Metaball Typography

metaballtype_04

Meatballs

Here is an interesting way to build some organic typography. The metaball in Cinema4D can look very globular and regular, (but it does have it’s uses).

I wish Maxon would give us an update with more control over metaballs…  However, the metaball object itself only has a few parameters, you can add extra control by using the metaball tag on the objects which are used to form the hull of the object.

metaballtypo01

Metaball Object

In this tutorial I show you a method of using the MoGraph Cloner to fill some geometry with vertices which you can then use to form your metaball. If you then use the metaball tag on the point object and adjust the radius of the ‘meta-spheres’, you can blend between the sizes created and randomise with effectors.

metaballtypo02

Metaball Tag

This gives you a much more interesting metaball structure with some areas more detailed and others smoother and larger. What’s more, because you’re using a Cloner, you can add effectors into the mix and animate the objects which are generating the metaball. This gives you so much control, you can animate the surface by simply using an effector. Add in some falloff and you can use effectors to manipulate specific areas of the metaball.

metaballtype_03

lipowaxuction

It does get a bit slow when you have lots of objects generating the surface combined with low subdivision values, use a lower editor value to get this set up and to rough out the shape or animation, then test renders with low values so you can see the detail in the mesh.

Meatballs can be tasty!

Author: admin

18 Comments

  1. Daniel
    Daniel On June 21, 2013 at 10:55 pm Reply

    Nice tips Tim. Love your tutorials ;)

  2. Chang
    Chang On June 22, 2013 at 2:57 am Reply

    Very cool. I have to try this later.

  3. Mikey
    Mikey On August 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm Reply

    How would one animate the mesh and have the Cloner keep the animated volume full of metaballs? I’ve tried this but the Cloner won’t update with the changing mesh. Maybe Cloner is the wrong tool for the job?

    • admin
      admin On August 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm Reply

      @Mikey What do you mean by animate the mesh? If you add an effector to the cloner it will still affect the clones which will in turn affect the shape of the metaball.

  4. Mikey
    Mikey On August 29, 2013 at 1:50 am Reply

    Sorry, should’ve been more specific. I applied this awesome technique to a rigged object and animated the rig. The object shape changes, but the cloner/metaball combo retains the original shape. Any ideas on how I get the cloner/metaball to recognize changes in the object’s shape?

    • admin
      admin On August 29, 2013 at 9:34 am Reply

      Do you mean you rigged a model and then filled it with spheres / points from Cloner and as you move the object the points don’t appear to move with it?

      Did you try to use the MoGraph Cache tag? I don’t think it should be necessary but perhaps the metaball is not updating correctly and caching the cloner might solve it.

  5. Mikey
    Mikey On September 3, 2013 at 4:36 am Reply

    Fixed it. Problem: my joint chain was not a child to the character mesh, so the Cloner was only updating the default pose, not the animated rig. Thanks Tim!

  6. Jon
    Jon On September 6, 2013 at 4:53 am Reply

    Hey Tim,
    Awesome tutorial, I have one question though. When testing this out I extruded a logo using the extrude nurbs and then tried placing it in the cloner’s object in the object mode, but once I do this, my spheres vanish and are nowhere to be found. The object mode works fine when I tested it using a simple platonic object, but not when I try to use a extrude nurbs. Any idea why this is the case?

    • admin
      admin On September 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm Reply

      @Jon

      Using an extrude works fine for me. Did you use an imported spline or a parametric spline? I’d try using a simple circle spline in the extrude first because it should work.

  7. Jon
    Jon On September 12, 2013 at 3:32 am Reply

    I used an imported spline, and had the extrude nurbs set to hierarchical. I was unaware that this wouldnt allow this to work correctly so then I just connected the splines and all is well.

  8. Leon
    Leon On October 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm Reply

    globdule? perfect…

  9. Manny
    Manny On January 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm Reply

    Hi Tim, fist off thanks for this mini tut. Question, I followed your instructions to the Tee! The situation I experienced is that my I am not seeing size differences in my cloned vertices, in other other words it’s not like the example you made. Help please. Thanks Tim!

    • admin
      admin On January 29, 2014 at 5:07 pm Reply

      @manny hi Manny, are you sure you followed the tutorial step by step? Sorry but I can’t offer support for my free tutorials, perhaps run through the tutorial again and make sure you didn’t miss something.

      • Manny
        Manny On February 8, 2014 at 6:05 am Reply

        Hi Mr. Clampham,

        Thank you for replying back sorry for my late followup… Yes sir I did, I’ll take a whack at it again. Thank you!

      • Manny
        Manny On February 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm Reply

        Hi Tim, thanks again for ringing in… Follow up: It works now, it had something to do with the size of the fonts as well as the sphere size, everything else came into play once I figured it out… thanks!

  10. Scott
    Scott On February 4, 2014 at 4:00 am Reply

    Awesome tutorial, really well explained!

    I’d love to know how you got that incredible wax texture in your render above the video though.. that’s wicked.

  11. Joel Dubin
    Joel Dubin On March 10, 2014 at 2:02 am Reply

    Hey Tim.
    Been using metaballs in my work for years, but as with all your tutorials, theres always a sparkling little gem of insight in there that makes me look at the tools in a whole new way. Thanks for the tutorial–it’s come in very handy!

  12. Jeff
    Jeff On July 19, 2014 at 8:23 pm Reply

    I just discover your tut, it’s awesome ! Thanks for sharing this tips.

Leave a Reply