Particle Illusion UI launch failed

I got the entire BCC suite when my ‘entire’ reason for doing so was the re birth of Particle Illusion. Brand new install on Mac 10.113 current AE version. Click the “launch Particle Illusion” anxiously awaiting my first view of this product I used so much. I get the ‘AE’ error message Particle UI launch failed. Error code: -1

Ive restarted app… restarted computer… purged my cache just in case… the few default particle pre sets DO load. No real controls over them… im guessing those are in the user interface.

My ‘search’ for issues… has me scratching my head. This is clearly an instant post on a forum or to customer product support. No bombing or app crashing… just that code which makes the tool un useable. I appear to be alone on this… im trying the forum before any customer service calls.

Thank You –


The one known case of that error that we discovered after the initial release is caused by trying to re-open the Particle Illusion UI after saving a very complex PI effect in a previous run of the UI. What you are describing doesn’t match that scenario, however, since it sounds like you see this even with a clean new instance of the effect.

On machines with conventional hard drives instead of newer SSD drives we do see that the Particle Illusion UI can take a while to load if all the option emitter libraries are installed, but this shouldn’t result in the error code you describe - just a longer than expected wait. If you have installed all the optional emitter libraries though you could try to remove those extra libraries as an experiment to see if it changes the behavior you are seeing at all. If you want to try temporarily setting aside the extra emitter libraries you can find the extra ones here on mac:
/Library/Application Support/BorisFX/EmitterLibraries

Also there are a couple diagnostic files you could send me directly (off-list) to jclement at borisfx dot com.

  1. The contents of the Continuum Log Folder - just zip up the whole folder and attach it to an email:

  2. Any Mac OS User Diagnostic Reports for Particle Illusion which can be found here:

  • Open the standard mac Console app (e.g. using Spotlight just type in “Console”)
  • Navigate to the upper left panel where it says User Diagnostic Reports and twirl that group open.
  • Look for any recent entries that begin with the name “Particle Illusion…” and click on them to open them up.
  • Copy the contents of the any PI logs into an email attachment.
  • Note that depending on the nature of the underlying problem you might not find any logs with “Particle Illusion” in the name, but if they do exist they can be very valuable in helping us understand the issue.

ok… I appreciate what appears to be a pretty thorough response. This truly is the one plug I care about… the others are ‘gravy’ to me.

Apps \ boot drive are all SSD… my working files and folders are on SSD and my AE cache is located on my third SSD. I do have an internal ‘traditional 7200rpm’ drive but its essentially a ‘desert’ - lol… that I ignore
I also have an external traditional drive connected via USB 3. However… im ‘pretty’ sure I set up a very snappy AE machine for the mac… Video card Titan X… 64 gigs ram. I have one of the ‘custom’ 12 core 3.4ghz MacPro’s some local LA shops build a lot of… id suspect the Titan X given my limited knowledge of the ‘engine’ of PI open gl was what seemed to be its ‘speed’ and id guess my card should have - I trusted - some pretty good performance for a mac available card. - But… the presets do load and are adjustable with the few controls I have access too… so im hoping thats a good sign that its not a video card related thing.

Yes… after purchase and first and only install, I opened a few other plugs before PI… but never once got the interface to open. I was one of the moderators for years on the old PI discussion group and am on the higher end of ‘user’ knowledge with the tool… the standalone version that was just lightning quick and responsive on even old old cpu’s. I was very close to buying a cheaper old mac for ONLY running the last compatible version of PI standalone…I used it that much… I will provide anything i can to get it running.

Its late here… Im going to guess that since it happens each time i try… wouldnt it make sense for me to
Open AE
load a solid
apply the plug
click on the UI ‘button’ within the ‘interface’

  • get the crash \ error code to happen -
    then quit AE

then go to your #2 point… wouldnt what appears there be pretty close to
‘recording’ what just happened?

Ill try to be more concise as I go… thanks again for the response at this later hour. Ill forward what I can within the next day.

Thanks for the additional details - the more information the better when trying to diagnose problems like this. Sounds like it’s unlikely to be related to poor drive performance on you machine. Maybe the graphics card - but that’s just speculation until we learn more. Your suggested steps for recording the mac diagnostics log are perfect. Please send that along when you get a chance. But also please send the Continuum log files as well (item 1) since they contain different types of information than the diagnostics log.

