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Vector-based modelling in Blender?

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Ryan_JJ triangle
Hi everyone, 

I am an Architecture graduate who has recently decided to pursue a career in games art & design. I am in the early stages of learning the softwares and pipeline of things. I am focusing on Blender for modelling and sculpting, Substance Painter for textures and using Unreal Engine to put all the ingredients together. I currently think I will be a props, weapons or environmental artist...

But one thing which is driving me INSANE is how modelling (as far as I understand) is based on adding primitive shapes and forming, scaling, sculpting, morphing etc into the desired shape...

I come from a long experience of Revit, Vectorworks and Sketchup whereby you user draws lines and gives them exact numerical dimensions, angles etc to create the shapes which can be extruded and scaled and so on. Also used to being able to move, push/pull and extrude by a given dimension or to snap to a face. 

I hope my brief description of Architectural CAD modelling makes sense here.... but is there any way to do this kind of modelling in Blender or to move things around as such in UE5?

Am I missing something here? Every modelling tutorial (in blender) I watch is basically modelling things by approximating and gauging things by eye. While this is fine for the general application we use the models for, I'd personally prefer to be able to model and edit things in Blender using the typical navigation and tools from SketchUp.

Am I crazy or does anyone else feel this way also who has transitioned for Architecture into Digital 3D design?


  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycount lvl 666
    Blender is in the same vein as other modelling programs like 3ds max or maya. You can get some pretty nice Hard surface techniques on the go
    this guy has a lot of free tutorials
    I think there are some addons so can can model more in a CAD like way, anyway maybe try CAD sktecher, open source project

  • lukors
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    lukors polycounter lvl 10
    You can also use a workflow where you start out in Sketchup for instance, and when you have the shapes you want you export and continue in Blender.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    "But one thing which is driving me INSANE is how modelling (as far as I understand) is based on adding primitive shapes and forming, scaling, sculpting, morphing etc into the desired shape..."

    That's incorrect. While a package like Blender doesn't have much in terms of procedural CAD-like features, object dimensions can be entered precisely and transformations can be done by typing the desired values just like in oldschool keyboard-centric CAD. For instance : Grab (G key by default) > X > 20 will move a selection 20 units along the X axis. This is actually very similar to using Autocad with the keyboard.

    The other pillar of precise modeling in Blender is the 3D Cursor. It a reference point that can be placed anywhere in space, to serve a center of rotation for instance. Or, as a target to precisely move components to.

    If you spend about a week fully focusing on these two areas of the software (precise transformations without grabbing the manipulator, and how to rely on the 3d Cursor) you'll be able to build parts in polygon geometry with the same precision as regular CAD.

    On top of that, there's also the option of polymodeling very loosely first and than straightening things out later - quite similarly to how one would constrain parts in CAD engineering (albeit without parametric dimensioning).

    Parts from robotics/mechanical projects done in Blender using (mostly) polygonal modeling :

    If anything, the Blender remeshing features can be of great help too. It allows many hybrid workflows impossible in regular CAD :)
  • kanga
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    kanga quad damage
    As seen above (pior) you can model quite precisely without the support of numeric value. I started 3D in a vector application and being interested in organics it was a pretty chalk and cheese combination. Primitives and polys were for me a godsend. For game art I am not interested in accuracy to 0.00001 of a mm. For product manufacture I am. But that is a different kettle of beans. Judging from your post the best advice so far would be to use sketchup. I had one client who used it rather well as these days there are a huge amount of plugins that add extras function to the program and would make it interesting for you.
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