How can I create an inset bevel?

#1
How can I create an inset bevel?

I have used extrude, and it can give great results. The extrude radius can not be a negative value, so I am not sure what the easiest way to create something like this would be?



I’d like to provide the outer shape as an SVG, and create the inset bevel in Cheetah. In some cases, I have been able to offset the path prior to importing, so I can use an outer bevel, but that only works if the bevel is small and on some path designs. The other tutorials I’ve been able to find so far have described an incredibly manual process, which I am trying to avoid.

Suggestions and help welcome! Thanks.
 
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frank beckmann

Well-known member
#2
There´s no automated way.
In essence you´ll have to select all front polygons (+ one at the side) and use the jigsaw tool to create the centre-line. Some scalpel work will be needed at certain letters. Then move that line forward:
Chisel.jpg

Cheers
Frank
 
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#3
Ok, thanks.

I have made some progress with a different method, but’s still not looking how I’d like. I created a path for the ridge in Illustrator, then gave it a fairly small stroke, expanded the stroke, then imported it into Cheetah. The idea was to expand out from the ridge, then intersect boolean with the outer shape to get something usable. No luck yet — it’s failing at the boolean step.

This is fairly easy to do in Photoshop. I wonder if creating a high-res height map would be a worthy method?
 
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#5
Sure. Thanks! I’m still not exactly sure on the direction, but here’s the SVG for a faceted snow flake, and a quick test render using a relief object to create the shape, based on a height map made in Photoshop.

For anyone interested in the Photoshop part: The stroke layer style can have a shape burst gradient, that does pretty much exactly what’s needed for the height map. Just use a dark grey to white gradient on a shape layer and you’ll get a height map for the facets leading to a ridge in the middle.
 

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#6
Marc, somehow you fell in the boolean trap ... For somebody who starts out, booleans usually are not a good idea.

In certain cases displacement (your height map) can be a good solution, sometimes the only one, but you have less control over your polys, and you create a ton for them which can be tricky when rendering (you have to subdivide the model enough that Cheetah can discplace them). So displacement is only a solution when you don't want to model something because it's plain too much work. For example you can model each stone of a wall, put them together with (modeled) mortar and take forever. Here you do use a displacement map to save lots of time and you'd need lots of polys anyway for detailed stones. Bump maps are used for small details (or in the case of this wall when it's far away and you don't really need the geometry).

In this case, neither one is a good idea, especially as it takes a lot more time to create a good map than to model the things properly (even for a beginner).

So, if Frank answers a question about modeling, in 99 % of all cases it's just the thing to do. It's usually the least troublesome way to create something in 3d.

In this special case you have another way: Load the Text as a background and model the letters yourself as a flat all-quad-model. You could even do this for the whole alphabet. Then you have something to extrude, bevel and so on, which can be subdivided. But that's more work (still not a bad exercise in my humble opionion).

Still another way would be a retopo of the Cheetah-Text (which is something for later on, in my opinion, when you know more of modeling).

One of the pitfalls in 3d is for newcomers to shy away from modeling in the beginning, because it's plain a lot of work you don't know how to do. But the only way (at least the only reasonable one) is to take the bite and swallow, i. e. learning how to do things in the usual way(s). In other words, it's for a beginner not a bright idea to ask a question, get an answer from a certified expert (and Frank is somehow the uber-guru for Cheetah) and then do something completely different. Later on, when you have mastered all this stuff, you'll use other techniques, for sure, but then you will know what works and what not.
 
#7
Ok, while I was writing my answer you uploaded something which isn't half bad from the look of it (didn't try out the svg).

But you don't learn modeling this way, only to find ways around it (and if you are used to it, you'll get quiet fast). So I still stand to what I wrote above.
 

Helmut

Well-known member
#8
* Shortcut for rectilinear letters:
* use a linear bevel, 1 level
* weld points to middle (add dummy points where req´d)
* select the entire bevel edges (top view / by area) and move a bit to achieve the required angle, 45° or whatever

* For curvilinear letters:
* apart from manual fine tuning (as suggested by Frank), no idea :confused:
 
#9
@Hasdrubal Thanks, and I appreciate the replies. You’re right that Frank is an expert, and he is incredibly helpful. I have read many of his posts on this forum. I really do appreciate the time taken to reply, and I can see his approach is a good one.

