View Full Version : Metaballs still usefull?

04-28-2010, 05:08 PM

I have never really learnt much about metaballs or metaedges.
I like to learn ALL features available in lightwave.
Most lightwave books don't seem to cover their use.

Is this an old technology?

IF still used, please provide an example.

Any good tutorials about metaballs out there?

Thanks in advance.

04-28-2010, 05:23 PM
The ice effect produced by Frozone in The Incredibles movie is created with metaballs.

IMO now that we have voxel sculpting, meatballs :D are dead.

04-28-2010, 05:59 PM
totaly disagree , for 3dc yes metaballs are reduntant , for LW , NO! / alot of 3d apps .
although ZB now uses adaptive skin ............but hey !"what can you do ! "

04-28-2010, 10:26 PM
can't metaballs be animated?

04-29-2010, 12:01 AM
can't metaballs be animated?


dont know about LW :D but i guess ppl use BIG hypervoxels for that now, no?

04-29-2010, 12:18 AM
the difference would be that metaballs could then be saved as a mesh, and applied a displacement map... ;]

04-29-2010, 01:01 AM
Modeler_lowres.pdf - page 124

You can also convert points into plain Metaballs using the Make Metaballs command
(Construct > Convert: Convert Metaballs).

hmm, anyone had any luck converting points to metaballs? doesn't work... FogBugz?

Edit: ok, got it, had to crank up the Reso under "General Options"... weird...

04-29-2010, 01:56 AM
can't metaballs be animated?

yes ! and deformed and rigged ! , good and easy effect with metaballs : mercury spill like T1 , :D

you can model a quick human in a minute flat with metaballs ok it looks like StayPuff but hey , i wouldn't rite them off !

04-29-2010, 03:01 AM
I still use metaballs in LW for several things.
Ive used them to create foliage and molecular models etc.

04-29-2010, 03:17 AM
...i kinda like them, but, can metaballs use an emitter?(!)

04-29-2010, 03:19 AM
some MB threads btw,...


04-29-2010, 04:35 AM
metaballs could be used and animated for cloudshapes aswell, and yes with hypervoxels on vertices.
Maybe not the best way for that stuff, but it works.

Ohh..how I wish for a kind of houdini metaball and image 3d or volumetrics by implicit surfaces.

here´s a link to a couple of avi tutorials for the older houdini versions,
showing L-system with metaballs applied and vex metacloud shader and finally image 3d for creating clouds..

It´s the two image 3d avi´s..


Note..I had some problems viewing those with both windows mediaplayer
and vlc player, I downloaded latest divx player and codec, but had some sound issues, back to vlc player I changed the video/after processing to activate wich seem to fix it.

There´s some screenshots attached from the videos.


04-29-2010, 09:39 AM
...i kinda like them, but, can metaballs use an emitter?(!)

My LW-RenderMan exporter supports LW particles as blobs.

04-29-2010, 11:16 AM
so no LW emitter then?

metaballs, what have they done for you lately...

also cool, it should work with vector displacement,

04-29-2010, 12:43 PM
Is there a trick to making metaballs render smoothly?

I have the surface Smoothing box checked and they still render really faceted. If I crank up the resolution value really high they eventually look to smooth out but is that how metaballs work? LW defaults to a value of 10 which doesn't look to be a good resolution to start with (compared to LW's sub'd level of 3).

04-29-2010, 01:09 PM
unfortunately, that's how metaballs work, afaik

04-29-2010, 01:11 PM
prometheus, for cloud shapes i'd rather use this,

04-29-2010, 01:26 PM
unfortunately, that's how metaballs work, afaik

Ok, at least I know I'm not doing something wrong.

04-29-2010, 05:34 PM

2000 metaballs just locks my computer...

(FogBugz 30726_n2n3)

04-30-2010, 12:34 AM
prometheus, for cloud shapes i'd rather use this,

Yeah I know, Ivé seen that..and I have always promoted newtek to get deep
inside development of that stuff to compete with vue.

but did you see the houdini tutorials? the workflow and basic technique
how it works is really something, renders pretty fast too, and this also allows for smoothing out clouds at edges, wich is harder with ogo taiki or hypervoxels, and
by using L-systems I would say it has more control for shaping clouds and
also animated, like animating growing trees with L-systems but with metaballs and cloud vex shaders.

And there´s always been a problem with particle blending in voxels mode
or with ogo taiki when used on vertices or particles, the houdini vex shaders on metaballs gives a smooth blending transition and allows for
displacement on the whole metaball L-system structure and also a smooth
edge density feathering at cloud edges.


04-30-2010, 11:09 PM
This waving object was created using metaballs and a procedural displacement map. (Not meant to look purty)

05-02-2010, 07:12 PM
alternative, a cell splits by using CC and morph,
(the two objects have different set sharpness)