I just about gave up on this MRI cloud thing, when I discovered this blog post by a fellow Houdini user, where he mentions a Volume from Attrib node that will allow me to alter a volume using point attributes. I think this may be the answer I have been looking for in order to avoid using metaballs. We shall see.
On top of that, he mentions a major performance issue in Houdini 11 when dealing with instanced shaders. Specifically, it’s an issue with the displacement being calculated, even when it’s not needed. And he posted a link to a fix in the SideFX forums.
And on top of that… through his Vimeo profile, I found this slick MRI plugin for Lightwave.
I also have the opportunity of getting my own brain scanned. How creepy is that?