Daily Hard Surface Practices

Daily practices by making random hard surface objects during December 2022.

Not using any add-ons, using boolean workflow (non sub-D) so expect messy topology under those pretty faces, also using bevel node/shader for the edges instead of using modifiers.

Here are some close-ups on my personal favourites :

These are mostly using default cube and cylinder as the basic shape which got lots of boolean mods on them, and on some there are more shapes added/joined into it.

For making complex shapes, I used methods such as making use of additive boolean (set to ‘union’) which along with bevel node in the material shader can give a nice and easy combined look.

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bools 2b

Cutting or combining the cutter/boolean objects themselves is also a simple way to get irregular shape.

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One thing that I had been ignoring up until now is the ‘shape’ value in the bevel profile. Setting it lower than 0.5 gave a concave shape, which can also be used as a nice and simple cutter pattern.

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Encountered some ‘usual’ boolean problems during the making, such as boolean modifiers ‘not working’, the boolean objects ‘disappeared’, or gave the wrong result (should be cutting the object but got merged instead). Common solutions usually involving moving the cutter object a bit so that their edges do not overlap each other, and reorder modifier stacks.

Also had some normal/shading problems which can be resolved by adding ‘weighted normal’ modifier, or by adding more geometry especially for curved surfaces (using subdiv mods).

Enjoyed making these as learning process, though I admit lighting and/or materials are still not perfect. Also, still need to learn to better maintain big/medium/small detail grouping, it’s easy to get lost in too much detailing. Might try on some sub-D modeling practices next as one of 2023 resolutions.

Wish everyone a great new year ahead !


I am looking forward to getting into hard surface but sometimes it seems like you have to be a math professor when addressing problems - it looks great, but in practice I imagine it to be quite daunting. Have just looked into some of Josh / Blender Bros resources prob will start there.

Some nice looking tests! Good to see you not relying on addons to do these. I am interested to know what workflow you are using for the panel lines?

Well, I haven’t got a professor degree or an expert myself :smile: Other forms like painting or sculpting can be daunting too if you look directly at a finished complex work, which is a final sum of several small details added bit by bit. Back to hard surface, if you go with the sub-D / subdivision workflow where it cares about topology more than the boolean route, it does look overwhelming (though a proper topology can give less normal/shading problems down the way), so boolean route can be a good and easy place to start.

Speaking of problems, I did get some during the making that left me baffled for a while, different cases might require spesific solutions so you might need to try several things around. Add simple ones first than add some more on top of it. Group of several simple boolean objects might be easier to handle than a single large complex one. Use modifiers as much as you can so you may see and study the effect on the object/model. Start with small or simple object/model to get a grasp of how things work, than work on more complex ones gradually once you’ve become more confident. Hope you find these humble suggestions useful and not confusing, good luck and have fun in starting your hard surface journey !

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Thank you ! The panel lines are made also using boolean object/cutter but with solidify modifier on them so it cuts through as thin object.

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Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that technique…cheers!

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I featured you on BlenderNation, have a great weekend!


Thanks a lot @bartv and have a nice weekend too !

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