GREEBLE conversion to Javascript - anyone interested ?

GREEBLE conversion to Javascript - anyone interested ?

I was writing an Email to Martin asking him if there is a possibility to implement an OpenSource Greeble code into Cheetah but of the OpenSource License restrictions he can't implement it into closed source (I have no idea about these things).

He mentioned that Cheetah has an extensive Javascript API (another "a what ?" thing) but I'm not a programmer, so I ask you hardcore programmers to make this work not for me alone but that everyone here could benefit from it as a free plugin if I can call it that.

it's from another program I had been looking into but it doesn't serve my needs and only for the greeble plugin... no...

On my website there are a few greeble renders with that plugin for you to look at to get some idea what this is all about.


looking forward to this becoming reality
don't be shy, I know you guys can do this :smile:
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Good idea

Coincidentally, I have been looking at examples of Greebles this past week, curious to see what CG tools are being used and if there was any way they could be adapted or licensed for use in C3D. The various models ranged in quality from basic (random sized cubic particles and reliefs on a grid) to much more complex surfaces with varied shapes, sizes, and patterns. Similarly, the overlaid materials range from a simple monochrome procedural mat to layered UV maps with image nodes and either displacement or normal bumps.

Like Seegson, I concluded it would be possible for someone with Javascipt experience to devise a C3D script with some settings for scale, geometric shapes/primitives/patterns/modules, randomness, and placement grid.

Possible starting points: displacement modifier, bump map, particle mesh, morph tag. Sequential random selection? Crumple?

I have no idea how difficult this would be, but even a simple script with a limited range of effects would be a technical breakthrough, and as always happens, C3D users would quickly find ingenious ways to apply greebles to get spectacular images.

Some of us recall the introduction of organic fractals in Bryce 3D, or the new material system in 2009's C3D version 5, which stimulated a flood of fantastic new materials showing up in the Decorated Pig forum thread. Hiroto et al added many useful scripts. We have just recently been given hyper-realistic PBR shaders and refractive caustics, and anticipate Subsurface Scattering. Adding a C3D Greeble-izer function would be a unique new feature and would be a lot of fun to experiment with.

There is something inherently beautiful about complex surfaces, whether rusty metal, rough stone, or the mechanical fixtures covering a Star Wars space ship. Google greeble images and YouTube examples to get the idea. I hope someone can make a script to get this started, then possibly update it in future versions.
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Well-known member

This looks like a great project for someone.

You might want to go to the Scripting section of the forum and make the request.

Good luck, I would love to see this on Cheetah.

Glad to finally learn the term for something I always marveled over without knowing how it's done.

That would be a great addition to Cheetah's modeling tool set.

Maybe you mail the great script wizard Hiroto directly and offer a donation?

In the mean time some really crazy shit can already be done with the existing scripts, particle systems, metaballs etc.

Glad to finally learn the term for something I always marveled over without knowing how it's done.

That would be a great addition to Cheetah's modeling tool set.

Maybe you mail the great script wizard Hiroto directly and offer a donation?

In the mean time some really crazy shit can already be done with the existing scripts, particle systems, metaballs etc.

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well, someone does see that a bit different :smile:
but I'm with you that this would be a great addition to Cheetah3D

I finish today to trial Cheetah3D if it's worth a buy for my workflow
looks rather dimm so far to buy a license
if I get weird responses from staff members asking about the software I'm already at over 50% distance to come back and buy it

Paste Spline and Path Array was another thing which I didn't know (if it would have worked, then great but it didn't)

so, I guess I'm done here and move along to search for another software

was great to converse with you guys and that you did understand the need for some great additions - I enjoyed that part at least

don't take it personal Frank, but I'm in the 3D industry for over 23 years and have seen everything there is and you are not a big enough fish to impress me
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Active member
Don´t know what´s going on here - but I had a good laugh at least. :p
Yeah weird. ? You didn't even say anything in here.

Anyway, podperson stated that he created a procedural city maker script for his book cover. It probably wouldn't be too far of a stretch for him to modify it (or someone else with the skills) for making Greebles. I'm no scripting / programming expert though, so he'd be the better one to answer that.
Greebles and nurnies are fun, but you mostly need them for science fiction scenes where they where born to make boring surfaces of starships look interesting. The millenium falcon is probably the most well known example of this (and at the time made by hand).

So there is not that much need for it on first sight.

And I don't know what the malicious comment seemingly out of nowhere meant, neither do I know what he suggests with 'weird responses form staff members'. An explanation wouldn't have been a bad idea as it's not easy to see his point, let's say near impossible. And, to be honest, I'm not that much impressed with some mileage in any industry (too often met specialists that were many years in their field but needed a little help to get things done ...).

