Blender Curved Cuts

For the latest game in development called The Gap I’ve been doing lots of work in Blender. Learning new tricks and speeding up my workflow. Making a curved cut is something I had not done a lot of and in the past I’ve struggled with the knife tool or knife projects. I’ve been using this method to make curved windows and door arches.

Here is a neat way to make a curved cut in an object with considerable control and only a little bit of mucking about.

Basically we are intersecting one mesh with another and bisecting the meshes with a knife cut to make a simple train tunnel shape.

We are going to start with the default cube which has been scaled up to ten and subdivided 7 times.

A subdivided cube

Next we are going to add a Nurbs Curve as a second object. This we are going to manipulate into the shape we want and later convert it to a mesh to intersect with our cube. You could use any other object like a Bezier Curve or a Path would be very flexible. I chose a Nurbs Curve because it was reasonably simple shape.

Add a Nurbs Curve

In Edit mode manipulate the curve into the shape you want, subdividing the points if required. I find that enabling snapping is a good way to start to keep everything the same on both sides of the curve and then turning it off for fine tuning.

Snapping Enabled and Handles

Once you have the shape you want you can clean up the curve (it’s best to have everything on the same plane).

The Curve is Ready for Converting to a Mesh

Once you are happy with it it is now converted to a mesh.

Convert to Mesh

Which is then extended through our cube!

Extended Intersecting Mesh

Both Meshes are Joined (Ctrl + J). Select the one last that you want to keep the name of.

Joined Meshes into one Object

Switch to Face Select mode and then the Mesh is Intersected and cut with the knife:

Then you can simply delete the faces from the Nurbs Curve Mesh and you are left with the nice curved cut.

Select Faces on one side of the cut and Delete
Delete the Faces on the other side of the Cut

Now you can select all the faces inside your nice curve and extrude them into the cube to make a train tunnel 🙂

Face Select
Extrude into the Cube
The Completed Curved Cut

A few final notes. As I mentioned before you can do this procedure with any mesh to make cuts and hollows with intersections. It’s a bit like using the boolean modifier. It’s not great in every situation as it can make a mess of your topology if you are not neat with your cuts and you can be left with some very tiny faces or triangles. But if you line things up nicely and merge your close vector points it’s a pretty simple and handy tool in the kit.

Blender: Simple Dishes Plates and Cups

One game currently in the pipe line is called The Gap. The game is about the gap between the private internal world of personal histories and how they feed and colour perceptions of the present. Esoteric I know right. But basically it’s an exploring game in an urban setting with lots of indoor areas that need indoor props. So I’ve been doing lots of modelling and researching new methods to make life easier when using Blender (which I love).

Part of this research is reading lots and lots of books and one of them was Blender for Animation and Film-Based Production by Michelangelo Manriqu. The book is great and I’d recommend it to anyone using Blender. One method that I had not seen in any other tutorials or books was this one for making complex cone or cylinder based meshes using Bezier circles and curves. Instead of starting with the basic forms and working complex changes on their geometry this method is quick and simple to make complex (and simple) shapes really fast.

It starts like this: Open a new Scene and add a Bezier Curve and a Bezier Circle:

This is the right view (num 3) with the Bezier Curve moved over a bit on the X axis and rotated 90 degrees on the Z. (R key, −90 , Enter).

A Bezier Circle (in orange) and the black line next to it is a Bezier Curve.

Select the Bezier Circle and Click on the little green Bezier Object button from the properties tab on the right.

Open the Geometry and Bevel sections and click on the Object button. Select your Bezier Curve as the Object.

This sets your Bezier Curve as the defining object for the edges and volume of the now filled Bezier Circle.

Set the Bezier Curve as the Object

Now Select the Bezier Curve and move to Edit mode. Subdivide it as much as you want and play with the shape and angle of the curve to get your Bezier Circle to form all sorts of complex shapes.

Once you are happy with what you have you can go back to Object mode and select the Bezier Circle and go to Object -> convert to mesh (or ALT+C Mesh from Curve/Meta/Surf/Text).