I think you may have made some incorrect assumptions about the needs of this project and my background though. I was hoping for an automated bevel technique, because using a feature like extrude would yield faster and more accurate results. I understand your dislike for using textures, and I’d rather not, but it’s definitely an approach worthy of discussion. If nothing else, the exploration might help others reading this in the future.
 
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#13
I think you may have made some incorrect assumptions about the needs of this project and my background though.
I did. Sorry about that. :frown: But then you probably understand how it came to this misinterpretation.

And no, I don't dislike displacement at all, even use it regularly; and very, very seldom a mesh without bump or normal map, often both. Only in this case ...

The result is better than I would have expected, but it looks like a very ugly cheap plastic snowflake. Stuff like this does exist, I only don't understand how somebody's aesthetic feelings are that damaged to really stick things like that on windows. Even my neighbors don't go that far (and their christmas or easter decoration let's me cringe whenever I see it).

I just plain don't believe, you would be able to create something like your initial picture (or better) with this method in less time then modeling the stuff from scratch. Especially as you know how :smile:
 
#14
The snowflake looks great!

Regarding beveled text:
Using an ultra-thin font and the bevel property of the extrude creator,
together with some inner extruding and further edge beveling, gets close to the goal (but there are always parts needing manual tweaks).

text.gif
text.png


EDIT:
Some more fiddling got me even closer:

text2.gif
text2.png
 
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#15
The snowflake looks great!
Thank you. Still lots of experimenting to be done, but it’s definitely one approach.

Regarding beveled text:
Using an ultra-thin font and the bevel property of the extrude creator, together with some inner extruding and further edge beveling, gets close to the goal (but there are always parts needing manual tweaks).
That looks brilliant. I think you’re right — starting with a thin font or shape seems to be the easiest and most automated way to get good results. I’ve had a quick attempt at it, and I think that’s where I’ll put most of the future effort. Thanks.

The result is better than I would have expected, but it looks like a very ugly cheap plastic snowflake. Stuff like this does exist, I only don't understand how somebody's aesthetic feelings are that damaged to really stick things like that on windows.
Hasdrubal, please re-read you comments and consider how you can be less condescending and more helpful in the future. Your comments would still be abrasive, even if I was a beginner — my experience level has nothing to do with your attitude, and you should also be kind to those starting out.

I just plain don't believe, you would be able to create something like your initial picture (or better) with this method in less time then modeling the stuff from scratch.
The method I used to create the height texture in Photoshop is a single layer style (a stroke, using the shape burst gradient type). It only takes a few seconds to apply and it works with any shape or text layer. It’s far faster than any manual mesh editing technique. You should make fewer assumptions.

Yes, I would prefer something that results in a high quality mesh. I am aware of the nuanced differences between bump maps, normal maps, meshes derived from height maps and pure geometric methods. As stated in the initial post, a negative bevel value would be my favourite way to go.
 
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#16
It only takes a few seconds to apply and it works with any shape or text layer. It’s far faster than any manual mesh editing technique. You should make fewer assumptions.
It's not an assumption. It's just that I don't believe you get good quality (or preferably better) this way like in your initial picture (that was the text). Like Mis' result. That's good and doesn't take much longer (in my experience it doesn't work that well with complicated fonts or forms).

Hasdrubal, please re-read you comments and consider how you can be less condescending and more helpful in the future. Your comments would still be abrasive, even if I was a beginner — my experience level has nothing to do with your attitude, and you should also be kind to those starting out.
Usually I'm kinder than a cute little snow bunny with a smile on it's face.

In my first answer I really made a wrong assumption. As I already said, I'm sorry about that, and I thought you understand the reasons (you probably know this kind of beginners who act exactly that way. Ask. Get a good explanation. Do something completely different. Then ask again when it doesn't work. Get an answer. Again do something completely different).

Look, I never (not in a forum, not in real life), really never, make a compliment I don't mean. Mostly I don't say anything when I don't like something, and if you would have been a beginner I'd probably wouldn't have written it.

On the other hand you are not, could do better and I positively hate those cheap plastic things on windows. They do exist, looking exactly like your test, and in may opinion they are ugly. And that should still be possible to say in our brave new world (it was abrasive but about the people who buy those things and hang them on their windows).

