What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (2023)

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Most beginners in Blender stick to the ordinary slew of 3D primitives and the most commonly-used tools. What these folks might not realize is that they might be missing out on possibilities that can help them elevate their 3D art.

What are metaballs, and why should you be using them? Here's our take on these highly versatile little globs of goo.

What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (1)

A metaball is a single point in 3D space that acts as the source of a static field of predetermined attributes governed by math alone.

Metaball objects look like very smooth spheres when you create one and do nothing else. Their appearance is largely an illusion, however, a reality that will only become more obvious as you observe the way that they interact with themselves, other metaballs, and the operators applied to them.

A polygon represents the outward-facing part of a clearly-defined surface in 3D space. Metaballs, on the other hand, are completely procedural. Their surfaces are implicit, as opposed to the explicit surfaces of ordinary geometry in Blender.

They might sound complicated, but they're actually very lean in terms of the ray-tracing required to reproduce them. They're simple in many ways, but they have a lot to offer 3D art of any kind.

How to Use Metaballs in Blender

What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (2)

To create a metaball in Object Mode, use the Add dropdown above or hit Shift + A. You'll find all of your metaball options under the Metaball pull-out. You can choose from any of the following:

(Video) Blender 2.8 Tutorial: Metaball explained ... the unsung heroes of 3D

  • Ball, a zero-dimension metaball derived from a single point.
  • Capsule, derived from a one-dimensional line.
  • Plane, created using a two-dimensional plane.
  • Ellipsoid, found by way of a three-dimensional ellipsoidal volume.
  • Cube, another three-dimensional metaball default, this time utilizing an underlying parallelepipedal volume.

After creating a metaball of any type, Tab into Edit Mode. You might be disappointed to see that your usual list of tools is no longer available. Fret not, however; the Blender metaball workflow is not difficult to learn.

Metaball Controls in Blender

What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (3)

In Edit Mode, your metaball should have two halos around it:

  • A green ring of Influence, which determines how malleable the metaball's surface is in relation to the other metaballs around it.
  • A pink Selection ring, which simply allows you to select the metaball directly.

These two rings are highlighted in Object Mode, but they aren't selectable until you hop over to Edit Mode. The Influence ring can act as another Selection ring for all operations aside from scaling the metaball up and down.

(Video) Blender Secrets - Metaballs Quickstart

Note that you can't really grab either like a gizmo. Instead, we suggest creating another metaball and watching what happens.

What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (4)

Yup, there they go. Kissing cousins. This fluid-like property is sometimes classified as mercurial, like beads of mercury after falling out of a thermometer.

What else can these metaballs do? How can we modify their behavior while both rings remain unturnable?

What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (5)

In the Properties panel, click into the Metaball tab for all of your options. You can adjust their resolution right at the top; just below, you'll be able to adjust their Influence thresholds, as well as choose your Update on Edit settings, which can help you tailor your metaobjects' real-time preview settings to meet the performance capacity of your computer.

Metaball Families

What Are Metaballs in Blender? How to Use Them (6)

You can selectively choose which metaballs in the scene are able to interact with one another by separating them into distinct families, opening the door to many possibilities when creating complex, highly-detailed models and scenes.

Funnily enough, metaball families are determined in the Outliner through moniker alone. Your first metaball will be called "Mball" by default. Creating more without doing anything else results in "Mball.001", "Mball.002", and so on.

(Video) Crazy METABALL Workflow in Blender (Tutorial)

Any combo-breaking name will mark the beginning of a new metaball family; these two molecules can be right on top of one another, but they'll both stand strong outside of any metaball interactions happening within each family independently.

The original metabody, called the base, is the "owner" of all the metaobjects that follow and needs to be included in the same scene as the metaballs in its domain. This will be the one to modify when adjusting the resolution and the Influence.

Advanced Settings and Features

Under the Active Element dropdown, you'll see a couple of advanced metaball options:

  • Type: You can switch up the underlying structure of any metaball after creating it.
  • Stiffness: The lower your Stiffness setting, the more resistant that the metaball will be to the Influence of others.
  • Radius: This is basically the scale of the meta "skin" around the theoretical primitive geometry beneath the "surface". Scaling it down tightens the skin around the primitive without denaturing it directly.
  • Negative: This toggle lets you choose the "charge" of the metaball "field". Flip the switch, and your negative metaball disappears, transforming into an invisible wedge that eats into other metaobjects with a positive disposition.
  • Hide: You can hide the metaball, which essentially just turns it off. A hidden metaball won't impact the shape of an unhidden one, but the effect will be restored when you unhide it later.
  • Size: Some metaobjects, like a metacube, allow you to change their dimensions in this panel.

