[Feature Request] Growing things natively in Notch?

Hi, Notch Team.
I take it there’s just one way to grow geometry in Notch (save for the Procedural objects): by using Lightwave + Fertilizer plugin + importing via the 3D Object Node. Are there any plans to implement something like that in Notch? I’m sure people will like growing shaded tubes, tentacles, branching veins, lightning bolts, etc. natively in Notch. How do you feel about that?

Hi Andrei,

It’s something I’m interested in. There’s a few ways this can go, and I’ve done both before…

  • Generating geometry from particle trails / splines / generative systems / etc that grows as the splines/particles move.
  • Fertilizer-style revealing of geometry from a seed point. It’s really useful effect (we’ve used it for 10 years by now)… but Fertilizer grow times are currently baked into vertices on object load, so we’d need to make a way to do this at runtime, from a given start location.
    Which way are you thinking?


Hi, Matt.
Both ways are cool, but the first one seems more flexible in terms of control over events (branching time and conditions, using different particle renderers (e.g. growing fruits on a tree), affecting color/velocity by attributes etc.) and path deformations (i.e. electric arcs, wind effects etc.). The question is how to generate shaded tubes effectively given that the existing particle emitters are optimized for insane particle counts? If real geo is created, some 150k particles might bring even a powerful machine on its knees…

Another cool feature might be ‘animated bevels / extrusions’. Growing tentacles from selected polygons + moderate subdivision on top is a killer effect. I’m talking about something like Mograph Extrude Effector in c4d.
My guess is that it’s done by growing splines from polygon/selection center and then sweeping the extruded geo over them. Should be possible, but again… may turn out to be expensive performance-wise if vertex positions are evaluated each frame. The other thing is that this will require some selection mechanism to be designed for Notch. If on-screen selection is not an option, selection primitives + selection by texture (werkkzeug4 style) + random / procedural pattern selection seems the way to go.


Seconded on the thought about potentially having a similar effect as the Extrude Effector in c4d. This is a clever way to really quickly manipulate things, but yes, you’d have to have some sort of on-screen selection to really be helpful/effective, so maybe it is a bit bigger of an ask.

Currently, a good workaround would be to do the growth / animation in a 3D modeling program like C4D. Then just import the C4D scene with the animation baked into point data.

Of course, in this scenario you would have to go back to C4D to tweak your animation, but honestly not a terrible workflow given what each software excels at.
Personally, I find C4D easier to work with meshes and objects at the moment. Notch is far superior for particles and of course, real time rendering.

Hi, Kevin.
There’s no denying that c4d is a great piece of software, but still… it’s pricey. I wonder if it’s possible to bring baked PLA data to Notch from Blender. Maybe .obj sequence?
I’m not sure Notch supports that. Any other ideas?

You can use the MDD format to bake vertex caches / PLA from most 3D tools and load into Notch, and use them on an MDD deformer. Your 3D object’s vertex count needs to match that of the MDD.

Two new features in the next release:

  • Spline extruder geometry node : turns splines into thickened 3D geometry.
  • Fertilizer grow times deformer (may be renamed before release…) : generates the fertilizer-style per-vertex mesh revealing effect on any object directly in Notch, as a deformer.

Hi, Matt.

MDD: Cool. Thanks for the hint. :slight_smile:

New features: Those are really hot! I’m thinking of requesting the current beta. Does it make any sense now? Or is it too early? :wink:

P.S. By the way… Since we’re talking tubes here… I wonder if you have plans to implement a renderer allowing the user to render mesh edges as shaded tubes?


You could also try FBX since that contains animation data. This is the format Mixamo will give you for character rig animations.

Hi, Kevin.
As far as I know Notch uses FBX for bone animations. Are you sure it can import PLA data as well?

We load PLA data from C4D now, yep.