A metaball effect without using metaball?

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  01 January 2013
A metaball effect without using metaball?

Hey there,

I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas to efficiently produce this sort of geometry?


At the moment I've been playing with cloners, tracers and a touch of metaball... but I can't seem to get enough "thin-ness" between the blobs without cranking up the metaball settings and creating a really inefficient scene to both animate and render!

...it could just be that I've been unlucky with the values I'm using and that I am actually on the right path...

I've been messing with a little scripting too - mixing clones balls with splines and sweep nurbs, but the key to the effect I need is that nice metaball gel-like transition from sphere to string, which my scripting pursuits lack.

Has anyone got any insight that a fresh set of eyes could add to my experiments?

...or has anyone got an approach with a different piece of software or plug-ins that might work?

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by sputnikmoon : 01 January 2013 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Image link broken...
  01 January 2013
why don't you just modell it ? it will take 45 min max. create a sphere, add a noise effector,
clone it, bridge the arms, tweak the whole thing with the magnet tool \ sculpting features,
done. a quadskinner would help on this, but i do not think that there is one for c4d atm.

took me 5 min before i got bored. the briding should be done a bit more carefully so that you
end up with straight arms.

  01 January 2013
Hey Little_Devil!

Thanks for your time in helping me solve this!

The only issue with modelling the gloop it is that I'd like to efficiently animate the form into vaguely complex structures that grow and sprout from each other...

...so at the moment I have a set-up with spheres and tracers, metaball has then been giving me a nice 'gelitine-like' interaction between the balls without the need for me to intervene!

The problem with this is that it's a major system taxing process once the scene gets populates...so I'm pre rendering elements and comping them together in post at the moment

Another issue with this is that I'd like to push the scene further and give the "balls" a little wibble and wobble to their form as they move! I've been trying the usual cluster of mograph spheres in a metaball pulled by and attractor - but again this is wildly inefficient! I was wondering if there could be a route via a timed animated displacement map to give the sphere a wobble whenever it moves - but this seems an issue when 30 spheres could be moving within a scene

Has anyone got any bright ideas as to a solution?

Thanks again for your time!
  01 January 2013
Hi Sputnikmoon,

Like so?
Metaball + spheres + splines.

Play around with the hull value and scale of things, it makes a big difference.
Hope this helps.

Forgot to add, the blob at the bottom consists of 1 sphere and a half sphere, a smaller one to create a more 'stretchy' transition from blob to string. The other 2 blobs are just 1 sphere each.

Attached Images
File Type: png result.png (70.7 KB, 62 views)
File Type: png setup.png (16.6 KB, 46 views)

Last edited by [UP] : 01 January 2013 at 01:23 PM. Reason: spelling + additional info
  01 January 2013
Great idea with the half sphere [UP]!

Has anyone got any ideas on how to give the blobs themselves an almost softbody like jelly effect whilst keeping the scene efficient to render and animate?

Ideally the blobs would appear to have a look of atmospheric resistance and weight to them as they move...

I have a feeling I'm going to have to hand animate this or use an animated displacement map
  01 January 2013
No time to try anything atm,
but I guess (if you have dynamics) you could make it rubber/jelly-like and animate with deformers?

  01 January 2013
Ah yes, of course!!

I could have the blobs pass through the fall-off to give them a bit of life!

Perfect, thanks a lot!

If anyone else has any ideas please feel free to chip in!

I'll post my findings when I'm finished in case anyone else stumbles across this thread in a similar situation in the future...
  01 January 2013
Thanks for the inspiration!

  01 January 2013
Very nice Joe!

Love the material too - has a nice soft wax like quality to it!
  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by sputnikmoon: Very nice Joe!

Love the material too - has a nice soft wax like quality to it!

Thanks--just some SSS and physical renderer. Good luck with your project
  01 January 2013
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