How far can metaballs go

I’ve seen metaballs used mainly for liquids or oozes. However, this article demonstrates a whole figure done with metaballs.

That article discusses some of the drawbacks to metaobjects, but I’m thinking of a project where I may model one or more animated characters with just metaobjects. The biggest thing I’m attracted to is not having to worry about weight painting; I’d just parent metaobjects to bones. For this particular project I also don’t need the final models to be particularly detailed - I just need 2D renders I can edit later - so I may not even need an actual mesh.

Do you guys think it’s worth a shot?

It is certainly worth a shot.

One drawback to metaball models is the difficulty of texturing. If you animate the model, it will ‘swim’ through the texture.

I’m not really worried about texturing. After all, I’d be editing the 2D renders afterwards. The model is more of a template. It would be nice if I could colourize each metaball with a different material though.

Is it possible to parent metaballs though? So, an arm metatube would only merge with a shoulder metaball and hand metaball? That would certainly increase the utility of metaobjects.


After an experimental model of a figure last night I’ve decided that box modeling with subserf might be just as easy. It looked like I’d need a ton of little metaballs to block out shapes that aren’t already basically round. Plus, I get mirroring, particles/hair, cloth, and other things metaballs lack.

Hopefully for animation I can set things up so that I can just bone heat weight everything.