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I'm experimenting with creating some different avionics formats and one of the objectives is to test readability. To that end I have some text markings using text with extrusion. I give this a highly visible material.

Next I try to add a contrasting outline which will be visible even when the background on the text changes in unpredictable ways...

I duplicate the original text, change material to black, and solidify with a thickness of about 0.02. This text is slightly larger than the original text without altering space between characters. I reduce the extrusion depth. The text is now smaller from face to back, but slightly thicker on the sides. This text overlaps the original such that the original now has black covering sides of text but not the face or back. It is a kind of "jacket" or "skin" anywhere on the font which is not the front or back when both text are centered together.

I could just use the two objects directly if I parent them as is. What I'm wondering about is if I can apply a boolean difference to reuse the outer "shell" by itself by cutting the smaller text size out of the larger text size and leave only the "jacket".

The trouble is that if the text isn't converted to a mesh I can't see the boolean operator. After converting to mesh I had boolean difference available, but I didn't see it actually cut the one object out of the other where they overlap. Does this tiny overlapping space from a solidified mesh having a non-solidified mesh cutting it out fail because it isn't really solid? If I solidify the inner text itself then it thickens where I don't want it to thicken (the two sizes will then match and boolean difference will remove everything).

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    $\begingroup$ This is really hard to follow without any images to illustrate the issue. Related blender.stackexchange.com/questions/57260/… $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Apr 15 '18 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I'm brand new to this. It took me most of the day to get around the KDE key bindings. I'm trying to come up with a way to post images. What it comes down to is if I have text not converted to mesh solidify fails upon apply. I found out I need to convert to mesh first. Unfortunately a slightly thicker mesh character being overlapped by the same character of a slightly different size is unable to boolean difference...the original and difference are exactly the same. I'll try and find a way to illustrate this better but it might take time since I am completely new to this. $\endgroup$ – D. Stimits Apr 16 '18 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ Please use the edit link at the bottom of your question (i.stack.imgur.com/lXFuK.png) and add more information on how you set up your project. Add images that might help us understand your scene and settings $\endgroup$ – cegaton Apr 16 '18 at 4:54
  • $\begingroup$ An explanation is that any HUD will have an unpredictable background and I need an inner component for numbers and markings which is bright, and a "jacket" on sides which is dark such that it will contrast under all conditions. I can change the material of the inner component depending on various conditions, e.g., it might become red or green. $\endgroup$ – D. Stimits Apr 23 '18 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ About the problem: The outer component is created by a negative extrusion of the original character. Only it isn't allowed to save an extruded font. If I first convert to mesh, then extrusion seems to break. Something prevents extrusion in mesh form, but I thought mesh form might be more efficient if I have a lot of markings. Why can I extrude a font, but not "apply" the extrusion, yet I can save without "apply"? Why can I not first convert to mesh then extrude? $\endgroup$ – D. Stimits Apr 23 '18 at 1:09

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