Metaball art

vindazivindazi Posts: 423
edited October 2013 in Bryce Discussion

How can metaballs be shaped into something other than "balls"? Flat surface?

Post edited by vindazi on
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  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Can Bryce be "tricked" into creating animated ripples from a water drop?

  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Since Bryce chokes when I import complex characters from Daz, I am assuming there is so polygon limit to its stable function? If I am correct What is that limit and how do I avoid reaching it?

  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Is there a way to animate skin tone changes in Daz or Bryce?

  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Can any one tell me why Daz keeps refusing to render AniMate aniblocks? seems to be going fine, then just hangs and crashes.

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  • Eva1Eva1 Posts: 473
    edited December 1969

    vindazi said:
    How can metaballs be shaped into something other than "balls"? Flat surface?

    I have seen others make some interesting things from metaballs like figures. You can cleverly make shapes by their placement to each other according to their levels of attraction. The manual is a good resource for how the levels of attraction work -

    http://docs.daz3d.com/lib/exe/fetch.php/artzone/pub/software/bryce/bryce_7_ag_wip_0204.pdf

  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Great stuff. Thanks so much. Hadn't seen this.

  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Does DAZ go to any exhibits or animation conferences? do they put on any workshops where people could come, bring their computers and get training? I appreciate these fora , but it would be nice to see some experts work with DAZ and Bryce and try things along with them.

    Has anyone compiled a list of what Daz and Bryce CAN'T do and shouldn't be expected to? What are it's weaknesses? What can't be done on PC's vs Macs? Thus would be really useful and save a lot of time.

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @vindazi: If you want to see what others have done with metaballs, go to the Show us your renders Part 5 thread and start viewing with page one. If you have a copy of the Bryce PDF manual there's a section in there that covers metaballs. It doesn't go into great detail how to get them to form other shapes, but the understanding how they work will help you create other shapes.

  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 19,763
    edited December 1969

    I made a fairy light out of metaballs. lol

    meta_ball_fairylight.jpg
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  • srieschsriesch Posts: 2,187
    edited December 1969

    vindazi said:
    Since Bryce chokes when I import complex characters from Daz, I am assuming there is so polygon limit to its stable function? If I am correct What is that limit and how do I avoid reaching it?

    While I don't know if there is a polygon count limit of any kind or not (I haven't heard of one, but that doesn't mean there isn't one) I will hazard a guess that the limit you are hitting that is causing instability is quite possibly the memory limits of Bryce and/or your computer. Bryce is a 32-bit application, which unfortunately means the memory available to it is easily exceeded.
    While there is no good way to avoid the problem, there are small things that you can do to try to squeeze a little more out of Bryce. Exit and restart often to clear the undo stack from memory. Characters may often have numberous image textures that use a lot of memory, and you may not need them to be as high-resolution as they are, or even at all. Reduce the image size before transferring them over when appropriate, or even consider eliminating image materials entirely and using Bryce materials instead. (Probably you don't want to do that for a human character, and it might be hard with clothing, but might be easy for various accessories like metallic or neutral-colored objects.) There may be parts of your character that you can skip the materials for entirely (if the mouth is closed, you don't need teeth for example, or if the figure is facing away from the camera with no reflections, you may not need eyes, etc.). Similarly, you can delete lots of hidden parts of the figure under clothing.
    If you are running on a machine with very little memory, consider the 3GB option in Windows if appropriate, or make sure you aren't running lots of other applications that might be hogging available memory at the same time. If you can't transfer a character and clothing at the same time, try transferring just the character, then just one article of clothing, then the next, etc., possibly with exiting/restarting inbetween, and see if that helps. If you are using the bridge, consider trying to do export/import instead, I'm not sure if that will help but I could see how it might possibly.
    Instancing may also help; if you were transferring multiple copies of the figure, see if you can just use one and instance the other copies within Bryce. Note that I personally have stability issues when I use the instancing functions (although if I can get past the point of creating/changing instances, everything's fine for me), so it might be a stability trade-off here.

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited October 2013

    vindazi said:
    How can metaballs be shaped into something other than "balls"? Flat surface?

