→ Blender 3D Modelling By Example ←
This post is about modelling in Blender using Bezier curves.
Bezier curves can be used for a whole host of different modelling techniques, however, in this example, we will be modelling earphone wires to demonstrate this flexibility.
Bezier Curves & Their Flexibility In Modelling
Right, let’s get stuck right in!
Modelling is only one part of getting your renders looking great, because along with adding materials and lighting, you need to make sure that your model looks realistic in shape, size and proportions… so never underestimate its importance.
Right, but how hard is it to model a wire? Create a circle and extrude it – done!
Was it really worth creating a whole tutorial on this topic?
Yes that is very true, that is the very basics of modelling a wire, but when was the last time you saw earphone wires being perfectly straight? The last time I checked they are all bent, twisted and climbing over each other.
This is precisely what we need to replicate in order to bring some realism to our models (something you would not get if your wires were simply straight and tubular.
So to reiterate what was said a little earlier on, realistic renders is not only about the materials and lighting you add to your scene, but is also about the modelling process as can be seen on this Blender tutorial!
Quick Steps To Modelling Your Earphone Wires
- Add a Circle (for circumference of wire)
- Add Bezier (for path / length of wire)
- Prompt Circle to follow Bezier (circumference to follow path)
Adaptive Modelling That Comes With Bezier Curves
But before we start on the steps to modelling, let us discuss the ability to manipulate and update your model quickly and efficiently. This is paramount for instant editing without spending countless hours tweaking things so that they can look just right.
As a little experiment, I would recommend getting your earphones or headset and resting them on the floor. Now imagine spending several hours modelling the spaghetti junction of wires, but it just does not look right.
So you pick up the headset again and rest it back down on the floor. You notice the wires have moved, but this time you like how they are resting on the ground.
It wouldn’t be ideal to have to remodel everything again, but rather be able to use the existing model of wires and manipulate them quickly to match. This is precisely what Bezier Curves allows you to do.
In essence, it is a type of adaptive modelling!
The Control Bezier Curves Bring To Your Blender Scene
So how exactly do Bezier curves bring flexibility, control and adaptivity to your model?
Basically how it works is like this. Rather than having to work along the length of the whole wire, you actually deal with two 2D sketches that make up the wire.
See this in action by going to timeline 3:18 in the above video!
Remember, the wire is made up of a Circle which then follows a Path.
Step 1: Create Curved Circle
(Remove default cube)
The default Blender cube will always appear when loading Blender (well at least it always has up until now). So we will want to remove this in order to clear up our scene.
Left hand click cube -> hit “X” on keyboard -> click “delete”
Step 2: Create Mesh Circle
We now want to create the circumference of the wire and we do this by drawing a 2D sketch of a circle, but not an ordinary circle, but rather a curved one.
Add -> Mesh -> Circle
What you will now see is a 2D circle appearing in your scene.
Step 2b: Convert Mesh Circle To Curve
There’s one more step to take here. We need to convert the circle which is a mesh into a curve.
Make sure circle is selected -> Object -> Convert to -> Curve
The reason for doing this is because we will next be creating a Bezier curve and both items have to be a curve for this process to work.
Step 3: Create Bezier Path
Next, it is time to create the path, which is essentially the length of the wire that the circle will follow.
Add -> Curve -> Bezier
What you will now see is curved line.
Step 4: Combining Both For End Result
(Wire in 3D)
The final step is to get the circle to follow the path (Bezier curve) in order to create the 3D wire.
To achieve this, follow these instructions:
- Left hand click the path created in Step 3
- Click Object Data tab (top right of Blender)
- Under Geometry -> Bevel, click on “Object” and select “Circle”
You now have created your wire!
Notice how the diameter of the circle is following the shape of the Path (Bezier Curve)?
Step 5: Controlling Your Bezier Model
(Adapt length, shape & thickness)
Now here is the best part… being able to control your model after it has been created.
By editing both the Bezier Circle and Path, you are able to elongate, twist, turn, shift & scale the wire with total control & flexibility.
Once again – the quickest way to see this in action would be go to to time line 3:18 on the above video!
Happy modelling everyone!
