Hi there, I'm usually an after effects guy but dabble in 3D as well, I am trying to create a roughened edge look to the end of a pipe. The idea is that the pipe has been cut and there are leftover rough areas such as in this image:
It sounds as if ParticleFlow is the perfect answer. You can use it to place all of these funky little shavings all over the mouth of the pipe. It's also a chance to greatly increase your knowledge of Max. Here's a good place to start - the guy really simplifies PF in three pretty short tutorials:
Wow - thanks so much Joe, I watched those vids and now have the desired effect, and also you were right, I am much more confident in using particles now and have some good ideas of how these can improve my animations.
Glad that helped! I had been futzing around with Particle Flow on and off, not having much luck (it's not intuitive), when I ran across those tutorials, and just in time, a couple of weeks ago.
I had to do an animation of the formation of diamonds in lava, in which the particles started out black, and then bit by bit, as they rose through the lava, they changed to diamonds. After viewing those tutorials, I figured it out in about a half hour! It's not intuitive, but once you know the rules and the flow, you can do some really powerful things.