 is currently not supported.
Chaos License Server4.5.1 or later
V-RayAll V-Ray 5 versions are supported. Oldest supported V-Ray Next is Update 1



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

 If you plan to render your Phoenix FD simulations with V-Ray, and V-Ray is currently not installed on your machine, please make sure to first run the V-Ray installer before running the Phoenix FD installer.

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 full installation and includes all components necessary to use Phoenix FD. It includes Phoenix FD for Maya, V-Ray Standalone render plugin, and an update to the Chaos License Server.
V-Ray Standalone Render Slave 
– This will install the V-Ray Standalone 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.

How are you going to connect to the Chaos License Server? – Specifies whether the Chaos License Server will run locally or on another machine.

If you select the Remote Chaos License Server on the network option, you will have to fill in the IP address of your Chaos License Server in the field labeled Primary License Server. Please leave the port 30304 unchanged.

Specify installation paths – Please check if the default folders are correct. Common settings for Workstation installation for Maya 2020 with default paths should look like the screenshot below.

Note that if you have V-Ray installed, the V-Ray install directory field must point to where you have already installed V-Ray. If you install V-Ray after Phoenix and you use custom install directories, you will not be able to render with Phoenix:




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 2017phoenixFD_adv_43000_maya2017_vray5_centos6
Maya 2018phoenixFD_adv_43000_maya2018_vray5_centos6
Maya 2019phoenixFD_adv_43000_maya2019_vray5_centos7
Maya 2020phoenixFD_adv_43000_maya2020_vray5_centos7

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_43000_maya2018_vray5_centos6
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.