But with one thing, even if not mentioned directly, seegson isn't far off: Cheetah hasn't much to offer as part of a workflow in todays professional 3d world. If it had a tool that not every other app had and that's available mostly as a plugin it could be interesting for this industry. This could be a good greeble tool or whatever, and I'm sure Martin could pull something like this off.
Open Source and C3D

Here is a question I've had for a long time that relates to this thread and might be of interest to others. We all understand that Martin is the sole architect/programmer/designer of C3D. But there seems to be some overlap between commercial/proprietary software (e.g. C3D) and Open Source/free software (e.g. Blender). Seegson's first post notes that due to "OpenSource License restrictions he can't implement [some particular greeble code] into closed source" C3D.

More promising, C3D has "an extensive Javascript API" which I understand to provide access to a library of modular functions that are available for incorporation into a C3D compatible script. I have a little HTML-related Javascript experience, just enough to know it's over my head and to inspire respect for Hiroto and others who have mastered it.

Seegson asked if it was possible to adapt a pre-existing greeble plug-in for C3D. He did not specify, likely didn't know, what programming languages might be involved. Javascript may or may not be relevant.

When C3D version 6 was released one of the new features was Bullet physics. It is open source software which I think Martin adapted via a license. I have a vague notion that he may have incorporated other features by similar licenses, like the new PBR materials.

So what are the technical or legal distinctions that allow or disallow the expansion of C3D with features from open source?

If Martin cannot incorporate such software as an integral feature within C3D, is there another possibility, to use an open-source greeble-izer as a stand-alone accessory?

Personally, I prefer to simplify my approach to CG by using Photoshop and C3D for 99% of my work. Other programs I've tried, from Bryce to Lightwave, were either too limited or too frustrating. So if there is a straightforward way to add a greeble-izer into C3D, that would be ideal.

How does this work? What is possible?
Hi Joel,

I can't answer for Martin, but give answers in general for such questions (let's Martin work on Cheetah instead :D ).

Open Source License
The owner of a copyrighted product has the possibility to use different license regulations and restrictions. In some cases it's legal to use the code in proprietary software, in others it isn't. The programmer of this particular greeble plugin seems to forbid this use. The license could be GNU license.

Excerpt from the wikipedia article:

Only if GPLed parts are used in a program (and the program is distributed), then all other source code of the program needs to be made available under the same license terms.

In other terms: if you use the code in a program, you have to give it away for free. You can read the wiki-article here:

But, as stated before, as creator of any work I have the right to allow or disallow the use (almost) as much I like. There is even the possibility of dual licensing like allowing the use for free under some restrictions and a commercial version.

Javascript may or may not be relevant.
It's javascript. As you seem to understand, the problem is usually less the programming language then the solution for the specific task. It should be possible to create such a greeble plugin in js. And I suspect that it wouldn't be much of a problem for someone like Hiroto. You could try to contact him as Misoversaturated suggested to seegson.

is there another possibility, to use an open-source greeble-izer as a stand-alone accessory?
Probably not. I don't know of any actual greeble standalone, as for most 3d packages are 'greeblers' available (even for zbrush where a plugin should be necessary).

They seem to be mostly old code, though, as you today have the possibility of using replicators or particle systems with which you could produce more or less the same effect. Should be possible with Cheetah's system, too.

Mostly, I gather, todays Greebles are more complex than anything such scripts delivered: like pipes, turrets, other kinds of interesting geometry that hasn't any function in the design of the depicted thing (for example a space ship) than to make it visually more interesting. There are 'Greebles' available as packages of prefabricated geometry you can arrange on your model (and with most apps today that's not that much of a fuss). There still seem to be more complex greeble plugins around who automatize this in certain apps, as much as I know.

And if you look at Seegson's example, it's not that much to look at. Mis' example isn't less interesting and done with the stuff that's already there.

If you want a free greebler, you'd have to use, blender, sorry.

And as you stated yourself in another post, much can be done with materials (i. e. displacement and / or normalmap, depending on the resolution).

Maybe you could find a Greebler-PBR.

Good luck


Active member
The problem with doing this as a JavaScript particle system is that the particle system doesn’t have enough control over the instances. You can just build out arbitrary geometry in a polygon script but I’m not sure if that’s scalable.

In general, you can do a lot of this with particle meshes.

I’m a bit confounded by the nastiness of the second post (not just the gratuitous insult at Frank). What the heck?