2D Solidify for Extrusions

When extruding outward the edges of an oblong rectangle (say, wider than it is tall), the new edges are proportionately as oblong as the original, making for thinner top/bottom quads and thicker sides. It is frequent however that we want the widths of the new surrounding quads to be equal, as when forming a picture frame around the rectangle.

Scaling along normals with Alt-S or a solidify modifier go in the wrong dimension, since the normals are perpendicular to the quad, so what you’d need is for each vertex to scale along the line that bisects the angle of the shared edges of the vertex it’s extruding from, which for right angles would be 45 degrees.

Currently my workaround for such precision is to extrude each of the 4 edges separately, inputting the distance manually on each so they’re the same, but is there perhaps a more direct way to do this - i.e., a 2D Solidify?

If I understand you correctly, I would use the inset-extrude addon http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Extensions:2.6/Py/Scripts/Modeling/Inset-Extrude
The inset polygon addon I believe can only do an inset http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Extensions:2.6/Py/Scripts/Modeling/Inset-Polygon

Almost; I tried both Inset-Polygon and Inset-Extrude, and while they don’t scale the new vertices directly to the center like regular scaling (they do form a horizontal line in the middle), they still don’t form edge polys of equal widths. If you try insetting a long rectangle, then duplicate one of the longer top/bottom quads that it forms, rotate it 90 degrees and move it up next to one of the shorter side pieces to compare width, it is indeed thinner. Thus I don’t know how they’re calculating the angle for the inset but it’s not bisecting the original quad’s edges (at 45 degrees).

If there’s not something that does so in Blender, I suppose I could see about hacking one of these.

I bet fifty cents you have a nonuniform scale on your object.

Go into Object Mode and Ctrl+a,s. Then try the Addons.

The absolute worst case is that you use the keyboard to input a move distance on each of the four edges.