I'm fascinated by the beautiful images Lee Griggs is able to create with Maya modelling and Arnold rendering.. e.g:

example image

I'm attempting to reproduce his effect in Blender. My first stab at it is adding a big pile of cubes to the scene, displacing them according to an external texture, and adding a common material with colour based on object position. This massive number of objects seems to be too much for Blender to handle (or maybe I just need to get a better computer?).

Should it be possible to create such an image in Blender? If so, what tricks might one need to know about, in order to get around computational limitations? Or should I accept that some things just can't be done?

  • $\begingroup$ There definitely seems to be stuff hiding behind the taller towers.. that must be geometry, no? $\endgroup$
    – ajwood
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ ... or are you suggesting that there would be some very rough geometry in the example image, but small variations would be texture maps? $\endgroup$
    – ajwood
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:17
  • $\begingroup$ The point of those images afaik was to demonstrate the new xgen system, which was made to handle those massive amounts on instanced geometry. Honestly I don't think blender could even come close to that if every instance is a separate object, but it might work if you were somehow able to join them into one mesh. $\endgroup$
    – Greg Zaal
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ When my scene with thousands of gears started bogging down the 3D view someone on IRC suggested I switch to using Empties with a DupliGroup. wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manual/Modeling/Objects/… $\endgroup$
    – Mutant Bob
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ Blender does support instancing. If you could describe a specific problem? Perhaps the view port speed? You may need more ram (at least 8 GB is what I work with, with large mesh 16GB+) and a decent graphics card with lots of memory. $\endgroup$
    – beiller
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Try using dupliverts:

enter image description here

It's not really that pretty, but this is just a demo.. Rendered in 6 minutes

  1. Create a very subdivided plane, then delete only edges and face so that you are left with just vertices.

  2. Add a cube and parent it to the plane.

  3. Add a displace modifier on the plane, and setup a texture to use a displacement.

  4. Enable dupliverts on the plane.

  • $\begingroup$ Amazing!:D I've never really understood dupliverts.. which came up in an answer yesterday $\endgroup$
    – ajwood
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ High vertex count definitely out performs high object count, whether it is one single mesh object or dupliverts - this answer compares different ways of creating multiple cubes. $\endgroup$
    – sambler
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 4:39

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