Engraving Experiments

Note - the ImageShack links in here are links to the raw pictures, not the ad-pages IS puts them on. Would have used attach but ran out of slots.

So, I got sick of trying to work out my blender defaults and especially of trying to make a replacement grid floor (verdict: impossible to make look right in all ways in the 3d view, eats up a lot of polygons, looks nice when rendered if you need a scale or something)), and started thinking about sigils engraved in the floor and such.

So I go off and start playing with mystic designs. I try curves, but I can’t figure out how someone would make ‘thick line’ drawings like this in them; I download inkscape but doing radial symmetry looks hard in it (might not be, but didn’t get it then.). So I just hack this up in … half an hour, tops, probably less; just one of my quasi-generic ‘ring with three circles’ and some IDK in the middle:


The overlaps here were managed by doing exact knife cuts and merging, with ok success.

This leaves the problem of carving it out of a ground plane. Booleans are cheap and easy so I figure I’ll try one first and see how bad it is. Subdividing a cube this much hurts, though; I end up dividing a plane then extruding the edges, then extruding again and hitting merge. Rotating the backside in realtime really plays some funky moire on the screen.

Anyway, the boolean is ok, but it puts a ton of triangles on the interior vertical surfaces, and uses a lot of verts for nothing. The shading is messy in realtime because of the tris, but seems mostly ok in a render.


Wanting to try a different method, I attempt manually skinning the flat parts. This seems to work ok, so I resolve to try it for real.


Don’t really like the inner parts of the circle – just too simplistic – so I decide to make the symbol in the middle of a doodle I drew at work a day or two ago. I made the sigil glyph – copying by eye, not overlay, since the original’s surely lopsided for one – with just mirror, extrude, lots of loop cut, and some by-eye use of the warp tool for the curvy bits.

And filled in lots and lots of negative space:


So, anyway, that’s where I’m at. I haven’t really payed enough attention to line thickness between different parts; what I’ve got is pretty much haphazard, but just ok enough that I’m not going to worry about remaking it now. Maybe I’ll make the wider lines shallower when I get to the actual 3d part.

Any thoughts? I’m hoping someone comes along and tells me that I missed a totally way easier way to do this so I don’t end up doing this again … :).

Oh, and I thought about textures, but normals are fake and I don’t think displacement would be keep the fine curves; and I wanted to use particles for steam or glowy light coming definitively out of the cracks in the ground.

All I’ve got to say is, wow. I wish I had your focus skills. I was having a hard
time following what you were saying, but what you did looks pretty dang impressive.

Thanks – and sorry about the text; I tend to get “just lemme post this before I fall asleep” syndrome.

And I gotta say, the fact that the new skin edgeloops thing under the F key works on edge… ‘strings’ as well is a huge timesaver for this sort of thing; the fact that it will collapse edges instead of require exact matches made making some of the radial filler between the middle and the inner outer part … or something … take 2% of the time it otherwise would.

Probably flush it out to a square and do the actual engraving tonight, start making a scene out of it. And hope my computer dosn’t espolde when I try to bevel the cut edges …

This is pretty much the exact situation I was in when I made the inner ring design on my stargate. Obviously I ended up filling the whole thing by hand.

Oh hey. That thing was massive! I didn’t read much of the thread but I saw the first few pages and then kept at least skimming through the pics at the end, and wow. (I think that project also survived at least one of my absences from the forum.)

Makes me wonder if booleans work on 2d surfaces though, since 2d csg is that much simpler.

Of course, I’m thinking I might take a stab at the f1 comp, and my idea for that are ‘all magic (orenbega style?)’ and ‘magitech’, there will probably be more of this.

Grrf. Attempting to make some more symbols. First is done all mesh – tried curves, and it was ok, then remade it. I have a hard time seeing what I’m doing with curves in blender; might just be my colors or something. Need to try the defaults again since they’ve added new stuff anyway.

Second was made in inkscape, and then converted to mesh at a rather low resolution. Subdivided a few bits to make more quads, deleted a few cap triangles, etc.

Probably going to delete all the fill and try again. Since I’m having problems bevelling some of the corners with many fine lines attached and such, I think I’m going to try extruding the outside in (circular quad-loop); extruding the inside out (shaped quad loop), and then just filling the area between them with whatevergons since it will be flat and nowhere near corners.


I like your designs!

Here is a free image host that dose not need a membership , and they dont add advertisements to your photos :

If you want more smooth curves from scaned bitmaps in inkscape, select the paths, and press control L to simplify it.

Thanks! I’ll have to take a look at that link later too.

Haven’t tried scanning anything or anything; I’ve just begun to wrap my brain around the plain bezier tool in inkscape. (Why is there no extrude-edges for beziers anywhere? Why?!)

Simplify is fun if you hold it down… :D.

http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/493/engravespectrographyavaei5.pngOk, I think I’ve figured this out. There needs to be a clean buffer between the geometry at the lips of the insets, so the bend down into the insets are clean. Between these buffer areas, the geometry will be completly flat, so it can be made of anything. [I wish you could make text flow around an image properly here.]

