Roots/vines: removing overlapping and hidden faces -- cleaning up a mesh for sculpting?

Hey, I’m trying to come up with a quick workflow for creating overlapping vines and roots. Using the skin and subdivision modifiers work great to get things started, but I want to sculpt for added detail and kind of smooth out where things overlap.

Unfortunately, I can only do boolean operations with separate objects. I can’t seem to find a good way for the same object overlapping itself.

Things I’ve tried:

  • Duplicate the mesh and bool with itself (ends up with nasty mess of floating polygons).
  • Shrink wrap: just makes a mesh if it’s not close enough to the target mesh, and trying to make something close would take too much time.
  • Remesh: aside from resolution issues where things can end up looking too blocky, it also creates “voids” where things overlap (ex: if two branches crossed in an X, the center of the X would have a hole in it).
  • Metaball particles: Kind of a pain to set up – distribution isn’t even, and a lot of the form is lost. Would take too much time to try to configure and clean up, I think.
  • Fluid sim: This actually got the closest, but still doesn’t accurately represent the mesh as well as I would like.

Surely there’s some way to just clean up a mesh and create a solid manifold w/o overlaps for sculpting (or even for printing), right? Am I missing something or do I need to create a tool to do this? :slight_smile:

I thought that Intersect Boolean and Intersect Knife, both under the Ctrl+F face menu would have done the trick, but they don’t seem to.

EDIT: It does work. I had to change it to self intersection in the operators panel :slight_smile:

I tested in 2.8 and I can get it to work only with Ctrl+F>Intersect Knife and then selecting the option in the operators panel for self intersection. It leaves behind all the interior faces and I thought it be able to select them all with Select>Select All by Trait>Interior Faces, but that didn’t work. They are disconnected from the rest of the object, so you can selectively hide parts of the outer shell and select one face from an interior chunk then hit L and delete them. Or perhaps easier is to select at least one face from each of the outershell parts, hit Ctrl+L then H then delete what remains and unhide the good stuff again.

Ah, thanks a lot. I messed around with the intersect knife, but that only seemed to let me cut other faces. Didn’t realize there was a way to self-intersect. Strange that this creates a bunch of separated objects (even stuff on the outside that doesn’t look like it should be separated). Getting a lot closer, though!

Just tried enabling AutoMerge Editing in the mesh options. This puts everything into one object, but select interior faces still does not work. :frowning:

If only there were a way to remove interior faces, I’d be set. :\

When I tried it quickly I left it unmerged. Selecting a sampling of exterior faces and hitting Ctrl+L seemed about the best way of getting all the “good” stuff. Easy enough to rotate around an make sure you get any bits you missed. That made it simple to get rid of the inside bits. After that it was just a case of remove doubles.

It leaves the same kind of cleanup needed that an object on object boolean would, but if it’s destined for Sculpt mode then that’s less of an issue I suppose.

I was unsure of how this all worked. I’m glad I looked into it. It will prove useful in future no doubt.

This is REALLY close, but, for some reason, some of the inner mesh parts are still considered “linked” and will get selected. Couldn’t get a really clear screenshot, but notice the left overlap was cleaned out when I selected the outer area, but on the right part, there’s still interior area. All the highlighted area is considered “linked”, even though there are several interior parts left that should have been cut out.