Closing Thoughts On Bezier Curves
For me personally, the ability of modifying a model after its creation is a strong feature to have on any 3D tool.
However, I am not talking about modifying or manipulating a mesh. This can be very complicated to do, especially of you have hundreds, if not thousands of faces to deal with (high-poly model).
While creating a 2D shape to follow a bezier path, your resulted 3D model can be manipulated easily and quickly by two means.
- Changing the shape of the 2D object in edit mode
- Manipulating the shape of the path using bezier handles or elongating the path.
Blender is extremely powerful, and has other features such as lattice modifier that are designed to help manipulate models in a non-destructive manner. However, as it stand, bezier curve are definitely up there in terms of easy and flexibility.
In this video, we check out Curve Basher – and add-on for creating wires and cables in Blender!
DOWNLOAD CURVE BASHER (Affiliate Link)
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0:00 – Introduction
0:17 – Curve Basher Download Location
0:25 – How to add a curve with curve basher
1:01 – Editing curves with the Curve Basher Menu
1:11 – Adjusting kinds of curves/profiles
1:45 – Array mode options
2:19 – Using kitbash mode
2:53 – How to adjust curve locations
3:21 – Adjusting scale, rotation, and twist
4:17 – Adding curves along objects with wire generator
4:45 – Adjusting wire generator settings
5:30 – Adding gravity to wires
6:10 – Adding an object to curve ends with mesh to curve
6:52 – Adding an object to curve bodies with mesh to curve
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Jan van den Hemel writes:
This is an easy trick for making a bunch of cables at once.
Hi, my name is Jan and I help companies by creating short videos for their websites and internal use, mostly as a freelancer for agencies. I post daily one-minute tutorials for Blender users and wrote the popular "Blender Secrets" e-books.
Impuls Blender Electronic wire Replacement
Turn the bottom part over and look at the bottom.
Take the rubber parts out of the 4 holes to reveal the screws.
Take the 4 screws out using a Phillips screwdriver.
Take out the 3 screws that are deep inside.
Take off the blue part on top that was fixed with those screws.
Pull the black disc out by using the screwdriver as lever from multiple sides.
This will take some force, so do not be afraid it will break.
Find the fraction in the wire.
Cut off the broken part
Strip both sides of the wire that have to be attached again.
If you will use a shrink sleeve to cover the electronic wire, it has to be put on the wire first. Otherwise if electrical tape is used, this can be done afterwards.
Solder the two wires with a soldering iron.
Shrink the sleeve with a heater or put the electrical tape around the soldered wire.
If you want to create cables in Blender you can use this fantastic Blender addon for creating cables easily and in a very short period of time. It has many different features and tools that can be more than enough to create all sorts of cables and manipulate them as you please.
Main features of the Cablerator Blender addon for creating cables
Today I am going to cover 10 functions of the Cablerator addon in Blender. These are certainly going to give you a rough idea about the tool and some good insights on how to use it.
10 – Create a simple cable
Firstly, to start creating cables using this addon you need to press Shift+alt+C. Then you are going to choose to Create cable from the menu, then choose a point A and a Point B to see the cable created for you. You can also change the width of the cable by pressing S and change the tension by pressing D from the keyboard, using the mouse to control it. Furthermore, you can insert additional cables at the same time by pressing Q and repeating the process every time you need a new cable. Not to mention that you can control how it looks every time.
9 – Draw cables on flat surfaces
As you can see, this fantastic Blender addon for creating cables gives you more than just the simple parameters. To do draw cables on a flat surface, you’ll have to begin with pressing Shift+alt+C and choosing to Draw a cable. After that, choose a surface and start drawing on top of it and you will see the cable created for you immediately. This is a very nice feature that allows you to have more freedom when creating your cables. And most importantly it is super fast and efficient.
8 – Connect a cable to a surface
To do this you Firstly need to choose a cable, go to edit mode using Tab from the keyboard, choose a point in the cable. Secondly, press Shift+alt+C to create a cable and select the point B which is on the surface of your model. To clarify, you can always change how the cable looks to fit the situation. This comes in handy when creating cables that are a combination of cables you drew and cables you create automatically. When looking for a Blender addon for creating cables, it’s definitely a feature you want to have.