    Proximity. Fortunately, the manual explains how metaballs work. I can only hope it has addressed negative metaballs. But metaballs stay ellipsoids, and they only interact in metaball fashion with other metaballs.

    vindazi said:
    Can Bryce be "tricked" into creating animated ripples from a water drop?

    Yes and no. Bryce does not have collision physics, so if you're hoping to achieve this with metaballs, you're in for a very, very, VERY long and disappointing session of manually creating fluid dynamics.

    Better bet: Use a concentric ring texture to map to the height of a terrain. This is advanced stuff. Walk before you can run :)

    vindazi said:
    Since Bryce chokes when I import complex characters from Daz, I am assuming there is so polygon limit to its stable function? If I am correct What is that limit and how do I avoid reaching it?

    In terms of polys, try and stay under 1 million total. Depending on the machine, some have reported success with 2M polys. But often it isn't the poly count that causes problems, it's DAZ Studio's file format hitting brick walls in Bryce's file handling. Not a lot you can do about that.

    Is there a way to animate skin tone changes in Daz or Bryce?

    Yes - Alter your material settings over time. Assign a material to an object. Enter the MatLab. There's a timeline there. Set keyframes for any material changes you want to make here. Again, this is advanced stuff and I can't give a short lesson on how it all works. It comes down to cases, really. Just be aware: you can animate PARAMETERS (any setting that has a numerical value), but you can't animate STATES (any setting that has on/off, activate/deactivate, in/out condition). For example: You can animate a gradual change in texture values (textures are those A,B,C,D mathematical constructs that give your material depth colour and quality), but you can't animate a swap from one texture to another texture. If you didn't understand that, again, this is advanced stuff :)

    Can any one tell me why Daz keeps refusing to render AniMate aniblocks? seems to be going fine, then just hangs and crashes.

    Because Bryce is old and has a very different way of handling animation than DAZ Studio does. Aniblocks are self-contained animation sequences for multiple object movement. It was incorporated into DAZ Studio in 2009, I think, could be wrong.

    Bryce animation functions haven't changed at all since their addition in Bryce 3 in 1997.

    ...Well... They've grown increasingly more unstable, but other than that, no changes.

    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • vindazivindazi Posts: 423
    edited December 1969

    Oroboros said:
    vindazi said:
    How can metaballs be shaped into something other than "balls"? Flat surface?

    Proximity. Fortunately, the manual explains how metaballs work. I can only hope it has addressed negative metaballs. But metaballs stay ellipsoids, and they only interact in metaball fashion with other metaballs.

    vindazi said:
    Can Bryce be "tricked" into creating animated ripples from a water drop?

    Yes and no. Bryce does not have collision physics, so if you're hoping to achieve this with metaballs, you're in for a very, very, VERY long and disappointing session of manually creating fluid dynamics.

    Better bet: Use a concentric ring texture to map to the height of a terrain. This is advanced stuff. Walk before you can run :)

    vindazi said:
    Since Bryce chokes when I import complex characters from Daz, I am assuming there is so polygon limit to its stable function? If I am correct What is that limit and how do I avoid reaching it?

    In terms of polys, try and stay under 1 million total. Depending on the machine, some have reported success with 2M polys. But often it isn't the poly count that causes problems, it's DAZ Studio's file format hitting brick walls in Bryce's file handling. Not a lot you can do about that.

    Is there a way to animate skin tone changes in Daz or Bryce?

    Yes - Alter your material settings over time. Assign a material to an object. Enter the MatLab. There's a timeline there. Set keyframes for any material changes you want to make here. Again, this is advanced stuff and I can't give a short lesson on how it all works. It comes down to cases, really. Just be aware: you can animate PARAMETERS (any setting that has a numerical value), but you can't animate STATES (any setting that has on/off, activate/deactivate, in/out condition). For example: You can animate a gradual change in texture values (textures are those A,B,C,D mathematical constructs that give your material depth colour and quality), but you can't animate a swap from one texture to another texture. If you didn't understand that, again, this is advanced stuff :)

    Can any one tell me why Daz keeps refusing to render AniMate aniblocks? seems to be going fine, then just hangs and crashes.

