joel•O•tron

Metaballs and subsurface scattering fun in C4D

Posted in Cinema 4D, Experimental by Joel Dubin on March 14, 2010

Working on elements for a new reel. Heres a little shot I created using cinema 4D metaballs and the subsurface scattering shader.

5 Responses

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  1. John said, on April 9, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Perfect for vesicles! Or maybe membrane blebbing during apoptosis. Any idea if this can be done in maya? Looks great with subsurface scattering.

    • Joel Dubin said, on April 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks. Yes it can work well for vesicles, however you then have some limitation on how your model is built, whether its a cell (neuron synapse for instance) or organelle (golgi, ER). Can be tricky. Works the best for abstract stuff like this where the base form doesnt matter too much :)

      Not sure that this can be done with maya. Dont believe maya has meta-balls/blobs, but I think it has blobby particles?

      Metaballs can work well for apoptosis, but I’ve had a lot of luck using a deformer in cinema 4d that displaces normals. Using the c4d displacement deformer, I’ve gotten results that look very much like metablobs. Below is an image of a model with a few stacked displacment deformers affecting it. The first deformer offsets the normals a bit via noise, then the new normals are displaced (via noise shader) with the 2nd deformer, which creates the balooning blobs. Don’t think this can be done natively in maya. Maybe via displacement shaders in mental ray?

      Apoptosis image

  2. pfx said, on January 10, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Wow that metaballs and sub-surface scattering is great.
    You could really sell this one as a tutorial (was that too obvious?) :)

  3. Henrik said, on January 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Hey Joel!
    This looks really really nice! Been trying to recreate the effect but im kindda lost about the texture.
    Would it be possible for you to give some hints about how you animated the texture? Is it all one material? :)

    • Joel Dubin said, on January 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      Its all one Material. For the texture I am using a noise shader (displaced voronoi inverted with some animated evolution turned on) in the color, luminanc, diffuse and bump channels along with some subsurface scattering layered in the luminance channel via the plugin shader Translucent Pro. I have a volumetric light pumped up to like 2 or 300% in the center so when the “negative” metaball moves through the light is revealed then is covered over again by the surface, illuminating the inside. Hope that helps.


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