Page Contents ×

This page provides an overview on setting up and installing Chaos Phoenix.


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

This page covers installation of Phoenix 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 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. Note that Phoenix is only supported for 64 bit operating systems and 64 bit versions of Maya. 

Phoenix for Maya comes in 2 build types - compatible with V-Ray 5 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 5 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 2018 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 2018; 64-bit versions only
MayaMaya 2018 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'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 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

 If you plan to render your Phoenix 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 installer.

The Phoenix installer will automatically remove any previous installations. This will allow you to seamlessly upgrade from older versions of Phoenix. 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 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 Licensing Agreements. Please take a moment to review the agreements. Click the I accept the Agreement button to proceed.

3. If you press the Advanced button during the next step, you will see the full list of customizable settings:

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

     Learn more about setting up directories – Will open a new browser window/tab to the Phoenix for Maya Setup and Installation page.



4. Licensing – Specifies whether the Chaos License Server will run locally or on another machine.

Need help setting up licensing? – Will open a new browser window/tab to the Phoenix for Maya documentation page.   

If you select the Remote 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.



5. File Associations – The selected file types will be associated and opened by default with the Phoenix Standalone Previewer.



6. When ready, click the Install 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 2018phoenixFD_adv_44000_maya2018_vray5_centos6
Maya 2019phoenixFD_adv_44000_maya2019_vray5_centos7
Maya 2020phoenixFD_adv_44000_maya2020_vray5_centos7
Maya 2022phoenixFD_adv_44000_maya2022_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. Finish the installation.

For example:

$ cd phoenix_install_dir
$ sudo ./phoenixFD_adv_44000_maya2018_vray5_centos6
follow installer instructions
$ exit


Completing the installation

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

2. If the installation was successful, you will get the screen shown in the screenshot below.

Open Online Changelog – Will open the text file with changes broken down by releases (also available through the Version Change Logs).

3. Click the Done button.



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.