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How to create the outer nodes effect in Blender Cycles, including the lines? I know this is achieved using a particle system, but don't know how.

Also can anybody suggest any plugins for blender that does the same?


I would use Sverchok (A Blender node system for Geometry)

Click on the image to view full size.

Sverchok nodes and generated geometry

How it works is you feed Sverchok a base mesh, in this case the blue Icosphere with some distorted noise displacement. This mesh is used to generate a second set of vertices positioned some distance away in the direction of the vertex normal. The vertex normal is defined by the average face normal of all faces which are connected to a vertex.

This new set of vertices has the same vertex index order, this means we can reuse the edge list (list of vertex indices which makes up each edge) and create tubing from the resulting edges.

The new set of vertices is also used to place duplicated instances of the node sphere (in this case a NURBS SurfaceSphere)

  • Alpha_0 : This mesh is outputted by the BMeshViewDraw node. Because it's only outputting one mesh the name has _0 appended. This node outputs the new (offset) vertices.
    • In the properties of Alpha_0 switch on duplication to Vertex.
    • (I dragged the duplication menu-item to the top for convenience) enter image description here
  • Sigma_0 : The tubes, Curve Objects, generated by SvCurveViewer Sigma. These tubes are built from new vertices and old edge list. enter image description here

  • SurfSphere: In properties set the parent to Alpha_0, this will then duplicate the SurfSphere at every vertex of Alpha_0's mesh.
    enter image description here.

You'll notice as soon as you parent an object, that the child becomes part of the parent item. The outliner shows it like this:

enter image description here


animated gif

Pros and Cons:


  • Learn Sverchok, it can be applied to many scenarios involving geometry
  • Sverchok is 150+ nodes which can be combined to give a massive amount of modulation in your end result
  • I co-write Sverchok, if you have questions about how it works visit the issue tracker.


  • You have to install and enable Sverchok, it does not come with Blender
  • At first it might seem confusing, but it works very similar to any other node system. Nodes take input and perform some operation and produce output. Each node does something different, generally the name of the node is sufficient to indicate what it does.
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Nice to see a Sverchok answer! $\endgroup$
    – p2or
    Apr 22 '15 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ @poor, Thanks! it took me 40 seconds to build the Sverchok Node tree from nothing, but much much longer to write this Answer. It's probably not for beginners, but only because addon installation can be a pain. $\endgroup$
    – zeffii
    Apr 22 '15 at 8:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Hehe :) As we can see it's a powerful toolset, would be nice to have more answers here to learn it... I will think about questions :) $\endgroup$
    – p2or
    Apr 22 '15 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ Amazing! How have I not come across this until now!? :D $\endgroup$
    – ajwood
    Apr 22 '15 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ @ajwood team Sverchok's efforts to evangelize have been directed mostly at Design and Architecture communities, but anyone with a vague notion of what a Vector and Matrix are can roll with it. Development has slowed down because it is mostly feature complete now and functions as a proof of concept. Ideally we would write the modules in a JIT compiled language for speed. it's still v0.5.1.1 and by no means immune from bugs. $\endgroup$
    – zeffii
    Apr 22 '15 at 15:54

If you're not married to the particle system idea, you could model this with a a few meshes.

  1. dupliverts with a sphere child
  2. wireframe modifier
  3. scaled down solid

1) Make the mesh (I did this with an icosphere and some proportional editing):

enter image description here

You can make the duplicates now with Shift+D in object mode.

Add a sphere (I did a low-poly icosphere with a subsurf modifier and smooth shading).

Make your main mesh a parent of the new sphere (select the sphere, then shift+select the main mesh, then Ctrl+P parent to object).

Set the main object to duplivert:

enter image description here

enter image description here

2) On one of your duplicates, add a wireframe modifier:

enter image description here

3) For your final duplicate, simply scale it down a bit to fit inside the others.

enter image description here

My result:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I am not getting Those Icospheres on the vertices of the Mesh , should i place it manually ? $\endgroup$ Apr 22 '15 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Mad_Dog No, your settings are wrong. You should get them only at the vertices. $\endgroup$
    – VRM
    Apr 22 '15 at 14:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mad_Dog wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Manual/Modeling/Objects/… If you follow the steps in ajwood's answer it will work. In short, Add a sphere at the same location as the mesh. Parent the sphere to the base mesh. Then on the base mesh object set the duplication type to Vertices. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Apr 22 '15 at 14:18
  • $\begingroup$ I Tried it , but when The Spheres are on the vertices and i add a wireframe modifier , only the sphere renders at the vertices , and not the wireframe . It does show up on the Scene though $\endgroup$ Apr 23 '15 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Mad_Dog: don't wireframe the duplivert mesh; leave the duplivert mesh alone and add the wireframe to object#2. The 1, 2 and 3 bullets in my answer are each their own object (created at at "You can make the duplicates..." step). #1: dupliverts/sphere-child. #2: wireframe modifier. #3: scaled down solid. $\endgroup$
    – ajwood
    Apr 23 '15 at 13:14

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