Here some examples I did for this post:

Platter with Bevels

I think the Chalice up there shows the power of this method for creating complex small objects very quickly and the relationship between the Bezier Curve and the resultant mesh.

The Gap will not be released for some time yet – years – it’s still early days but I’m really enjoying the process and it’s nice to be doing something personal and meaningful with game development.

The Kit

This is the hardware and software that I’m currently using to make games.

My main machine is a Venom BlackBox laptop. It’s got an i5 Intel Core and 8 GB of RAM. The OS c:\ drive is flash and the d:\ storage drive is SAS. so the operating system stays fast but it also has plenty of local storage. This was my main expense and after working for years on a 3nd hand Toshiba it’s an absolute dream. They are made locally in Melbourne at a place called MLN Computers who specialize in Gaming Hardware and it’s just beautifully finished and super thin and light. Plus it’s Batman black with green backlit keys if you want them. Off mains it’s a bit of a battery hog but for what I do on it and the process heavy apps I use it does pretty well. It gives a lot of power and is very stable. The only down side is because it is very thin the fan comes on quickly and can be loud to the point of distraction sometimes.

I do a lot of music and audio work on my laptop and use a Line 6 KB37 midi keyboard and digital USB audio interface. I got this years ago and its been super awesome. It come bundled with the Line 6 Pod Farm software and a bunch of other audio apps like Reason 10 and Ableton Lite and virtual instruments from Korg (the amazing Korg Legacy Collection), and Applied Acoustics (the fully versatile AAS Player and gorgeous LoungeLizard EP-4). Sadly it’s no longer made and I have no idea what I’m going to do if it ever gives up the ghost – probably go back to Linux Audio (sadly the KB37 was incompatible with my Linux audio box if you ever get the chance to play with it I recommend Musix or Ubuntu Studio but there are heaps of other options).

For either guitar or keyboard it’s fabulously versatile and can also interface with whatever Daw I’m using.

I bought a second hand Wacom drawing tablet. When I picked it up it turned out to be an old one from one of Melbourne’s larger game companies. I took that as a good sign.

I started making games in htlm5 and all I really needed for software was a copy of Sublime Text 3, Gimp and the Tiled map editor.

I moved on to Unity3d and Visual Studio 2017 but still use Gimp as my main art making software.

I tried lots of other art packages like Spriter, Krita, Pencil,  Adobe Illustrator CS2, Adobe Photoshop CS2, and GraphicsGale.  All of them were good but I like Gimp best. It seems to have all the features that I need and I’m more comfortable with the open source nature of the project.

I tried lots of other Game Engines as well: Stencyl, Unreal Engine and Amazon Lumberyard but I think I’ll stick with Unity for a while.

For model making I use Blender. I find it easier than the other programs I’ve tried (even with all the keyboard shortcuts).  The community is awesome too.

I also really like using  MagicaVoxel for quick fun models.

I tried DAZ Studio, DesignDoll and Sculptris but I always come back to Blender.

For animation in 2D I use Plastic Animation Paper (PAP4 ) and Gimp.  I really like PAP4. It’s old but has very powerful features.  I use Blender for 3D Animation.

For making video content and editing I use the OpenShot Video Editor.

All my documentation is done with OpenOffice.

For Source Control I use GitHub and TortoiseSVN, or a local Helix Perforce service.

For an Android emulator I either use Android Studio, KOPLAYER or Leapdroid.  I think Leapdroid is my favourite.

I have a really really big list of software that I tried and never really used. Mostly because I just never got time and if I spent all my time getting new toys I wouldn’t have time to play with the ones I already have.









New GIMP Speed Drawing Cartoon

I made a new speed drawing for Trixie – check it out

These are quick sketches done for our team to use as avatars.

I’ve recently done them all using GIMP and uploaded the one of myself here:

I recently started reading a great comic book faces drawing book by artist Christpher Hart called Cartoon Faces. I prefer to work from books but he has a YouTube channel.

The music for this video was by Zulu.  It was created some time ago but fits nicely with the feel of the artwork.   It’s been uploaded to our Sound Cloud account so if you make a good Space Game let us know and we might let you use it.