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What are the memory/system requirements for MetaForm?
MetaForm's base system requirements are identical to
Poser's minimum requirements, with a very small overhead
for the memory footprint of the plug-in.
However, as with Poser, the more you attempt to do
with MetaForm in a scene, the greater the memory requirements.
We recommend, for reasonably complex work using the
supplied Presets, that users have at least 512MB RAM
and also 100 MB free disk space.
What does MetaForm do?
In Poser there are three standard ways to manipulate
geometries: translation operations including movement,
rotation and scaling, deformation operations controlled
by joints and magnets and morph operations. MetaForm
adds a fourth type of geometric manipulation to your
Poser scenes: dynamic surfacing.
This is achieved by the introduction of a new type
of Poser object (a surface) the geometry and mapping
of which is calculated dynamically frame by frame according
to the location and attributes of special underlying
MetaForm and MetaFlow props and special parameters that
can be added to any normal Poser prop and figure.
MetaForm's dynamic surfaces are further enhanced with
advanced material mapping options, multi layer depth
effects and particle simulation (MetaFlow) tools.
What can you do with MetaForm?
MetaForm doesn't have a single specific use but instead
adds a considerable amount of additional functionality
to Poser. During the development process we concentrated
on ensuring that certain key effects such as basic modeling,
fire sources and water surfaces and fountains could
be achieved but these only represent a sample of the
How is Drops related to MetaForm?
Drops and MetaForm both use the same basic technology
to create volumetric surfaces around "field generating"
objects in the Poser scene. In Drops the only objects
are single point source metaballs (or blobs).
The current version of Drops (v1.0) is a slightly older
implementation of the code, but it is intended to update
this in the future.
What new features does MetaForm have compared to Drops?
MetaForm provides the following main features in addition
- Different shaped field generating objects in addition
to single point metaballs include boxes, spheres,
cones, cylinders, planes, disks and filaments.
- Advanced field characteristics including noise and
- Advanced automatic UV mapping options for the surfaces
including multiple projection types, perturbation
and inherited texture coordinates from the underlying
field generators which can be used as blending controls
for P5 materials.
- Multiple surfaces.
- Multi layer (onion-skin) surfaces for depth material
- Virtual metaball generators (emitters), deflectors
and consumers for creating fluid flow and gaseous
- Integration with Poser figures and props allowing
them to generate fields and emit/interact with particles.
Are there any plans for Mac development?
We fully intend to support the Mac community and once
the immediate (PC) release support is covered we will
begin to look at Mac porting issues. Technical requirements
still need to be addressed and no decision has yet been
made as to whether ProPack will be supported or just
P5/OS-X. Nor has a decision yet been made as to whether
the current version of MetaForm will be ported or whether
multi platform support will be deferred to the next
In the meantime, our free metaball product (Drops)
will serve as a "test bed" for any interface
changes needed for cross platform/application porting,
so a Mac version of that should appear as soon as we've
covered the main technical requirements.
Q. Why are there no editing functions? Do you intend
to add them?
Given the level of interest amongst users, some limited
editing functionality is under consideration for inclusion
in future updates of the current product.
Future products will likely concentrate more on the
modeling possibilities, including CSG modeling which
will necessarily require more advanced editing functionality.
Does MetaForm support, or will it ever implement Booleans?
"True" Booleans (Constructive Solid Geometry)
modeling is one of the key features in the product list
for the next major release of MetaForm. It was excluded
from the current version as the intention there was
to concentrate on maximising the potential of the fluid
simulation/iso-surface meta-modelling technology.
The current technology has some potential to emulate
CSG modeling techniques by use of the solid MetaForm
types and a combination of high subdivision and interpolation
to reduce the surfacing inaccuracies that are prone
to occur when generating regular forms with the sampling
techniques used by MetaForm.
Why do you need the surface button toggles?
The reasons for the toggle function are firstly that
the surfacing calculations can be quite time consuming
in "busy" scenes which would reduce interactivity
if they were performed every time that a metaball was
adjusted and secondly that individual MetaForm props
and the interactive surface are actually separate props:
the visibility needs to be switched between the (interactable)
MetaForm props and the (dynamically calculated, but
immobile) surface prop.
The surface toggle action both reduces the need for
continual recalculation and controls the visibility
of the props.
Why, when I apply a preset to a prop does it have no
The Presets that we have provided are generally of
two separate types: Surface Presets (pose files applied
to surface props which mainly set the materials and
UV mapping parameters) and Emitter Presets (like the
flamethrower) which set the particle dynamic parameters.
As the Presets are implemented as a special type of
Pose file (pz2 or p2z) which set specifically named
parameters and materials, they need to be applied to
the correct type of props to have any specific effects.
Q. Why is a simulation/surfacing action necessary before
the surface parameters become available for editing?
