Many Methods of Surfacing in Moi3D
Say you need a rounded push-button shape, and you may be looking for a
more organic shape - not a box. - And not flat on top, but smooth!
You'd start by making the general button shape from either four conic curves or freeform splines.
You could perform an Extrude to raise the shape and then add Fillets to
the top edge. You could even control the curvature of the Fillet.
However, you are limited since the radius of the Fillet could never
exceed that of the depth of the button extrude and that limits how far
into the center
of the button you want the top to be smoothed. This leaves the top to be very flat.
Here are four additional methods in MoI:
A - Loft
Copy the master ring profile a few times upwards in Z until you reach the top. Make a copy by scaling it inwards.
A few extra rings at the bottom will force a more straight shape.
Perform a Loft and choose the "Loose" option so that the loft will interpolate it's new smooth shape.
Make sure to turn "Cap Ends" on.
Note the points structure. Very basic. Plus! You can go back and change the ring's position to change the loft shape.
B - Blend
Extrude the profile ring on the bottom a little to provide an edge for the Blend to launch off of in a tangent.
Make a scaled down copy of the ring at the top.
You can only Blend from single edge curves to single edge curves, so
trimming or splitting your top planar face will be needed (as shown).
Blend the edge of the bottom to the flat face edge on top.
Do this for all four sides. The sides of the Blend should match. You can tweak the bulge shape before committing.
C - Rail Revolve
Very simple and the easiest way.
Make a side profile that starts at a bottom point and ends in the center at the top.
Select the rail when performing the revolve and you can adjust the profiles afterwords to tweak the overall button shape.
Not only is this the easiest way, but if you notice the points, they are really simple.
One drawback: Often times you'll notice slight bunching or pinching in the center axis area.
Since I used simple Conic curves, this is not a problem here. But the
more points you construct the major bottom profile with the more
points you'll have trying to connect to the center. - This becomes a
problem when you want to do things like weld or emboss type on the
So in that case, a button top defined with a more consistent grid point system is favorable.
D - Network Mesh
The bottom profile is split into two halves and the halves are connected
with a succession of bridging network profiles sections.
This method will produce the most uneven look and surface consistency, and is harder to formulate.
But the top surface as you can see, is the best for trimming in detail.
You can see that the bunching is confined to the lesser seen
And you can more easily tweak in small convolution details for a more natural look.
Two other methods include:
You'll get a nice look as expected, but the top may be left mostly flat
and you sometimes end up with the multiple panels as Fillet negotiated
Rail-Revolve (Michael's Alien Foot Style)
You've seen Michael use this method for making the foot on the alien in his tutorial.
If you use only half of the bottom ring and perform a Rail Revolve using
the side profile (that reaches from one side to the other)
You'll get a very nice shape along with a good clean top point structure.
There you go, four or five ways to skin a cat.