Creating a simple panelled surface

Following on from a discussion in the #blender IRC channel - here’s how to create a simple panelled surface (using Blender 2.63a).

Final result:

  • this method relies on a low res base mesh as a starting point. It’s possible to use subsurface modifiers in conjunction with this method, but it’s a bit more involved so I haven’t covered it here.

  • starting mesh:

  • go to edit mode, change to face select mode and make sure all faces are selected (‘a’ key)

  • extrude individual faces alt + e -> Individual faces

  • immediately press [esc] key to to avoid moving the new faces

  • next, Mesh->Faces->Inset Faces or press spacebar and search for ‘inset faces’

  • in the Inset Faces tool panel (if the panel isn’t visible, press ‘t’ with the mouse cursor in the 3d viewport) untick ‘Select Outer’, set the Thickness to a low value like 0.0040. Offset Relative needs to be unticked.

  • extrude individual faces once more (alt + e), and this time extrude the faces out slightly.

You should now have a model with a panelled surface.

If anyone has problems with this method, spots a mistake or knows of a better solution, let me know :eyebrowlift:

Another trick for this (for more specific faces) is to select the faces you want to make a panel of… then you hold shift and click the faces as if you were going to drag…but don’t move them… so basically an extrude of 0… Then use your scale tool to resize the base of the panel. Once the face(s) are the right size, shift drag/extrude to the desired height of the panel.