This isn't in fact necessary. The Surface prop that
has the parameters can be edited at any time after it
is created; either as a default action when MetaForm/MetaFlow
props are added to an empty scene, or explicitly through
the Create Surface button. When a Surface prop is first
created and when it is not active, it has no geometry
and therefore cannot be directly selected by the mouse
in Poser's document window. However, it can still be
accessed through the actor->props drop down menu
under the document window or in the P5 parameters palette
and the "current active" surface can also
be selected by clicking on its name above the surfacing
buttons of the plug-in.
Q. Why can't I increase the number of simulation frames
The number of frames is limited to the total number
of animation frames in the Poser scene, which can be
set by typing a new value into the Frames XXX of YYY
field in the animation controls at the bottom of the
Strictly we didn't need to constrain the simulation
length to the scene animation frame limits, but simulating
extra frames does take more time and require more storage
for frames that likely weren't going to be shown in
an animation. If you need more frames, you need to set
number of animation frames in Poser first, before performing
The Number of Pre-Frames however, is not really limited,
but pre-frame information is not stored, it just helps
establish the "starting position" of the dynamic
effects at the first frame.
Q. Why does the surface disappear when the plug-in is
closed? Is there any way to save a file with the surface
It is a "designed-in" feature, the rationale
being that removing all of the excess geometry reduces
save times and save file size and whenever MetaForm
functionality is re-enabled the geometries generally
get recalculated again anyway.
If you want to use the surface geometries without the
plug-in active, it is possible to save the pz3 file
while surfacing is active in the plug-in and then, after
closing the plug-in, revert or reload the file with
the surface geometry present. Otherwise you can export
the surfaces in a supported format using Poser's File->Export
menu option (Wavefont Object format is best) and re-import
them as a static prop.
Q. When I apply a Preset, why does my emitter still
output the default white surface material?
The material settings are controlled by the Surface
Presets, so loading an emitter with a preset will not
actually change the surface materials of the emissions.
If a Surface Preset has been loaded to a Surface prop
and the emitter output still shows the same default
surface, it is possible that the emitter is associated
with a different surface than the one intended. Most
MetaForm and MetaFlow props are associated with a specific
surface. If they are created when there are no surfaces
present in the scene, the plug-in creates a default
surface. Otherwise it associates the prop with the "current
active" surface, i.e. the one named above the plugin's
Surfacing buttons. In order to find which surface a
specific MetaForm/MetaFlow prop is associated with,
select the prop and the name of the active surface in
the plug-in window will change to the one associated
with the prop.
The association between the props and the surfaces
cannot be changed so if a MetaForm/MetaFlow prop is
associated with the "wrong" surface, the only
option is to delete it and create a new prop.
Q. Why, when I parent a MetaForm prop to another object
in Poser, does the MetaForm prop shrink?
When a prop is parented to another in Poser the prop's
position and scale parameter values are recalculated
relative to the new parent, so that the prop retains
its current size and position in the universe, but has
parameter values that are relative to the new parent.
The same applies to un-parenting, in which case the
new parent is the Poser universe. You can see the parameters
values change when you perform a parenting operation
on a prop.
The scale channels of MetaForm props are influenced
by channel linking to the field extent and object scale
parameters of the prop. This linking causes problems
when MetaForm props are parented to one another or to
other Poser actors. When Poser recalculates the parameters
for MetaForm props it fails to take account of the effects
of the scale channel linking and therefore the final
calculations are wrong. However, if you manually reset
the scale parameter values after parenting, the MetaForms
continue to work in the normal way.
Q. I'm having trouble enabling emissions for the tongue
of a dragon figure to create a fire breathing effect?
In the case of figures its not possible to restrict
emissions to a single actor, but it would be possible
to export a body part, re-import it as a prop, parent
it to the original body part (with bends enabled), enable
particle emissions (as a prop) and then turn it invisible,
hence giving the same impression as a single body part
emitter. However, for a "projection" effect
like a dragon's breath, there is a problem with this
method as the direction of the particle emissions is
determined by the direction of the polygon normals.
A better idea for this effect is, however, using a
Directional Emitter prop positioned and parented within
the dragon's mouth. The Flamethrower Preset is specifically
intended to be used with Directional Emitters and is
also intended for animation use as an 'event'. The particle
emissions actually start at zero in the first frame,
but then increase to 200 at frame 5. The full flame
effect is visible at about frame 20-30. On the other
hand, for still work you can always load the flamethrower
preset and set the emitter's Particle Rate parameter
to 200 at the first frame. The pre-frame calculations
use the first frame's parameter settings, so this should
create a flamethrower effect from the outset. In order
to increase the length of the flame increase the emitter's
Particle Velocity parameter and in order to increase
the "hotness" of the flame, reduce the emitter's
Particle VMod Rate parameter. Also you can use deflectors
to deflect the path of flames or enable particle deflections
for mesh objects in the path.