    Because Bryce is old and has a very different way of handling animation than DAZ Studio does. Aniblocks are self-contained animation sequences for multiple object movement. It was incorporated into DAZ Studio in 2009, I think, could be wrong.

    Bryce animation functions haven't changed at all since their addition in Bryce 3 in 1997.

    ...Well... They've grown increasingly more unstable, but other than that, no changes.

    Thanks. Actually it is Daz that is hanging up. See image. Any idea why?

  • bighbigh Posts: 5,506
    edited October 2013

    vindazi said:
    Can any one tell me why Daz keeps refusing to render AniMate aniblocks? seems to be going fine, then just hangs and crashes.

    render is done - it's trying to save your video
    do not know why it stopped .

    Post edited by bigh on
  • Electro-ElvisElectro-Elvis Posts: 254
    edited December 1969

    Hi Vindazi

    Here an example of a robot mostly made of Bryce Metaballs. I used negative metaballs to create a certain shape.

    droid7_black.jpg
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  • Eva1Eva1 Posts: 473
    edited December 1969

    Hi Vindazi

    Here an example of a robot mostly made of Bryce Metaballs. I used negative metaballs to create a certain shape.

    Very cool!!

  • JamahoneyJamahoney Posts: 877
    edited October 2013

    Can Bryce be “tricked” into creating animated ripples from a water drop?

    I would say creating such ripples is quite easy - just use several toruses (tori), each timed to expand outwards one after the other. Additionally, varying their thicknesses, colour and transparency, too, would create the effect e.g. thickest and less transparent starting off from the centre, and deceasing, increasing respectively as they expand.

    I suspect the same could be done with production of a droplet (metaballs combined..etc.,) falling into water, with the additional return upwards drop...etc. Getting them all to work together - drop falling, upward-drop, ripples etc.,... - would be a timing task, but doable, I would imagine, in Bryce.

    Jay
    PS. Slightly off-topic (and not), but just got the free DS 4.6, and tried the figure animations (running, walking, jumping, face expressions...etc.,), and wow, so amazingly real.

    Post edited by Jamahoney on
  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited October 2013

    Jamahoney said:
    Can Bryce be “tricked” into creating animated ripples from a water drop?

    I would say creating such ripples is quite easy - just use several toruses (tori), each timed to expand outwards one after the other.

    Try it – It's not so hot :) Trying to get the torii blending with whatever you're using as the basic water plane/terrain will always create a hard seam at the intersection.

    I suspect the same could be done with production of a droplet (metaballs combined..etc.,) falling into water, with the additional return upwards drop...etc. Getting them all to work together - drop falling, upward-drop, ripples etc.,... - would be a timing task, but doable, I would imagine, in Bryce.

    It really isn't – Sorry Jama, but fluid dynamics is an extremely manual, tedious and ultimately unrewarding effort in Bryce.

    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • JamahoneyJamahoney Posts: 877
    edited October 2013

    Ah yes, Oroboros...those problems - seams, fluidity...etc., - I can see would undoubtedly occur: one woudl be better off doing them in some other 'wares like, say, Blender or other.

    My ani's usually involve simple camera movememnts as these suit my needs, however, must tackle a complex one in Bryce some day - just for the fun and experience. Why in Bryce, well, that's all I'm kinda used to right now - the prospects of learning a new 'ware is always off-putting, I've found (too much of a life to live instead...;)) Tried Carrara, Blender and others, but Bryce's setup makes it so interactively simple - that's its attractiveness, I suppose (oh, and it's cheap ;)).

    Jay

    Post edited by Jamahoney on
  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited December 1969

    Jamahoney said:
    Ah yes, Oroboros...those problems - seams, fluidity...etc., - I can see would undoubtedly occur: one woudl be better off doing them in some other 'wares like, say, Blender or other.

    We-ell... yes and no... Just as David and Horo learn and have fun with materials and HDRI (and modeling - some of the Kline cubes Brinnen is coming up with are warping my brain), there are other experiments that can be done with animation.

