Usage of Common Modifiers in Blender (tutorial)

Hello! This is my first tutorial I’m ever making, so please let me know what you think of it in the comments. I’ll try my best to simplify it so anyone can understand it, without those fancy shmancy terms.

Disclaimers

P.S: You must have at least a basic idea of Blender to follow along in this tutorial. There are plenty of great tutorials in Youtube and the Devforum, so go check them out!

P.S.S: This tutorial is more or less a simplification of multiple tutorials I found useful (mainly Blender’s tutorial on it), added with my knowledge of the subject.

P.S.S.S: I’m not going to cover every single modifier in Blender, that wouldn’t be very fun for you (and me). After this tutorial, go ahead and experiment with modifiers yourself! You’ll learn quickly how great it is.

With that out of the way, let’s begin!

i. Definitions
I. Introduction
II. Kinds of Modifiers
III. Interface
IV. Modifiers
V. Conclusion

i. Definitions
*Topology - The properties of a shape/object that stay unchanged under deformations.

Difference between geometry and topology:

Geometry Difference

Topology Difference

*UV mapping - A way of wrapping a 2D image onto a 3D object. An example can be seen in Figure 1.2.

*Branch point: A vertex with 3 or more connections with edges.

*Armature: A skeleton used for rigging. Mainly used for animators who want to animate their models in Blender.

I. Introduction

Have you ever said to yourself, “how am I supposed to make the model I want to create?? it’s composed of a kajillion parts, and the geometry is too complex >:(”

But fret not my friend! We all know that in Blender, you can (technically) create whatever you want! And thankfully, a feature in Blender allows us to fix your problem.

I present you, Modifiers! These bad boys allow you to effect an objects geometry in a safe, non-destructive way (non-destructive meaning to ruin the geometry and all that, which we don’t want for your model).

We can also perform tasks that would be otherwise very tedious to do, like duplicating objects or dividing surfaces.

So sit back, relax, and lets head to the wonderful world of Blender.

Figure 1.1

II. Kinds of Modifiers

Modifiers are split into 4 groups, as seen in Figure 1.1. They compose of:

1. Modify - These kinds of Modifiers don’t effect the geometry of the object, but other forms of data (data being the information held by your model, such as its UV mapping*,Topology*, etc).

2. Generate - These modifiers will effect the geometry/Topology of your object. They can change how it looks, or even add an entirely new shape! (chances are, you’ll be using these modifiers the most)

3. Deform - These modifiers will only effect the geometry of an object, not the topology.

4. Simulate - Like the name suggests, these modifiers will simulate real-world physics. They don’t have any attributes however, so their settings are in the properties tab.

All of these modifiers will be a huge asset in assisting you with Blender endeavors, so be sure to remember them!

III. Interface

To create a modifier, select the object you want to add the modifier to.

Figure 1.2

Next, you wanna click that little wrench icon on the left.

Figure 1.3

There we go! We’re now at the modifiers tab. Now, select the Modifier you want to add by clicking “Add Modifier”.

Figure 1.4

Beautiful. More than 1 modifier can be added on an object, so use them to your heart’s content!

Each modifier has their own attributes (except simulation ones.)
Let’s go ahead and select the array modifier for our example.

This here is our attributes! Changing them will affect how the modifiers will effect our object.

And with that, you’re an interface master. Congratulations!

IV. Modifiers

Now’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, DRUMROLL PLEASE…

Using the modifiers! I won’t be covering all the modifiers in this tutorial (as seen in Disclaimers), rather, I’ll be discussing my 3 most used modifiers, to give you a better idea on how it can help you in developing!

Array modifier

The Array modifier allows you to create copies of the object with relative ease. You
can also add more than 1 Array modifier for even more complex designs!

Attributes:

Fixed types: Controls how the length of the Array is done.

Offsets: Controls the distance of your Arrays.

Merge: If checked, the vertices of each copy with be merged with the vertices of the next copy, within the given distance.

Start/End Cap: This allows the copies to have different starting and ending meshes.

Skin Modifier

The Skin modifier uses vertices and edges to create a skin-like surface. This is useful if you’re finding a quick way to generate models for sculpting or just nice shapes with a good topology.

Attributes:

Branch Smoothing: Smoothens the area around the branch points* (as they might overlap), although it shrinks it as well.

Smooth shading: Turns on Smooth shading, making the appearance of the model smoother. (doesn’t effect geometry)

Symmetry Axes X/Y/Z: These help keep the axes of the object symmetrical. It helps avoid unwanted merging.

Create Armature: Creates an Armature*, Each edge becomes a bone.

Subdivision Surface

The Subdivision Surface modifier (we’ll call it SSM) is a modifier that allows you to turn faces into smaller ones, essentially giving you a smooth surface. Very handy for those who are interested in creating realistic models, as it allows you to smoothen them easily.

Catmull-Clark & Simple: CC subdivides and smoothens surfaces, while Simple just subdivides them.

Subdivisions: Adds more geometry.

• Render - Number of the subdivision levels shown during rendering
• Viewport - Number of the subdivision levels in the 3D viewport.
• Quality - How well the vertices are placed in the model. (lower number - better performance, and a higher number doesn’t always mean it’ll look better)

UV options: How UV maps will be affected in subdivision.

• Smooth, keep corners - Smoothened.
• Sharp - Unchanged.

V. Conclusion

Thus concludes our tutorial. I hope you left knowing just a bit more about how great modifiers are, as well as how much more there is to learn about it. I wish you all luck in your Blender endeavors!

Geometry Topology Definition
http://manual.midasuser.com/EN_Common/GTS/420/GTS/01_Getting_Started/02_Concept/Basic_Concept.htm

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Please let me know if I made any errors in the comments.

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