Q. Can I control the random output/direction from an
emitter to create pulses like a sprinkler?
The pulses are random although the randomness is controlled
by a spline curve with periodicity set by the Variance
However if you want something more controllable, all
of the relevant particle rate and velocity parameters
can also be keyframed. With use of the Poser animation
graph it shouldn't be too difficult to set up an animation
using spline breaks and/or linear keyframes to set up
a pulsing emitter. For the direction in a rotating sprinkler,
set the x or z angle for the emitter prop, and then
rotate the emitter around the y axis throughout the
duration of the animation.
Q. How can I make particle emissions look more like
Sprinkler and fountain effects expose some drawbacks
in the Poser/MetaForm implementation of fluid dynamics
as the number of particles needed for a really good
effect can be great and, unfortunately we're restricted
to creating the fluids effects with geometry, hence
extremely dense meshes and large simulation costs.
However itís easy to "add volume" to parts
of a fountain by using (static) MetaForm props with
relatively low particle requirements without losing
the effect of individual droplets. So the MetaForm prop's
cumulative field strength is lower than the threshold
value of the surface, they will not, by themselves create
a geometry, but the emitter generated droplet will enhance
the field strength and create additional volume where
they pass through the MetaForms' extents without losing
the effect of a dynamic fluid flow.
Q. Can I use MetaForm to create atmospheric effects
like rain or snow?
As with the question above all the MetaForm surfaces
are created in Poser geometry and there are limits to
the amount of geometry that can be created or calculated
in a scene. For precipitation effects intended to fill
a scene the total amount of geometry would be prohibitive.
Creating precipitation using the P5 material room or
depth mapping and post work would be a better approach.
MetaForm may well be useable to create localised areas
or precipitation and multi layer surfaces and clever
transparency mapping could also be used to create larger
"flurries" of precipitation. Animatable volumes
of fog can also be created using solid MetaForm props
with zero Field Strength, high Volume Noise and low
Noise Phase Rate parameter values associated with high
Is there a manual supplied? Where is it?
The manual link in the HTML readme of the DAZ installer
was incorrect. The User's Guide in the DAZ product is
installed in the "Readme's\ProductLists\WeirdJuice"
folder under the Poser directory where the product was
installed. The file name is "MetaForm Users Guide.pdf".
Q. Cannot download Drops? WinZip reports that the file
This is an uncommon but recurring problem with
downloads from our website. The cause is still under
investigation. In the meantime the problem can be solved
by locating and deleting the temporary copy of the file
that the browser caches the download in before attempting
to re-download the file. This file has the same name
as the download and may be found in one of the temporary
system folders, e.g. "Documents and Settings\User
Name\Local Settings\Temp" or in a subfolder under
the browser's installation folder.
MetaForm reports a "Newer version of Poser Required"
When started, MetaForm performs a check on the version
number and Python functionality of the Poser installation.
With Poser ProPack MetaForm requires SR3 and with Poser
5 MetaForm has been tested to run on SR 2.1 or greater.
If this check fails, it is recommended that Poser is
upgraded with the latest SR (service release) pack available
from the Curious Labs website. If your version of Poser
is patched to the required level, but this error nevertheless
still occurs, it may indicate some level of corruption
in the Poser/Python installation. A re-installation
followed by a reboot is recommended.
Q. MetaForm Reports: "Traceback (most recent call
last): > File "<string>", line 45,
in ? > ImportError: No module named MetaFormP*.pyd"
This is an indication of some level of corruption in
the Poser Python installation or registry settings often
occurring when Poser has been relocated from its original
installation location. A re-installation and reboot
is recommended. Alternately, copying either or both
the files MetaFormP4PP.pyd and MetaFormP5.pyd into the
directory "Runtime\Python\DLLs" may also solve
this problem, but may need to be repeated if there are
any future upgrades to the MetaForm installation in
the default directory.
Q. When I try to add a blob in Drops, Poser reports
an error saying it cannot find the file wjxtempprop.pp2
The problem is that the file in question is a temporary
prop file that the plug-in creates and then asks Poser
to load. It is specified without an explicit path, on
the assumption that if the plug-in created it in the
"current directory" Poser would be able to
find it. When we updated the code for MetaForm, that
was identified as an assumption, and the path was explicitly
The solution may not work because itís possible that
the plug-in deletes the file after use, but it may just
delete the "wayward" copy. The other possible
problem is that the blobs and anti-blobs may be indistinguishable,
since they both use the same (copied) temp file. However,
the anti-blob is really just a convenience button, and
you can easily turn a blob into an anti-blob just by
negating the value of the field strength parameter to.
An update to Drops is expected to be released in the