Curved Arches tutorial

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Makkon greentooth
Hey guys! A few of you mentioned that you wanted a tutorial on how to make arches (or other geometry) curve around a cylinder.

Well, this is my first tutorial, and so if it ends up being confusing let me know and I can rewrite it. I took too many pictures, but I'm more of a visual learner.

Here goes.

Let me start off by stressing the importance of the grid. Any sort of modular assets (even curved or radial) MUST be confined to the grid or you will encounter frustrating complications while modeling and using your assets. The grid is designed to keep things clean and simple.

In fact, I use it so much, I gave the grid options it's own hotkey: ctrl+alt+g

You'll end up using this a lot, as you'll be changing the size of the grid often. Keep it to 5, 10, 20, 40, and so on.

We'll start off by making an arch. This is just one way of doing it, but you are free to make the arch in whatever way you feel. I have found that this works well with more complex molding.
And so we start with a box. This will become our archivolt (decorative band of arch) in a moment.

Make whatever shape you want, but be certain that the top and bottom of this shape are filled, flat, and have only 1 face. This will likely be an n-gon.

Copy it, move it a number of units over, rotate it and combine both shapes. Remember that the center of these shapes will end up getting cut in half, so have them 4, 8, or 16 units away center-to-center. (probably have it wrong in this image, please don't count it).

Select the top faces and go to Edit Mesh > Bridge (options) near the top.
Be sure to have smooth path+curve selected and enough divisions to give you something to work with. I haven't figured out just how it works, but putting one more division than what you want seems to keep it even (for example, I put in 17, one more than the usual 16).

This will give you something ugly like this:

But we'll fix that, by referencing from a cylinder. Match the size as close as you can. The radius will likely be 1 unit bigger than the typical 4 or 8 (like 5 or 9 or something).

go into an ortho view, and select the curve you see in the arch. You may need to right-click and select control vertex

Just mess with the top 2. Drag it up, and scale it sideways until it gets as close as you can make it.

Much better

Here's why we had you move your two initial shapes away from eachother center-to-center. We'll be cutting off the ends with booleans. MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS SNAPPING TO THE GRID. Or I'll slap you. Srysly.

Merge any stray verts

But that's just an example of how to make a simple arch. I know you can make something more elegant and beautiful than that. So we won't be working with that bulky piece of garbage. This is much better.


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