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:

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.