View Full Version : Extruded Text
13-09-2007, 06:49 PM
I imagine this will be pretty straightforward, but I'm a bit new to this. I'm trying to make some children's blocks with letters on them. I'm taking a chamferbox, removing all but one side (as all sides are identical, so I can just clone and weld the other sides later) and extruding in the middle faces. I'm then taking a text spline, making it an editable poly, and splitting it into quads. After extruding it, I'm placing it on the area I want it on the cube's side. I'm then meshsmoothing and collapsing the side, before attaching the letter, deleting the faces under it, and trying to match things up to weld it into the surface. So far it's worked pretty well, however it is a VERY time-consuming method. Even after all the verts have been welded, I've had to cut in extra loops in the side to accommodate the extra letter verts, which makes joining all six side clones later very frustrating and time consuming also. For the most part though, this keeps nice quads, and gives good results.
I guess what I want to know is, how can I get this quality of mesh without the seemingly excessive time? I can't go through doing every letter like this. Oh, and I need to be able to smooth the mesh and have it not look strange. I need to know how to produce a raised letter from a flat surface.
A render of my completed cube (after meshsmooth) is attached for reference.
13-09-2007, 07:37 PM
the easiest way is to create your cube as seen above [minus the letters] then unwrap it and use a displacement map for the letters.
In your map make the letters white and everything else grey.
then put a very slight blur to your map...that will round off the letter edges.
13-09-2007, 08:53 PM
I tried with a similar technique - displacement modifier using a bitmap with that colour scheme and the letters, and I got an extremely jagged result unless I had a meshsmooth with 3 or 4 divisions before the displacement modifier, and one after. I'll give it a try with the blur tomorrow though, see how it turns out.
13-09-2007, 09:00 PM
yeah,displacement works on black and white.
Even a single pixel of white will displace,so blurring decreases that.
14-09-2007, 04:16 PM
That didn't really work, I blurred the displacement map and applied it, but I still needed to subdivide up to half a million polygons before it looked good. Half a million polygons for one side, that is. I've attached my map so you can see how blurred it is, does it need to be more? The font is Arial Rounded MT Bold if you could try making one you think might work better. The actual file is TIF format, but I can't upload it here so I've converted to jpeg.
14-09-2007, 04:24 PM
Thought: I haven't had any luck trying with a boolean (smooths and looks hideous), but could there be a trick to get that working right instead of doing with with a displacement?
14-09-2007, 06:16 PM
try a displacement material instead of the displacement modifier
14-09-2007, 06:54 PM
Thanks for the suggestion, but I seem to get very similar results with it as a material as well. Could it be done with splines to make the inset part of the box with extruded letter, then weld it onto the rim? I couldn't work out how to do it that way, but I can imagine there might be a way to do it like that? Just trying to spark some ideas.
14-09-2007, 07:01 PM
are you using scanline or vray?
14-09-2007, 07:04 PM
Sorry for double-posting, but here's a render of displacement material. I didn't worry about getting the height right, because to do that would be a killer on the render time. It's an Athlon 64 3500+ with 1gb of ram (not the greatest, but it should be sufficient for this) and I'm taking 2.30 to render this.
14-09-2007, 07:05 PM
These have been rendered with scanline, but for rendering completed scenes I usually use Mental Ray. On that note, Mental Ray appears to deal with the displacement material method much better than scanline does. It's still far from what I need though, and still takes 1.30 to render with only one cube side in the scene.
Would this be any easier using Maya? I'm considering switching over, or at least giving it a try and moving between the two programs depending on what I'm doing.
14-09-2007, 07:08 PM
ok....I only ask because vray uses micro triangular displacement,you can get a perfect result with a plane of 1 segments:)
I guess I just assumed you were using it...sorry.
But yeah max`s displacement modifier requires a ridiculously high face count to get decent results.
Give normal mapping a try...see if that works better?
14-09-2007, 07:47 PM
I don't really know how to do normal mapping. I know the basic theory behind it though - will it actually add a raised 3d letter onto the mesh, or will it just make it appear that way due to the way it deals with light? If it's the latter (and from my limited understanding of normal maps that seems to be the case), won't there be issues when I'm looking from more extreme angles? As I'll be using them in an animation, and most likely part of their animation will be done with reactor, I can see that being a problem if that's the case. Is there no way I could model it in, other than the slow and painstaking way I described earlier?
14-09-2007, 08:01 PM
you may be right about normal maps,it may just bake the details in.
The only way I can see to do it is either attach a seperate letter to a base,but that leaves a hard edge at the base,or take a letter and delete the back face,extrude the rear edge and move those verts to create a square base.
Then remove any unwanted edges.
The problem with text is,it uses spline shapes to create curves and when extruded they create a lot of faces:(
14-09-2007, 08:49 PM
ok...here`s what to do
create your text letter,set your steps to "2"..convert to editable spline then extrude.
Now convert to editable poly and delete all the back faces.
You will notice on the front that there are at least 2 or more edges on the face.
They have to stay but can be moved.
Now select your entire back edge and extrude it and set the spinner so that it has a slight bevel to the body of the letter.Only extrude a small amount.
Now take all your front edges and corners and chamfer them.
edit:..when you extrude your back edge you may have to weld some overlapping verts in tight corners.
Now go into sub object face mode and highlite all faces and assign them a smoothing group with iliterations of 3.
Now create a square plane behind the letter and attach it to the letter.
Now go to the face of the letter and create any edges required to clean up the render...it will only take a few in critical areas.
I did this in 10 mins and has 230 faces.
16-09-2007, 03:22 PM
Thanks a lot, works really well!
19-09-2007, 09:21 PM
I may be a bit late here, but i just wanted to tell that mr's displacement works just fine.
The plane here has 5x5 polys, but it might as well have just one.
Note the how i set up mr's displacement settings...
download scene + maps here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=WAUYCOTZ
20-09-2007, 06:55 PM
Wow, that makes things roughly 17 billion times quicker and easier, thanks so much! Am I correct in thinking that the reason yours works better is the much higher blur? Does the fact that the surrounding area is grey rather than black have any impact? Other than to raise the surrounding surface a bit, that is. I have learned more about modeling than texturing so far (and for the moment I'm happy with that, don't want to bury myself - though my photoshop skills are.....sufficient), and I haven't played around with using textures to help assist the modeling process much yet. Do you know of any good guides to unwrapping UVs so I can do it on the whole cube at once? I'm sure it's not that complicated and I'll have a look around myself, but if you happen to know of a good one, that would be awesome.
Edit: You can pretty much ignore all those questions, I played around with it myself and I've gotten a pretty good idea how it works, I think. With the exception of the unwrapping UVs one. Thanks again, this looks great and is infinitely more time-efficient than my old methods! :)
21-09-2007, 01:25 PM
Am I correct in thinking that the reason yours works better is the much higher blur?
Sharper edges tend to need more subdivisions to make it look good. Also playing with the bitmap -map's blur and interpolation settings often helps.
Does the fact that the surrounding area is grey rather than black have any impact?
50% gray on a displacement map doesn't displace the surface at all. Black "pushes" the surface lower. That might cause trouble when you apply the displacement on a more complex object than just a simple plane.
21-09-2007, 03:09 PM
That's really helpful, thankyou very much! :)
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