Another experiment you can try is to launch the Particle Illusion UI directly as a standalone application instead of going through the plugin. This would help isolate whether the problem is related to the plugin integration versus the core PI application. If you go to Applications/Boris Continuum Complete 12.0 there will be a link to launch the standalone version of PI. Note that currently the standalone version of the new PI doesn’t support exporting/rendering - although you can use it to save PI project files which can then be loaded inside the plugin version for rendering through the host. We plan to add support for rendering from the standalone version in a future update. Since you’re very familiar with the original PI you might want to read the release notes for the new version so you’re aware of where it differs since there are several features of the old PI that are not yet supported - especially the section on Compatibility Notes about half way down: Boris FX | Continuum 2019 for Adobe AE/Premiere - 12.0.0 Release Notes

It’s great to have you using PI again! Once we’ve got you up and running we’d love to hear more about your thoughts on how to further enhance PI in the future.


Hi ’ J.

quick fyi - im super busy with projects at a remote location… this is concerning my home system so I will be getting things to you soon… the only update I have is that the ‘standalone’ non renderable PI DOES work fine
after 5 minutes of fiddling with it… so thats one more clue. I have 100 gig available out of the 500 gig startup disk if that matters. Crash logs etc coming…

It was fantastic seeing the emitters and at least the re start of the app. Im pretty well aware of what it cant do… although I may have been fooled by a screen shot of the interface which I was certain I saw a deflector or bounce setting… which to me was a hint that the 2d forces or colission detection which i did use a lot… were present. Gravity and bounce etc… did NOT need a fully 3d dynamics which id assume is a monumental programming task… so I hope the PI people are not holding up on that because they want to try to do a form of true 3d hard body dynamics kind of thing… like bullet.

im sure ill leave too many comments of suggestions over time… but the main things id like to have or see
kept with the app or modernized would be quickly…

#1 implement the collision bounce forces stuff
#2 make it a renderable standalone
#3 largest time saver would be easy way to organize emmitter libraries
and keep as many ‘live’ available. Easy way to save existing emitters
into our own labeled folders… so much abstract content that we remember
‘our’ goofy names for emitters more than pre chosen ones that are not
obvious… like fire snow etc.

#4 and freshest aspect of the app was its users and alan… every month a new library was
released of a few or dozens of new looks… every month you looked forward to what
he or whoever were coming up with. Making our own ‘variations’ of existing emitters
was not difficult… but designing from scratch… over my head. It was an easy downloadable
thing and unlike other plugins… and ive used them all for 20yrs… kept things fresh and
PI extremely usable for much more than I ever imagined and so fast…
I hope Boris… keeps this up on its site or some dedicated location. Sharing emitters and more
can be very cool.

less important but nice

some way to throttle playback to 30 fps max without having to render the entire sequence.
ill find this out soon also… but the most useful aspect of each emitter was the way each
emitter was broken down into - for example… the smoke… fire… sparks… etc etc… each element
so you could turn off the smoke only… the fast and easy way to manipulate the core layers
that made up each emitter.

TTYL and thank you again.

Thanks for the detailed suggestions, Scott! We’ll review them all in detail. Note that the integrated mocha PixelChooser should provide a similar type of control as the original Blockers, but with the advantage of high quality tracking.

im afraid i still cant get the particle illusion UI to load. I did go to the standalone as you instructed and it DID work… you did not comment on what that might mean positive or negative. I am barely technical and found the one log i emailed to you. But am struggling locating other things. I really need this to work. I may need more detailed ‘path’ on where to find this data please.

The fact that the standalone works is a good sign. It means there doesn’t appear to be any incompatibility problems with your hardware or anything like that. It points to something specific about the integration into the plugin version, but beyond that it’s hard to say without more info.

Regarding the log files, there are still two additional things we would be looking for.

  1. Any OTHER log files in the same folder as the one you already sent us. You sent the one for Continuum but there should also be one for PI in that same folder. Just zip up ALL the log files in this folder and email them to me directly:

  2. Any User Diagnostic Reports. This is the one you are having a hard time finding. I’ll try to describe it in more detail.

  • On your mac, bring up the Spotlight Search by clicking on the search icon in the very top right of the main menu bar. It’s the generic tool for finding applications - and type in “Console” and launch the Console app. This is a generic mac application for managing lots of diagnostic files/logs on your computer.
  • On the left side of the Console app there is a panel panel with lots of different types of reports listed. There should be a twirly for a group of reports called “User Diagnostic Reports”. Twirl that one open.
  • Inside that group, look for any entries that begin with the name “Particle Illusion…”. Click on them one at a time and you’ll see that as you do so they display log information on the right hand panel.
  • Select and copy the contents of the right hand panel for any PI logs and past them into a text file or directly into an email.
  • Note that depending on the nature of the underlying problem you might NOT find any logs with “Particle Illusion” in the name, but if they do exist they can be very valuable in helping us understand the issue. Knowing whether or not they are there would be helpful.

If you are still unable to find these logs please let me know and perhaps we can set up a call or screen-share.

