View Full Version : Metaballs Not Ready For Prime Time?

Michael Lizak
06-23-2003, 11:12 AM

I have been having problems making Metaballs look good (smooth / liquidy) when animated. When the metaball resolution is set to a high enough level to get good rendering results, errors pop up stating "the mesh could not be generated at the current metaball resolution". The final rendering of the animation shows poping of the metaball surface polys due to the low metaball resolution (25). The animation renders, but the results are unacceptable. If I increase the the metaball resolution to a level where they look nice and interact fluidly (100), I get the error. The error is sporadic and I could not figure out why it happend on some frames and not others.

If anybody out there has any tutorials or information for the workflow using metaballs, please send me a link. If this is how metaballs function, I think the visual quality of the objects this tool generates are not ready for prime time and I spent two days finding that out. I hope it is something I am doing wrong because I would like to have this effect in my animation.

NewTek phone support did not have any answers and the guy I talked to did not particularly seem to care to help me figure this out. I have also emailed this information along with the 3D files to tech support last week and have not heard anything back. Is this typical NewTek service (or lack of)? Any help would be appreciated.


Michael Lizak
Art Director / Animator
Image Base
312-587-8700 x224

06-23-2003, 04:22 PM
I have found that metaballs work terribly in Lightwave. I have no answer because i have had the same problems. My suggestion is to use surface hypervoxels instead of metaballs with an "add" blend mode. To do this you would need to create nulls, or partigons, and apply the hypervoxels to these nulls and add the blend mode. Also activate the "show particles" to see an outline of the hypervoxels while you're working. Then when you move the nulls around the hypervoxels will react much like metaballs. The downside is that you can't create the objects in modeler, you have to do it in layout. The upside is that this will work and look great.