Hey /3/, i don't really want to get into modelling, i mostly just want to do some smoke/water/rigid body, physics simulations, which program would suit me the best, and if this program is like 1k+ ways to get it without spending more money than i make in 3 weeks. I would be fine with spending a long time learning these things, i just want to be able to things such as pic related.
BiFrost in Maya is pretty good
Torrent them, same as you do every other bit of software you don't want to pay for. I don't get why this question shows up so often around here.
Maya and Houdini are your best bet with that. Though, ICE in Softimage is a fucking dream to use as well, it's too bad they discontinued it, so don't feel bad about pirating it.
I geuss i'll go pirate Houdini then,I'm not in college so i can't do the student crap, and i only make 900 bucks in 3 weeks, not to mention alot of that goes to rent, food, and internet usage.
The Autodesk free version is "Educational", not just for Students. It's for anyone who simply wants to learn the programs, they give you a 3 year initial Educational License.
seperate plugins: rayfire, thinking particles, fumefx, xparticles
and realflow obviously
I'd say plug-ins like FumeFX will do the trick for you if you're after some quick results. However, I think learning Houdini will make you a more versatile artist in the long run.
Also FumeFX is still not working very well with Maya.