Greebler Addict

One of the things I love most about art, and visual media in general is complexity. I love getting lost in an image chock full of minute detail, whether it be a computer generated image (or SEM) of a blood clot, a detailed pen and ink panel from a graphic novel, or the pitted surface of a huge spaceship in a sci-fi film. I’m easily awestruck by complexity of detail and scale.

I strive to apply such detail to all the work I do in the field of medical animation, and whatever other types of cg artistry I find myself involved with. Detail generally takes a lot of time and focus. But sometimes a tool comes along that literally gets you most of the way there with a push of a button. Robert Templeton who develops plugins for Cinema 4D under the name Koroyume offers a plugin called Greebler which kind of does just that. I have had my eye on the plugin for a few years, but because I don’t do a lot of scifi vfx modeling in my day-to-day work, I put it on my wish list for a later time. A recent post by Robert in which he shares some personal hardships made me consider trying Greebler out, and I’m glad I did.

What ensued was a weekend of enjoyable experimentation, and a bit of geeky scifi fun. The plugin is easy to use, fast, and allows for users to create custom libraries of “greebles” and “nurnies”; terms used in the practical effects and cg vfx industry as well to describe the detailed panelling and chunks of metal machinery applied to a spaceship model or cityscape to add that extra level of complexity and realism. Just think of the Deathstar from Star Wars, or really ANYTHING from Star Wars and you get the idea. Getting back to the mentioning of “custom greeble libraries” I should mention that Greebler comes with built in ready to use “stock” greeble shapes with loads of parameters for tweaking.

Here are several images that came out of my initial Greebler playtime.

Five minutes after installing:

Below, I added some tubing on the surface–everything esle is Greebler.


In my last post, I talk about X-Particles and include a sample of liquid poured into a bowl. I took the skinned liquid, made it editable, frozen in time, and tried greebler on the surface of that object. Here are the results after dropping the object into a radial cloner and adding some antennae.

greebler liquid8

greebler liquid2

The results have a bit of that Gigeresque organic, yet mechanical feel, ala Alien or Prometheus. When I get a chance I’ll see if I can build some custom greebler libraries as the basic geometric obejects dont hold up well up close.

greebler liquid6

greebler liquid10

greebler liquid

And just a few more…

more greebly


So now the weekend is over, and time to get my head back into the more organic, biological work I do for a living, but it’s fun to take a detour now and then. Thanks for looking!

[Postscript: Still at it. Help.]

I’l just keep adding to this post as I come up with interesting results. Here’s another one. Some sort of big pipe thing. You can click on the mage to see better detail.Check back if you’d like!

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.59.30 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 11.12.03 PM

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 11.27.04 PM

Added 10/31/2013. Testing with VRAY 1.8. Still kind of a VRAY newb!
Just rearranged a few already greebled models.

Greebler city vray

And another VRAY 1.8 test 11/8/13. OK I think need to move on to something else…


X-Particles 2.5 Beta: some tests

I’ve been on the beta team for X-Particles, a particle plugin for Cinema 4D by the folks at Insydium Ltd. for about a year now. It’s been a real pleasure watching the plugin develop from the inside, and I’m continually in awe of the skill and talent demonstrated by the development team on a daily basis. X-Particles, which is currently at Release 2, with version 2.5 right around the corner, is destined to be the must have plugin for pro c4d motion graphics VFX (and medical) artists alike, if it isn’t already.

Among its many features, X-Particles Pro includes fluid dynamics, something that many C4D artists, myself included, have hoped would find it’s way into the software’s feature list for years. While there is still some growing to do in this area of the plugin package, I can say that this growth has accelerated greatly since version 2 was released, and I think many will be blown away by how easy fluids are to work with as well as the quality of the results in the upcoming 2.5.

Here are a few of my tests.

This short “teaser” began as a simple test of the upcoming “Move Over Surface” modifier. Particles are simply emitted towards a sphere, which the particles then land upon and traverse the surface of. A very common need with particle work, but was missing in X-Particles until now. I switched on fluid dynamics and was liking the way the particles flowed towards and onto the surface. I then used the Skinner generator object to mesh the particles, applied materials and lighting, and shot the scene from several angles.

What would make the results of that test better, would be the addition of wet maps on the surface of the metallic sphere, and better particle meshing, both of which hav been included since this clip was rendered. Xparticles 2.5 now includes wet map generation as well as two new particle mesh algorithms: Fluid, and Zhu-Bridson.

Below, I drop several million particles into a torus object. The particles are rendered with its’s proprietary particle shader. The particle shader and render engine in 2.5 have been enhanced by the development team to render in a fraction of the time compared with version 2.0. Partciles will also render using the C4D physical renderer, and render with refraction and reflection. This test not only demonstrates ray-traced rendering within a transparent, refractive object, but also illustrates some of the improvements in fluid/liquid dynamics.

Here are two more tests. A viscous pour into a half of a sphere. The first is the particles alone. the second is the meshed version of the same scene.

Hope to post some more tests soon.

To wrap up, I should say that this release is just amazing. Not the beta-fanboy hyperbole “amazing” but the fast, useful, jam-packed and affordable kind of amazing. So many areas have been improved since 2.0 and many new features have been added. XP is a lot of fun to work with and provides the c4d community an affordable arsenal of cg weapons that will aid not only your standard particle needs, but motion graphics, visual effects, and even modeling needs, for instance, using the skinner (XP’s meshing generator) in conjunction with particle painting allows for organic sculpting without the need for the outdated cumbersome and poorly topologized metaballs. If anyone has followed the development of similar 3rd party toolsets in other packages and thought, I want that too”, well there’s no doubt you’ll be getting that with X-particles. Already looking forward to version 3.

Thanks for reading.