View Full Version : Can I simplify 9000 sphere cluster?

12 December 2006, 06:22 PM
I'm working on a scientific animation and we are simulating protein objects, one of which is a cluster of about 9000 spheres, which we converted from PDB (protein databank format) into .MA format using 3DWin5. I'm fairly new to Maya and right now I've made a sphere in the middle of the cluster into the parent object, so I can easly rotate the entire cluster. But we are looking for a way to speed rendering time and overall reaction time. Is there a way to simplify this cluster, in the hopes that Maya will treat it as one large mesh object and not 9000 individual objects? All the objects will be the same color so we dont' need control over individual spheres. The only way I can think of now is to delete objects in the middle of the cluster that are obscured by outer spheres, to reduce the overall number of objects, but that seems clumsy.
Any help for a newb would be appreciated.

12 December 2006, 12:12 AM
The viewport interaction will speed up dramatically if you combine the 9000 objects into one object with the poly combine tool. It might crash out if you try to do all at once, so maybe try several hundred at a time and keep adding more. It will possibly help a bit with rendering speed as well, as there are less objects to compute.

12 December 2006, 03:26 AM
You might consider using particles instead of meshes, it would be much, much faster. Particles with render type "Blobby surface" with a threshold of 0 will render as spheres with the software/hardware and mental ray renderers. You could seperate all of your sphere particles into different particle objects by common radius groups. Particles are easy to create with MEL, for example: "particle -p 0 0 0 -p 0 2 0 -p 0 2 2 -p 0 0 2" will create one particle object with four particles at the specified positions; and "emit -o particle1 -pos 2 2 2 -pos 2 0 2 -pos 2 2 0" will add particles to an existing particle object. Simply specify the "Blobby surface" render type and sphere radius under the render attributes for each particle objects. You can assign any standard shaders to the particle objects.

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12 December 2006, 03:26 AM
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