    Ultimately, all 3D apps lie. Or rather, they present tools for users to help them create scenes that don't exist, under conditions that seem reasonable, but are false representations of a vision in 2D. Even 3D movies aren't actually 3D: they employ tricks of light to portray false perspective.

    This is a liberating point-of-view, in my opinion. It means 3D design and animation isn't about accurately portraying reality, and it means you can do anything you like in order to achieve the ends, and that means CHEATING IS ALL GOOD.

    Finding out HOW to cheat... THAT'S the pursuit all Bryce users are involved with.

    Fluid dynamics is hard to do in Bryce, but part of why it's hard to do is because there hasn't been much experimentation with it. Animation doesn't deliver short-term results. People get impatient. Here's a shortlist of current fluid dynamic solves:

    1. Rotate/Scale a fluid material over the surface of an object;
    2. Warp a terrain and move it through a landscape.

    There are specials, like creating waterfalls and creating concentric ripples, but they come down to pulling materials through objects again, and they look pants from the wrong angles.

    One thing that hasn't got a lot of attention is Dynamic Terrain Deformation, and this is my own term so don't try googling it :) DTD is basically either:

    1. Having a terrain oscillate its form between two states, or;
    2. Having a terrain deform in steps between successive picture maps

    Lack of experimentation leads to brain-lock. People know they can create a terrain, alter its shape in the terrain editor, AND they can play with the scale, rotation and position of the terrain in an animation. They can also skew the terrain, using World view, rotating the terrain off-horizontal and then scaling it.

    What people rarely do is play with the actual terrain data over time. So you could create a static moonscape, for instance, and then at a moment in time, load in a similar picture but with an added crater, and have the moonscape suddenly create a crater at a moment in time.

    This is altering the terrain data. Each point in a terrain is simply a height value, and each one of those points can be changed over time. Terrains are an extremely complex 'grouped object', if you like.

    So it seems to me that there might be alternative ways to animate terrain patterns rather than dissolving between two pictures. Or maybe adding more than two pictures. (This is all the fractal landscape generators do in Bryce: generate pictures for terrain mapping, nothing more.)

    Also, you can load a TEXTURE as a terrain pattern, as detailed in a tutorial by Mr Brinnen somewhere... I think you SHIFT-click the Create Picture button or something... Perhaps this offers a quick way to generate related, offset patterns for more realistic height flows.

  • HoroHoro Posts: 4,335
    edited October 2013

    Oroboros said:
    Also, you can load a TEXTURE as a terrain pattern, as detailed in a tutorial by Mr Brinnen somewhere... I think you SHIFT-click the Create Picture button or something...

    That would be [Ctrl]+[Alt] or [AltGr] (option on the Mac) on the picture button. Has been working since at least Bryce 4. In Bryce 4, the DTE jumps up immediately, Bryce 7.1 needs about one second to do so. This is also described in Susan Kitchens Bryce 4 book on pages 531/532.

    Post edited by Horo on
  • JamahoneyJamahoney Posts: 877
    edited October 2013

    Image and Animation link below shows ripples' experiemnt in Bryce (Bryce 6.3). It took about 30 mins’ to create the scene and props (stones, reeds and tori), and another 30 mins’ for the full render (reduced screen size, 30-second animation at 15 fps).

    Ripple Animation (YouTube link ~ 30 seconds long)

    What was involved?
    (1) Create a series of toruses each one bigger in size than the previous.
    (2) Group them all, and shrink this group down to as far as you can go (roughly) - for the first keyframe of the animation.
    (3) For the last keyframe of the animation, simply expand out this group again to what the series of toruses looked like in (1) above.

    The splashes are just two squished spheres with a cloud mat applied while they appear on the scene for a brief time. The ripples don’t react physically with the reeds, or produce interference patterns, as Bryce doesn’t do ‘real’ physics. However, with a little more time, tweaking all the above could lead to a better, convinceable scene.

    Jay
    PS. Pesky fireflies at the end of animation - where’s the spray when you need it...psssst, pssst.