7 – Connecting 2 cables together
To be able to do this you need to select both cables that you want to connect. Go to the edit mode by pressing Tab from the keyboard, then choose the two points or two ends you want to connect. Next, press Shift+alt+C and create a cable. It is as simple as that. This can also be very useful if you want to create a cable that has a shape that is hard to create directly. Or just when creating a cable that goes over multiple sides of your model.
6 – Add Connectors to Cables
Adding connectors is undoubtedly one of the reasons that pushed you to look for a Blender addon for creating cables and tweaking them. This is one of the features that stand out in the Cablerator addon. To do this you need to have your cable created in addition to the connector that you are going to use. Just select the connector, then select the cable, go to edit mode, then select the point or points where you want your connector to be added. Press Shift+alt+C and choose to add connectors. This will create it automatically for you which very cool in fact.
5 – Add connectors to multiple Cables
This is almost the same process as the previous one. The only difference is that you have to select the connector you want to use in addition to all the cables. And in the edit mode you need to select all the points that need connectors and the addon will place one on each point.
4 – Add segments
This feature allows you to create segments or objects along with your cables. You need to select the segment, then the cable, and then click on add or edit segment. Cablerator also gives you the possibility of moving the segment along your cable and place it where ever you want.
3 – Copy segments along with cables
This is a way of adding multiple similar objects alongside your cable without having to worry about repeating the process again. You can just select the segment you already have, copy it, and then paste it and move around. If you have many segments to copy you can select a bunch of them and copy them and position them accordingly.
2 – Connect multiple objects
This feature can also be very handy in many different situations. You need to create the objects you want to be connected to and then press Shift+alt+C. After that, you’ll have to choose “create from selected object” from the menu. And the addon will create the cables automatically. But I want to mention that the way the cable will be created differs based on the distance between the objects. If they are close the cables will be hanging, and if they are too far from each other the cable will usually be straight.
1 – Create a pack of cable
This is another great feature that gives you more control and freedom in creating cables. You can use multiple shapes such as circles to create what looks like a section of multiple cables. Attach them together, select the cable, go to edit mode, and then press A from the keyboard and select the circles. This will allow the cable to adopt a new shape represented by the circles which is multiple cable (cables close to each other).
If your work includes creating any kind of cables. Or if you are creating a project and you don’t waste a lot of time dealing with cables then this addon can truly be your savior and I highly recommended it. Because thousands of Blender users are using already
Check the addon here: https://blendermarket.com/products/cbl?ref=247
I was asked a few days ago if curves can be used to create cables with blender. Well, the answer is: Yes, of course – and this is the tutorial on creating cables.
Open a new project, delete the cube and add a bezier curve. This curve will be your cable:
Add bezier curve
Move handles of bezier
You can select each handle of your curve with the right mouse button (the red lines) and apply default operations like moving (G key) or rotating (R key). You can also add handles in between two other handles by subdividing. First select two handles (right mouse button and Ctrl key), then press the W key und select Subdivide. Now a handle is generated in between your selected handles.
After that you have to add an object that defines the form and radius of your cable. Let’s add a circle curve for this purpose:
Add a circle curve
Then select the bezier curve again and add the circle as Bevel Object in the Object data panel of the bezier curve:
Use bezier circle as bevel object
That’s it basically, your cable is generated now:
To add more thickness to the cable you can use a Solidify modifier for it. Select the cable in Object Mode and add the Solidiy modifier from the modifier panel. Define a thickness of about -0.03.
Solidify modifier for cable
Keep in mind that you can always change the radius of the cable by scaling the circle bezier curve.
After you added the thickness you can define a material for the cable or a matcap to make it look more realistic:
Cable with matcap
To use your cable as a mesh there is a convert function in Blender: Press Alt + C key and select Convert to Mesh:
Mesh from Curve
After this operation you can see the polygons of the object in edit mode:
Convert curve to mesh
With that knowledge at hand you can create combined objects like the following one:
Cable combined with other objects
So, be creative, it’s all up to you now.
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