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a Metaballs modeling (Maya 4 - 8.5) 0.9.0 for Maya (maya plugin)

Metaballs modeling plugin for Maya

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  • 8.x, 7.x, 6.x, 5.x, 4.x

Operating Systems

  • Windows


Last Modified:06/30/2007
File Size: 95.8 KB
Metaballs 0.9 modeling plugin for Maya
Copyright (C) 2002
Special thanks to Adam Martinez (

If you find this plugin useful and wish to contribute, send some this way:

- in case opening your old metaball scenes fail, simply detach, create new metaball system and "merge in" again.
- Added support for NURBS curves, see Q&A.
- Metaballs now are in a separate menu.
- Structural changes since 0.5 version, but do not panic, simply create new metaball system and "merge metaball" old ones in.

- Fast tessellator provides interactive modeling of relatively large fields
- Standard sphere sculpting primitive (all transformations, hierarchy changes, animation) for flexible positive and negative balls. Variety of other primitives due in the next release.
- Added menu items for operations on the balls and exporting to subdivision meshes. Well tested on sample scenes.

Full version includes free upgrades with support and the following features:
- groups on particles, different groups do not interact with each other, e.g. fingers on a hand.
- field characteristics on particles, extra control options
- nurbs surface as a particle
- speedup for interactive modeler, there's a delay embedded in handicapped version
- blobby modeling data importers (Houdini is being investigated now)
- producing already merged vertices on the output mesh


- open archive, copy
metaballs.mel into /scripts/others,
metaballs.mll into /bin/plug-ins
*.mb with your sample scenes
- read readme.txt
- activate in "plug-in manager" window


- "Metaballs" menu is added
- "new metaball" creates a new metaball object with single ball
- "add metaball" adds new ball to selected set (at least one of balls in target set must be selected)
- "duplicate metaball" is duplicating selected metaballs and adds them to the same set
- "merge metaball" detaches selected balls from their sets and merges them into another set (ie select one of the balls in the target set, then select all of the balls you'd want to merge in)
- "detach metaball" detaches selected balls from their sets
- "metaballs -> polygons" performs sequence of commands to produce correct polygonal surface from a metaball mesh
- "metaballs => polygons" does the above and keeps connection to the metaball set
- "metaballs -> subdivs" performs sequence of commands to produce correct subdivision surface from a metaball mesh (success of the operation depends on your settings in "polygons to subdivs")

Tessellation settings:

"metaball" objects have the following parameters:
- "Tess Step" defines mesh resolution (it's good to keep it relatively high for modeling and then decrease for rendering, be careful, you can easily end up with a few millions of polygons)
- "Field Level" defines iso-surface level in the potential energy field resulting in the mesh, recommended setting is from 0.01 to 0.5.

Mini Q&A:

Q: How do I use NURBS curves?
A: Simply create curve, select one of the metaballs, add-select curve, "merge metaball".

Q: NURBS curves are slowing me down, how can I model at faster speeds?
A: Multiple ways:
- increase tessellation step (TessStep parameter)
- use "detach metaball", modify the curves, then use "merge metaball" again
- simply hide metaball system, modify curves, then show it again (curve's CVs are also hard to see with the mesh).

Q: Why the generated surface looks very faceted?
A: Interactive smooth shading looks faceted due to redundant vertices generated by the tessellator. The mesh needs additional "merge vertex" step which is performed by "metaballs->polygons" and "metaballs->subdivs" commands. Also, using "metaballs => polygons" will keep connection to the metaballs set.

Q: How will the metaball engine handle UV mapping?
A: Cannot be determined from potential field isosurface of which is the metaball mesh. Use 3D, planar, cylinrical, or spherical texturing.

For any use questions and for a new version update

Also, if you have license on IRIX or other versions of Maya, please email to me so I can set up a build over telnet, would be beneficial for all of us.

metaballs maya modeling animation implicit surface field mel mll blobs blobby balls soft body nonrigid deform clay sculpt boolean blend shape softbody liquid potential

Please use the Bug System to report any bugs.
Please use the Feature Requests to give me ideas.
Please use the Support Forum if you have any questions or problems.
Please rate and review in the Review section.

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