It's worth mentioning that you can't really interact with the metasurface itself until it's been reduced to pure polygonal geometry, only the geometry beneath it that defines its behavior. Once you seal the deal, however, your blimps and blobs can be modified and sculpted, just like any other mesh in Blender.

Converting a metaball to a mesh will lock in your resolution and any interactions that you have going on therein. To convert a metaball in Blender, right-click on the metaball in Object Mode and select Convert > Mesh.

Related: Awesome Sites for Free Blender Textures

After some experimentation, you'll likely begin to notice some of the patent peculiarities that metaballs embody in 3D space:

  • When they get too close to one another, they lump themselves together.
  • When one is positive and one is negative, they cancel each other out depending on how close they are to one another—you can cut into metaballs organically using this approach.
  • The blobbiness of metaballs is exclusive to the metaball family of objects within Blender—that is, a metaball will never morph and combine with something like a cube or a curve.
(Video) Create amazing animations using Metaballs in blender 3.0

Some drawbacks to using metaballs include:

  • You can't use a Modifier on a metaobject directly, only on the converted mesh that results afterward.
  • You can't sculpt a metaball in Sculpt Mode, or use any other modes like Weight Painting.
  • Converted metaball meshes might be messy and asymmetrical (but they're usually easy to retopologize).
  • After converting a metaobject to a mesh, we found that our applied material settings got totally wiped in the process.

After getting used to these hiccups and little quirks, metaballs become an incredibly powerful way to create complicated, free-flowing structures quickly and easily.

Common Use Cases for Metaballs

There are plenty of ways to work laterally with metaballs. They can be used to produce procedural curved surfaces, all without messing around with inconvenient and cumbersome control points and handles.

You might consider a metaball workflow for any of the following situations:

  • Special effects.
  • Building an organic base for a character design or object, which you can then convert to a polygonal mesh for further refinement.
  • Creating realistic fountains, arcs, or jets of water.
  • Simulating liquid in zero gravity.
  • Weird, abstract, and funky graphic elements.
  • Gaseous planets like Jupiter.
  • Creating realistic cohesion and adhesion, especially when creating homemade textures of things like windows with water droplets or the condensation on the surface of a cold water bottle.

Any time you're dealing with something amorphous is a great time to try a metaball. Throw in a physics simulation or two, and you're on your way to the hyperrealistic lava lamp of your dreams.

Related: A Brief History of Blender

The best way to make a splash with metaballs is to drop a couple into your scene and start tinkering. Soon, you'll see how powerful metaobjects of any type are when designing organic models, characters, and props.


How do you use metaballs in Blender? ›

To add a metaball, press Shift+A, go to the metaball submenu and choose the shape you want. As you transform metaballs and move them close to each other they will seamlessly merge.

What are metaballs used for? ›

In solid modelling, polygon meshes are commonly used. In certain instances, however, metaballs are superior. A metaball's "blobby" appearance makes them versatile tools, often used to model organic objects and also to create base meshes for sculpting.

What are the 5 basic meta shapes in Blender? ›

You can select the base shapes: Ball, Tube, Plane, Ellipsoid and Cube.

What are meta objects in Blender? ›

Meta objects are literally mathematical formulas that are calculated on-the-fly by Blender. A very distinct visual characteristic of metas is that they are fluid mercurial, or clay-like forms that have a “rounded” shape.

What is the equation for metaballs? ›

Metaballs are technically just a point in space accompanied by an underlying mathematical formula which defines the Metaball's behavior surrounding its location. The typical formula for 3-dimensions... 1 / ((x0 - x)2 + (y0 - y)2 + (z0 - z)2)... derives from equation for a sphere.

What are the 4 main features of Blender? ›

  • Features.
  • Modeling.
  • Sculpting.
  • Animation & Rigging.
  • Story Artist.
  • Rendering.
  • Simulation.
  • Video Editing.

What is a meta strip in Blender? ›

A Meta Strip is a strip which contain multiple strips treated as if it was one strip. It allows you to reduce the vertical space used in the Sequencer. You can edited the same way as strips.

Is Blender a 4D? ›

Both Cinema 4D and Blender are 3D modeling software. They are powerful and offer many tools for photorealistic renders, simulations, and 3D animations. Your choice for selecting one should be based on your production requirements.

How does a family of meta shapes work in Blender? ›

Families of metas are controlled by a base meta object which is identified by an object name without a dot in it. For example, if we have three metas called MetaThing , MetaThing. 001 , MetaThing. round , the base meta object would be MetaThing .

Can you sculpt Metaballs? ›

Sculpting with Metaball (modeling)

Select Metaball→Capsule by pressing [Shift]+[A] and add a new capsule. Then change the size and position of the capsule according to the reference image.