    Ripple-Bryce.jpg
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    Post edited by Jamahoney on
  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited December 1969

    Nice work Jama, and that's about the limit of the torii technique. Ages ago I thought this wasn't satisfactory, so I was trying to flatten the torus out as it got wider, to simulate the role gravity and friction have to play on dampening wave prominence. For me... not great for close-ups :)

    I did get a satisfactory result with metaballs, but it took a few parenting/animation mechanics that, IMO, were excessive for the finished effect. If I get some time tonight I'll try and remember how I did it :)

  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Jay: Nicely done, and convincing. Ever thought of doing one using water bugs?

  • JamahoneyJamahoney Posts: 877
    edited October 2013

    Cheers, Oroboros. Yeah, I think you could get a more convinceable ripple-like pattern over time with adjustments to the tori parameters etc., - it was a simple but interesting experiment in the end.

    Guss..."Ever thought of doing one using water bugs?"...haha, saw what you did there - damn firelfies ;)

    Jay

    Post edited by Jamahoney on
  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited October 2013

    Sorry for the delay, but this was roughly the technique I used for pond ripples.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nps7jvKZKWc

    Feel free to ask questions if interested.

    Post edited by Oroboros on
  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 1,166
    edited December 1969

    Jay and Oroboros -the ripple animations are awesome.

  • JamahoneyJamahoney Posts: 877
    edited October 2013

    Oroboros...that's quite an excellent ripple animation - very convinceable even at this close-view setup (some form of floating device, say, a fishing bob, on the water surface bobbing up and down as the ripples passed could also be tied in to the whole scene, I guess). Use of the tori/metaballs/rock connection is one that I wouldn't have thought of, and it's defintely the way to go for Vindazi if he's thinking of producing his own ripple work.

    Initially, I thought of stacking the toruses in my experiment - each single torus slightly above the other etc. However, what I didn't account for is that as you expand out the tori-group, each torus in the group takes on a different volume, and so adjustments (e.g. position above/below the water plain, or, say, reducing the outer tori thicknesses, volumes...etc.,) had to be made. With your setup, however, you don't have to as, literally, it takes on a life of its own. Spooky (yeah, Halloween reference ;)).

    Well done
    Jay
    Edit: thanks, Mermaid.

    Post edited by Jamahoney on
  • GussNemoGussNemo Posts: 1,855
    edited December 1969

    @Oroboros: That's an awesome demo of ripples. Nicely done.

  • HoroHoro Posts: 4,335
    edited December 1969

    @Oroboros - very convincing.

  • OroborosOroboros Posts: 326
    edited December 1969

    Thanks all :)

    Jamahoney said:
    Use of the tori/metaballs/rock connection is one that I wouldn't have thought of, and it's defintely the way to go for Vindazi if he's thinking of producing his own ripple work.

    This is basic top-down machine structure. A 'machine' is just a localised animation that you can move around. The ripple-creating metaballs are parented to hidden toruses; the toruses to the hidden rock. If I want to copy the entire, finished ripple animation machine I just select the rock and copy it. Everything, including the animation sequence, is copied.

    Initially, I thought of stacking the toruses in my experiment - each single torus slightly above the other etc. However, what I didn't account for is that as you expand out the tori-group, each torus in the group takes on a different volume, and so adjustments (e.g. position above/below the water plain, or, say, reducing the outer tori thicknesses, volumes...etc.,) had to be made. With your setup, however, you don't have to as, literally, it takes on a life of its own. Spooky (yeah, Halloween reference ;)).

    Torus thickness can be altered over time. Your bigger problem was the rate of scaling. Under constant conditions, waves propagate at linear speed. Scaling a group of concentric objects doesn't replicate this: inner-rings barely grow, while outer rings start fast but begin to slow down. (In nature, wave speed decreases as you get to shallower water, but wave amplitude (height) also gets more pronounced.)

    But there's a shortcut. Create one wave, animate the torus, animate the parented metaballs, go crazy, make it perfect. Then, select the torus, copy it and paste it. Then get into the AML and delay the keyframe occurrences of this new animation by a few frames. Ta-dahhh... waves.

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