Ridges and Grooves

Hi guys,

Im attempting to model a sea link. The thing is the main pylon has grooves and ridges as shown. Can someone please guide me as to how to model the ridges in individual units of the pylons?

Here’s the approach im taking, so pls correct me if the approach is flawed:

  1. I plan to first model a single unit and then apply an array modifier to make one leg.

  2. Apply mirror modifiers to the leg to get the other legs.

  3. Model the single jointed top as a separate mesh.

Is it advisable to have the grooves as a bump map instead of model them?

you could try to make a bump map and test if it is working ok

now you cold make a real nodel for this a it is very simple to do and then apply a vertical array tog et the whole column too then use mirror it !

so it’s up to you there is more then one way to do this !


Well, there’s no definite right or wrong way to do this, but your “model one segment -> array” workflow sounds good. If you’re concerned about polycount you could make a lowpoly segment that has the same size and position as the hipoly segment, uv-map it and bake the normals from the hipoly onto the lowpoly.

Those structure looks tapered. If it is, I don’t think you can use array.

Thank you all for your replies :slight_smile:

@ridix: Ive looked up the architectural details. Each leg is inclined at a 10 degree angle and is of uniform thickness right upto the point where all 4 meet. I guess its just the perspective that is creating the tapering illusion.

My only concerns are that how do you apply a separate concrete texture to the whole leg to avoid repetation of patterns?

Also, for the sake of learning the technique, how can the ridges be generated? I started of with a rectangle, subsurfed it to get smooth corners and then extruded the whole thing upwards. What next?


You can easily add a second UV layout after applying the array, or you could just add a procedural texture controlled by an empty (this way you don’t even need to apply the array)

depends on the coss section
as i don’t have it i did a small sample here
see file

i use the array on one column with a segment having a sort of manual bevel at the top

for the mirror you need to offset the center in X and Y

hope it helps


Many thanks for the generous replies :slight_smile:

@RickyBlender: Definitely helps :slight_smile: Thank you…Thats exactly what I was planning to do. My original question then pertains to what you do after this. For the grooves, would you add vertical edge loops and then extrude them inwards? That seems a very cumbersome method. Surely there would be a more sophisticated method?

@Jorzi: That sounds very interesting, but could you please elaborate a little or point me towards a related resource? I didnt quite understand how to implement that.

Thank you all once again :slight_smile:

can you show big pic for grooves cause i don’t see theses !


why not? use the array modifier and after that parent the whole structure to a deformed lattice to “taper” it.

do you ahve cross section for the column

would be easier to show it i guess

you can pain texture some ridges on faces as you wish

have you done that before?

if not go to blenderguru and check out the video on snow making

it shows how to do that and you’ll learn a lot of other tricks too
but you have to take notes as you go along the video cause there is a lot of details to remember


Many thanks :slight_smile: I unfortunately cannot obtain the blueprints, so Ill have to wing the cross section. This is the Bandra worli Sealink i cross on my way back home from office. I shall try to click a few snaps of the individual unit and the grooves. I did find out that each unit is 3 m high though if that helps.

Nah, never done that sort of texturing :slight_smile: So Ill dive straight into the tutorial once home…

this video shows one way to do it with internla blender

but bump map can be done outside with external imag editor for instance

a bump map is basically a black and white picture
but usually i think the edges need to be blurr to make it work ok!
and be able to apply the displacement modifier

but at least in this case it’s easy to make vertical line to represent your ridges i guess
let me know if you don’t understand how

now you could also make your ridges real one by making it in the model

the only thing with bump map is that you cannot have any shadows from bump map
so if you need shadow then the only way is not model it in the model as such

happy 2.5