How do you animate perfectly? ›

The 12 Animation Tips and Tricks to Master
  1. Use Squash & Stretch to Avoid Stiff Movement. ...
  2. Add Anticipation to Your Movement. ...
  3. Make Sure All Movement Has Follow Through. ...
  4. Add Arcs to Create Natural Movement. ...
  5. Ease In and Out of Your Movement. ...
  6. Use Your Frames to Create Intentional Timing. ...
  7. Make Use of Secondary Action.
Apr 21, 2021

How do I merge objects in mesh Blender? ›

Once it's selected, hold down “Shift” and left-click the other objects you want to join. The last object you select will be the parent. Once everything you want to be joined is selected, click on the “Join” button in the Object menu (as shown in the above image) or simply press “Ctrl + J”.

How do you mesh a circle in Blender? ›

Create a circle: Click Layout then Add > Mesh > Circle. You will see a circle in the centre of the scene. An "Add Circle" dialog will appear in the bottom left. Click the arrow to expand the “Add Circle” dialog.

How do I convert a circle to mesh in Blender? ›

Converting to Mesh

Make sure you're still in Object Mode, then select the text object. Right-click on the object, and select “Convert to Mesh” from the context menu. Select “Mesh” from the expanded menu.

What is a metadata object? ›

Object metadata is a set of name-value pairs. After you upload the object, you cannot modify object metadata. The only way to modify object metadata is to make a copy of the object and set the metadata. When you create an object, you also specify the key name, which uniquely identifies the object in the bucket.

Should I learn Blender for metaverse? ›

Since one of the aspects of the Metaverse is Augmented Reality (AR) and there are people using Blender to develop AR specifically for the metaverse, then yes, by example, Blender is a tool that is and will be used in the Metaverse.

Can Blender be used for metaverse? ›

Yes Now! We are Creating low poly 3D environments with Blender 3D ! 3D characters or, in other words, "3d avatars" are powerful parts of the virtual colorful world of the future. We will hear terms such as CryptoArt, blockchain, metaverse, NFTs more often and louder in the future.

How do you do an equation for a graph? ›

To find the equation of a graphed line, find the y-intercept and the slope in order to write the equation in y-intercept (y=mx+b) form. Slope is the change in y over the change in x.

What is the equation of curves? ›

The area under a curve between two points is found out by doing a definite integral between the two points. To find the area under the curve y = f(x) between x = a & x = b, integrate y = f(x) between the limits of a and b.

How are Metaballs turned into mesh? ›

Converting a metaball to a mesh will lock in your resolution and any interactions that you have going on therein. To convert a metaball in Blender, right-click on the metaball in Object Mode and select Convert > Mesh.

How long does it take to learn Blender? ›

It takes at least eight months of continuous learning to learn the visual effects functions of the Blender. Hence, after-effects functions let you create amazing compositions, and most of the time, it works. Hence, learning the visual effects can be a time-intensive process.

Is Blender a skill? ›

Blender is quite challenging to learn since it is complex with many tools and operations, but users may typically begin getting comfortable with the software after a few weeks. However, proficiency in Blender will take years of experience.

Can you get Blender on iPad? ›

Mirror the full Blender desktop app on your iPad with Astropad Studio. Astropad Studio mirrors your desktop to your iPad so that you can build and sculpt using the precision of your Apple Pencil with 3D apps like Blender and ZBrush.

What are the red lines in Blender? ›

The red and green lines are the axes of the world coordinate system. They meet at the world origin, which is also where the origin of the Cube is located.

What are the blue lines in Blender? ›

In Blender you can move objects by using the blue, green, and red handles: The blue handle to go up and down on the z-axis, the green handle to go left and right on the y-axis, and the red handle to go in and out on the x-axis.

What are the lines in Blender called? ›

Edges. An edge always connects two vertices by a straight line. The edges are the “wires” you see when you look at a mesh in wireframe view. They are usually invisible on the rendered image.

Is Blender 3D difficult? ›

In conclusion, Blender 3D is a powerful and versatile software for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering. However, it can be challenging for beginners to learn due to its steep learning curve and complex interface. But with time and practice, it can be mastered.

Is Blender a VR? ›

The VR Scene Inspection add-on exposes and extends the native virtual reality features of Blender in the user interface. The feature set is limited to scene inspection use cases. More advanced use cases may be enabled through further development inside of Blender.

Do 3D printers use Blender? ›

Blender has supported 3D printing modeling and file formats since 2002. However, with Blender version 2.67 this now is even more accessible and powerful, thanks to the 3D Printing Toolbox and real-time Mesh Analysis features. This training is for everyone who is into 3D printing, beginners and professionals alike.

Can an object have two parents Blender? ›

In general when using Ctrl-P or 3D View Header ‣ Object ‣ Parent to parent objects, the Child Objects can only have one Parent Object. If a Child Object already has a Parent Object and you give it another parent then Blender will remove the previous parent relationship.

How do you manipulate shapes in Blender? ›

After you have created a mesh, you can go into Edit mode (Tab key or Mode option in window) and change its shape. In edit mode, you can work with the shape's individual verticies (mesh intersections) to create the shape you want. You know you're in edit mode when you see pink or yellow dots on the selected object.

How do you make a 3d knife with a blender? ›

To use Knife Project, first while in Object Mode, select the “cutting object” then add to that selection with Shift-RMB the “object to be cut”. Now, enter Edit Mode and press Knife Project (found in the Toolbar). 3D View Alignment to adjust the projection axis.

How do you make a curved 3d in blender? ›

Press: SHIFT + A → Curve → Bezier to create a new curve. Switch to top view NUM7 for a clearer look. You may want to zoom in a bit as well.

Can blender burn? ›

Your blender may be equipped with a thermal breaker that shuts down the motor if it starts overheating, so while there's little risk of fire, the blender still might start smoking. If the blender is running for more than a minute on a low power speed, it's likely the motor overheating. Let the blender cool down.

How do you use material nodes in Blender? ›

Click the “Use Nodes” button, and immediately two node windows should appear, a Material one and Output one. Click on the title of the Material node window, and use XKEY or DEL to get rid of it. Go to the “Add” menu, “Input” submenu, and add a new “Geometry” node. Also add a new “Extended Material” node.

How do I use annotations in Blender? ›

Annotation Tools

Click and drag to create a line. Optionally, you can select the arrow style for the start and end of the line. Click multiple times to create multiple connected lines, then press RMB , Return or Esc to confirm. Click and drag to remove lines.

How do I use a sphere in Blender? ›

The To Sphere option can be invoked from the Mesh ‣ Transform ‣ To Sphere menu option or by pressing Shift-Alt-S . The amount of sphericity given to the selection can be determined interactively by moving the mouse or by typing a number between 0 and 1. Pressing Return will confirm the transformation.

How do I learn nodes in Blender? ›

Let us take the base material and hit the Nodes button next to the material name in the material panel or the Node editor. You will see a change in the material panel. Use material nodes button. What you have just done is told Blender to make the material you were on to become the node tree.

How do you blend meshes in Blender? ›

First, select the faces > press “X”> Delete Faces. Step 3: Now go into the object model within Blender. Select the first object and select the second one while pressing “Shift” on the Keyboard. Step 4: Go into the Object menu > Join to make both meshes into one object.

How do you use multiple materials in Blender? ›

Multiple Materials
  1. In Object Mode, create a base material.
  2. Go into Edit Mode and Face Select (a new list will appear below the Active Material list with Assign, Select, Deselect buttons).
  3. Select the faces to be colored with the second material.

What does Ctrl F do in Blender? ›

CTRL-F. Sort Faces. The faces of the active Mesh Object are sorted, based on the current view in the 3DWindow. The leftmost face first, the rightmost last.

What does Ctrl C do in Blender? ›

Ctrl - C – Copy the selected text. Ctrl - X – Cut the selected text.

What does Ctrl B do in Blender? ›

Render Border

When using rendered shading mode, it can be quite slow to render the entire 3D View. To fix this, you can define a render border to render just a portion of the viewport instead of the entire viewport. A render border is defined by Ctrl-B and can be removed with Ctrl-Alt-B .

How do you make a 3d circle in Blender? ›

Create a circle: Click Layout then Add > Mesh > Circle. You will see a circle in the centre of the scene. An "Add Circle" dialog will appear in the bottom left. Click the arrow to expand the “Add Circle” dialog.

How do I use Blender VR? ›

  1. Open Blender and go to Preferences then the Add-ons tab.
  2. Click 3D View then VR Scene Inspection to enable the script.

How do you extrude mesh in Blender? ›

To force a vertex or edge selection to extrude as a vertex or edge, respectively, use Alt-E to access the Extrude Edges Only and Vertices Only.


1. Getting Started with METABALLS in Blender! (Beginners Start Here!)
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2. A trick to fade between deferent colors metaballs in blender tutorial part 1
3. Create An Organic Animation with Metaballs (Blender Tutorial)
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4. #roundCaps - Metaball Curves in Blender
5. Metaballism: Metaballs as Swiss Army Knife
6. Geometry nodes using metaballs (Blender 3+)
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