Anyway. One possible way to get this kind of work automated is to create them with Cheetah and then do an auto-retopology which get's (preferably) an all-quad-mesh in the end. It doesn't work that well with every font or form, but it could be worth a try.

One program who does this for free is demonstrated here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6wtw6W4x3I

The interesting part about it is simple that it's free to use in software, and Martin wrote in another thread that he was tempted. So a future version of Cheetah may contain this.

Even the hand method, which may not be as fast as yours, has an advantage. If you make a flat letter (one poly) and do a retopo you can save the result and use it again in other circumstances (like just well rounded text). The same applies for the auto-retopo-method, of course.
 

Helmut

Well-known member
#17
* Come on folks, let's be civilised in this forum. The anonymity of internet-based communication easily lets us forget common rules of politeness and mutual respect.

* I would suggest:
:frown: NO ad hominem attacks under any circumstances.
:frown: NO critique of the 3D work of other posters (unless they explicitly ask for an evaluation).
:frown: NO essays on ecology, the purpose of life or unrelated matters.

* This is a forum dealing exclusively with C3D modelling questions.
* If in doubt :confused: , do NOT post to a thread.
 
#18
Dear Helmut

Where was a comment that doesn't seem civilised in this thread?

I said something about the real existing things that look like his test, nothing against his thing, nothing about the person. I didn't write about philosophy, about ecology, about cats (but I know someone whose comments are very often digressing and I usually like them very much :smile: ). And everything was quiet respectful.

The only text you could see as an ad hominem attack was Mark's answer to my comment. And actually I think it's his right to say how he feels about what I wrote. He got it completely wrong, but that's his right, too, and if somehow gets the impression I have such an attitude he certainly can and should say so. If he says how he feels, I can try to explain what I really think, if he has to swallow his comment, he'll probably think that im just another little (insert here your favorite insult). Well, he can still think that, but I had at least an opportunity to show otherwise.

The unfriendliest thing I said to him was: He could do better.

Funny part is, I didn't criticize his work, only the existing things, but as soon as somebody shows a picture, it should be up to criticism especially when it is about testing ways to create something. If I feel somebody is on the wrong path, may that be correct or not, shouldn't I say so?

On the other hand, you can look at every comment I ever wrote in the gallery and you won't find a single negative one. I may point out a detail that could be better, but all in all the message is positive.

By the way, that's plain wrong. We should more criticize, because that's the only way for anybody to get better. I don't bother to show anything be that a text or a picture to anybody who wouldn't point out in quiet a direct way what he or she does not like. Only that way I can eliminate a little detail that's not up to the standard (sometimes the next time, but still).

Why did I bother to answer this?

The anonymity of internet-based communication easily lets us forget common rules of politeness and mutual respect.
It's this sentence that pisses me off (sorry, in English I can't formulate it in a toned down way that still keeps my feeling). It's true, but where the heck was I impolite to anyone in this thread? Mark's answer was maybe borderline, but it was still polite enough. To make it clear once for all: I respect everybody in this forum, respect every opinion digressing from mine (I may try to point out, why I see it as wrong and discuss), respect everyone whatever color, religion, nation, shoe size or opinion he has (as long as the person doesn't do anything to lose this right, for example criminals, some politicians).

Now I'm a little bit impolite as I speak for Mark and me without his consent: There wasn't one comment in this thread we wouldn't have said in each others face.

And by the way, if anything, I for my part never in life wrote anything in a forum I wouldn't have said to the person him- or herself. If anything, I'm more direct face-to-face.

About digressing in other fields one last point: Not everything we produce is art, but if it is, it has always a deeper meaning and is a comment about many things (sometimes even if it's just an illustration. The subconscious finds quiet often its ways to express itself).

And by the way, Helmut: No offense taken. Still love your comments :icon_thumbup:
 
#19
I’m still exploring a few techniques (while enjoying my weekend), but I’ve come up with something that might be promising: If you start with an inverted fill area in the initial path, then extrude with a very short distance and flipped normals, the back side will give you the polygons you need. It requires a bit of cleanup, but it does make certain parts of the process a lot easier.

The attached images show it in the partially cleaned up state (I left it unfinished so you can see some of what’s required).

I’ll keep experimenting though — I really think the best and most accurate approach to things like this is to require the least amount of manual poly editing.
 

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