Clones on surface - w/ vertex map placement


Seemingly simple issue. I’m cloning objects on the surface of an object (football to be precise), the grooves of the ball have a vertex map and I’d like the clones to occupy only that space.

Any ideas?


Drag the vertex map into the selection field of the cloner.

Then unclick “enable” and click "restrict to live selection.


Sorry–disregard–this only works with vertex selections–not maps. :frowning:

If you figure it out let me know–I am now intrigued as well


Doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m using surface mode, perhaps that’s the issue?


This seems to work for this particular sample, but doesn’t work in surface mode, probably as expected. I would however like to have control over how many clones I get, which ‘surface’ distribution provides.

If you download - vertex map goes in the user data tag.

*. Edit. There’s a strange bug in that code.
When applying a vertex map to a new object and transferring the workflow over.
Nothing renders. I can see the object in the editor, but it renders invisible.

I’m so sick of 3D today.


I think it was deepshade who came up with a basic Vertex Map Effector about a year ago on one of the boards.
It’s not a perfectly functional, but it should serve your purpose just fine.

found it :


EDIT : haha, yep. Seems you found it. Should work.
EDIT : Nah, you’re right. It doesn’t work in Surface Mode.


Good find

Surprised there isnt another native way to do it. Tried a vertex map shader loaded into a shader effector–and that wasn’t working. Tried loading that into a colorizer as well.


Are you aware of PolyMass ?

It converts Vertex Maps to Poly Selections.
You can clone onto a Poly Selection in Surface Mode without a problem.

You may be able to use it as a workaround.
Check out the initial thread as well ( )



Going to read through this thread later douwe, thanks.
Joel, thank you too. You guys are so quick to jump on problems.

The python scrip works fine btw, just not with render instances.

I think I turned full grey in the past 24 hours, so I’m taking a break.


Joel, you’ll appreciate this setup.

Download scene

Requires the PolyMass plugin (free) from here. Nice find douwe, this has a million uses when used with some of my other setups.

Press play. Move ‘FallOff’ null to visualize the effect. Add a turbulent random effector for good measure. Enjoy.


Yep. That is exactly what I meant.
Has a lot of uses indeed.

Also definitely worth mentioning in this context would be Paul Everett’s Selection Effector.



Paul’s plugin definitely simplifies the process, but does it transfer maps? Vertex to Poly for example, so I can use that vertex map falloff to drive the starting point of clones.

To me it looks like a fancy coded version of what I have here, which may not equal a purchase. Will have to see if the other features add up.

fhVmapConvert - Clones on Weight Map -


I saw this thread yesterday and i thought that this seems to be a common problem
and that it would be a good exercise for me to write a little plugin for that. I have
not checked if there are already plugins doing the same, i mainly focused on the
educational value for me. So do not expect to much, i have only put 5 hours into it.
Long story short - here is fhVmapConvert.

Dynamically writes vmap data into given point or polygon selection tags or writes the
data directly into the live selection of an object. Uses a random interpolation to provide
some sort of translation for values between 0 and 1 - or in other words to reflect the
vmap shading in the selection.

grab :

images :

The dialog, short description:

Vertex Map
The vertex map obviously.

Selection Tag/Object
Put a point/polygon selection tag or a polyon object into the link. If you put a
selection tag into it the respective selection type will be written into it. If you put
a polygon object into it, the vmap data will be written as a live selection into the

Live Select
Only active when you have given a polygon object as the selection target. You
can choose the ouput channel here - points/polygons or both.

Deselect Tolerance
How far the ‘not selected’ state should spread away from. 0

How far the ‘selected’ state should spread away from 1.

Random Weight
How far the random interpolation is being spread.

Random Spline
Used to map the random interpolation.

Random Seed
The random seed of the tag.

Invert the selection interpolation (0 - select, 1 - not select)

Currently the tag is calculated every frame, which is obviously bad, i might fix that
tomorrow. There also has been almost no debugging yet. Released as open source
under CC Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.

happy rendering,


Nice of you to spend the time putting this together, thanks.
I’m testing it out now, seems very functional and so far no bugs.
It also differs slightly from the PolyMass plugin with the additional options.

Thanks again.


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.