Hi J, I followed your directions and in hte console their is no ‘user diagnostic reports’ folder to choose. There is one that says ‘user reports’ but that has no ‘twirly’ next to it. I touched it regardless… and it has one file from an old mac i used to own it appears. Nothing else.

One folder is called “System Reports” with a twirly next to it… I clicked it and it had a folder called ‘retired’ and nothing in that.

at the top was my mac pro but with no twirly… I ‘touch’ that and data on the right starts scrolling - im guessing its a realtime recording of my actions… I cant find a thing with Particle Illusion on it.

only other folders are Library Logs… and var log… unsure what any of that is.

As ive said… I got the entire continuum suite just for this plug. I was initially looking at the particle ‘unit’ to buy just that… but the rental of continuum for the year equaled the price of owning just the particles… so I thought why not see if other stuff makes my best of amongst sapphire and other tools. That said… would the ‘unit’ install maybe be a better thing to have? I had weeks until I truly needed PI for a large project… im running out of time for this not working… and apparently being the ‘only user’ with this issue.

Help its the only plug out of hundreds on my system that wont ‘open’ and be usable.

May I suggest what I’d do in such a situation? The Mac OS makes it really easy to boot from another disk, just make a clean install on a fresh disk and nothing else but AE and Continuum and see if it works. There might be something screwed up by other software on your current system.
That said, PI is working fine for me on a Mac, but with Resolve as a host.

I also tried opening Particle Illusions UI in Premiere and got the same error message. fyi

Hi, Scott,

The Unit license wouldn’t help you. That only changes the licensing status of the software, i.e. whether or not it watermarks, but the core effect functionality is the same with either license. Can you send along the other BorisFX log files - directly to me at jclement @ borisfx dot com? You sent one but we would like to see all the log files. Here is the location for that again. Just zip that whole folder and send it:


After that the next step would be to schedule a screenshare with our support team if possible so we can gather additional information.

Hi… im sorry… This was my personal purchase so I have limited time home to deal with some requests, and my knowledge of finding certain reports is weak. It is very important to me… so id please, request a scheduling of a screenshare… a formal window of time I can be absent at my work (which im trying to ‘show’ with my purchase… the value of owning \ buying the software) since my issue happens the same way each time id assume that replicating it via screenshare and properly finding the error codes etc would be done pretty fast by someone with system knowledge i lack… I have a large project that would rely on Pi - that I bid on and find out monday if i get… so my urgency has peaked. Thank You for any help getting finally to the bottom of this!! Scott

Hi, Scott,

I’ll email you directly about setting up a time for a screenshare.


Hi There,
I’m am facing a similar problem. Though on a PC.
When launching PI from within AE it sort of starts up and than closes down leaving a popup saying:

Particle illusion UI launch failed. Error code: -1

This problem started after I tried to transfer my authorization from one machine to another. In demo mode yesterday it worked fine, so I decided to move the license to this ( my faster) machine with this result. I am somewhat puzzeld.

I can launch the FX browser from the plugin but all options show a “unknown error” message in the middle.

The standalone version closes down after trying to start up.

I restarted, reinstalled, re-authorized several times.

help and suggestions are appreciated

intel I7-7700 4.2Ghz
Nvidia 1070 Ti
32GB ram


The licensing status really shouldn’t affect how the plugin behaves other than whether or not it watermarks so the fact that it was fine in trial mode but not after licensing is odd. Did you use the same installation file? Are other continuum filters working normally for you?

Can you send along the log files found here:
Just zip the whole folder and private message me through the forum or email it to me directly:
jclement at borisfx dot com

Thus far, we have had less than a handful of reported issues apropos particle illusion failing to launch with that negative 1 error code and all of these systems have a Titan card. I wonder if it may be a driver config or something else related to the Titan card that may be the cause of this problem. So … if you’re experiencing this issue and have the option to swap out your Titan video card with another type of card please do so and let us know if that helps to solve the issue.

Meanwhile I think I have tracked the issue.
The problem was that I was accessing my computer trough remote desktop. When checking the demo version I was at my studio. Later on, at home, I had to transfer the lic. from my home address to my studio and I wanted to check whether everything was working properly before going back to my Studio. In order to do so I access my studio trough remote desktop. I do this all the time (to setup renders andother simple task) so it never occurred to me the problem clould be there…
Once back at my Studio everything worked just fine.

Continuum 12.0.2 has been released with a fix for the problem where Particle Illusion would launch OK as a standalone app but would fail to launch as a plugin on some systems. Generally this affected a small number of mac systems with non-standard username/paths.

I have the exact same problem and I can’t solve it at all.
iMac 27-inch, 2020 / macOS Catalina / AMD Radeon pro 5700 8GB