Blender Tools For Hard Surface
We all know how awesome hard surface is and how challenging it can become sometimes.
You will need special tools to make things easier, to let your creative juices flow minus the added stress of figuring out how to approach a particular modeling task.
Luckily for us, Blender’s modeling tools are plentiful and very functional.
Here are some basic operators or Blender commands to help ease any hard surface modeling attempts:
1. Merge (Alt+M)
tip: You could try sliding a vert to another vert using G+G and using W+R which is the special menu for removing duplicates.
2. Vert Slide/Edge Slide (Shift+V)
This works for aligning or repositioning verts or edges.
Very handy when your using support loops for example to tighten the subdivision effect on hard surface modeling on a particular edge.
This also works by clicking the move hotkey 2x or G+G.
tip: In the process of sliding, you can press E to align the vert or edge to its neighbor then pressing F to alternate between them.
You can also press Shift or Ctrl while sliding for better control or use both.
3. Shrink/Fatten (ALT+S)
While generally useful for organic modeling such as creating armor that offset the character’s skin.
This can also be used for hard surface where you want to push an edgeloop inside a beveled edge so you can better define a cut or a paneling design.
tip: You can press ALT while pushing in or out to even out the distribution of the verts.
You can also use this to push and extrusion outwards or inwards when extruding faces in different locations at the same time.
4. Scaling 0 to X, Y or Z axis
Basic but very powerful. You can use this to align edges or faces to a particular axis. Just select an edgeloop or faces then press S to scale then press X, Y or Z then press 0.
This will straighten those selection to that axis.
5. Rotate Edge (Ctrl+E+Rotate Edge)
Use this to quicly to control the flow of faceloops or just cleaning up the result of a triangulation process.
6. Grid Fill (Ctrl+F+Grid Fill)
Possibly my most favorite edit tool in Blender. Very handy for figuring out topology. I use this for character retopology a lot. You can use this to re-establish connections in a confusing or messy area of your work mesh.
Just select the problematic faces then delete these.
Select the boundary edges then use Grid Fill, you can use the undo menu (F6) to control the resolution and arrangement of the generated faces.
There are many others which would be the subject of further tutorials here. But this is what I mostly use.
How about you?
Do you have something to share with the tools you’ve been using in Blender for hard surface modeling?