To do this, I made a self-contained quad faceloop around the areas to be inset, which was only slightly tricky. I’ve hilighted these loops (aside the more-obvious circular one inside the circle) with the loop-cut tool here:


After making the buffers, I sealed off the bottom of the open figure with the only other quads on the map, then selected the two edgeloops surrounding the empty space inside. I used standard fill (shift-f) and held down beautify (alt-f) until it couldn’t find anything else to do.

Then I decided to try out a bevel again. This is with the SVN/RC Wkey Bevel-Selection-Only-Finally-For-Crying-Out-Loud bevel. This is a kind of loop I’ve never tried before, so I found out something new: where there’s room, it does a non-invasive loop-cut type bevel - no spawning random triangles all over! Whee! I’m not sure what’s going on where it does run out of room, but it doesn’t suck.

http://img411.imageshack.us/img411/4762/engravegood3eo0.th.jpg (Too much detail to shrink to fit the forum well. Direct image link.)

This is a a wireless view after adding an edgesplit modifier and adding an assortment of sharps to the edgeloops around the planar surfaces. There’s a little faceting left over from the low resolution of the curve I used to make this, but that might not be noticeable when zoomed out in a render.


And if it is, this geometry holds up to subsurf well – this is level 3 – while the unfinished parts of my prior experiments look like a soggy birthday cake :).


I think that’s all I need to learn to finish this phase of this project …


do not use the SDS when doing this kind of a job.
As you can see you get terrible distortions.

Export your drawing as an image map and use it
with the displacement modifier to interactively
displace / generate you engraving.

The result you can actually bake and have the mesh
being the way you want for further refinements.


Cekuhnen -

I hadn’t originally planned on using SDS for this at all, figuring more on a reasonable number of segments per curve length plus some regular bevels would be all that was needed, but I decided to try it out just to see what happened.

And it turned out that the part I was working on today (upside down golf club head symbol in circle) actually subdivided wonderfully – though I might need to crease the bottoms of the indents if I did that and wanted to keep them right-angled.

As for displacement, well, I thought about that. Displacement is essentially the same as a heightmap, which aren’t known for handling vertical surfaces well. Further, I was working with fine curvy shapes and mild intricacy, and wondered how the resolution would work out. And finally, since this was an experiment, I was also thinking ‘what if I wanted to make this pattern a hole in a door and show something through it?’, which would be hard with displacement.

But after you mentioned it I decided to try it anyway, and this is what came out. Heavily subdivided box with SDS level 3 on it:


And it looks, interesting. The edges all look like they were cut with one of those sand-water-jig-blaster things, or some kind of prototype device, set on ‘rough’. That’s with 1.1-ish million faces, too, though some of those are wasted on the rest of the cube. I put subsurf before the displacement here. I put another one after but had too many total levels and blender kinda crashed when I hit render … didn’t save that test setup, either.

Thanks for the thoughts, though, I’m sure they’ll be useful for another thing later on :smiley:

As an aside, when I went to make the displacement map I had a subsurf modifier set to render only, that I’d forgotten about:


Be cool if you could control that for style.


mh I never had an issue using the displacement modifier with vertical surfaces.
I am actually not sure what you mean here.

The image should have a good resolution in terms of pixels due to the current
displacement nature you have to use a higher setting for the level.

Your result looks like the image file is yaggy. Hey soon we should have the SVG
support than you might be able to use the SVG file directly instead of rastering it
into an image.

Regarding your question about the hole, unfortunately Blender cannot use
Booleans with SDS that well. What you can do is to simply bake your surface
meaning apply the SDS and cur the hole out of that mesh there.

Otherwise you can also model the hole from the beginning and apply the
displacement texture only to the surface - not the faces of the hole and
the tubing following it.

if you turn on the displacement modifier you should be able to see the
displaced texture only on the selected faces.

Hm, I don’t know; that’s the first time I’ve actually used the displace modifier. The image was more or less like that melted black and white one; I made it by ortho-rendering the flat polygons in blender with shadeless white/black materials.

On the other hand, I just tried my method again on the O X O X symbols that were all melty in the last subsurf image.

I filled this entire selected area with one shift-F, which I found amazing. This is the beautified version:


And then, subsurf. I tried beveling the X, but then looking at the O it’s probably surperferlous. Threw in an extra edge loop to make the bottoms flat and creased the ‘crotches’ of the X, and it came out like this:


I guess you really can put as many tris as you want in the middle of a flat surface for subsurf, it just helps a lot to have a border of respectable quad geometry between them and your curves.

Now I’m off to figure out inkscape, since I decided I want to do something more complex for the borders than O X O X … Plus I found out you can do 2d CSG over there … :slight_smile:

that looks really nice
and thanks for the Shift-f thing will help allot