How do you "engrave"?

Hey there. I’m new to these forums and a bit new to Blender, but I’ve gotten down almost all the basics. However, I find myself almost always running into this sort of problem: I don’t know how to “engrave,” or “indent” something. I’m not certain of the exact term, but I’ll give some examples.

First imagine a cube. What I would like to do is to indent, or engrave, a perfect circle (with thickness) into one of the faces. How do I do that? I have a half-working method that includes using part of a tube (with thickness) sticking into the face as far as I want it, and then using Boolean Tools, but 1) those tools are not very stable and their effects aren’t always what I need or want and 2) it really screws with the mesh by making new faces and connecting edges, etc etc. I tried used NURBS circles to do the same thing, hoping that after using the B-tools I wouldn’t have identifiable faces indicative of an approximated round object with multiple flat faces, but it did just that anyway. So I’m not sure what to do there.

Example two: say I want the number 3 engraved into the side, like a perfect number 3 (again, obviously, with thickness, not a lined #3) drawn on one of the faces, and pushed into the cube slightly. How would I go about that? Is there no easy way to do these things other than messing around with the meshes, or trying to approximate them and using subsurfing?

If anyone could answer with solutions or point me to a tutorial that addresses what I’m talking about (if you know what I’m talking about, that is), it would be much appreciated.


shrinkshooter, here are some quick descriptions of ways to get some of the effects you’re after:

  • Displace Modifier: this uses the luminosity values in a texture to displace your mesh. The mesh needs to be dense enough, i.e., subsurf’d.

  • Bump/Normal Mapping: this doesn’t actually deform the mesh, but can produce an engraved or uneven result when rendered; this is essentially a lighting trick. Bump maps also use the luminosity values of a texture to create the illusion. This can be quite effective if you don’t need really deep bumps.

  • Displacement: this is a texture setting in the materials panel, and can use a texture to displace the vertices of a mesh when rendering. Once again, your mesh will need to be relatively dense in order to accommodate the displacement.

  • Sculpt Tool: This lets you paint deformation directly onto a mesh. The mesh will also need to be pretty dense if you want finer details or hard edges.

You should be able to find tutorials and discussion by searching this blog, or a search engine. Let me know if you have any questions… :ba: