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This is hard to explain so I'm hoping the pictures will help.

I'm trying to make a half sphere with a cutout shape. In this case, a crescent.

Here's the look I'm trying to achieve: Beveled shape cutout

Here's the look I'm getting using extruding and scaling: enter image description here

I want the cutout to scale inwards smoothly and gently, looking more beveled than punched through, but still be able to make it decently deep.

Here's another look from the side: enter image description here

It looks like garbage. I'm trying to go for a very natural, organic indentation that doesn't have a huge overhang like that.

I hope this makes sense.

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For natural and smooth indentation you could use Displace modifier with a texture. Here we have a rotated UV sphere that has UV coordinates projected from view. The white parts of the texture are moved along the surface normal by the specified amount, negative numbers making an indentation.

Steps to recreate this:

  1. Add an UV sphere, enable smooth shading and rotate it 90 degrees around y-axis
  2. Enter edit mode and select all
  3. Enter orthogonal top down view and press U > Project from view
  4. Exit edit mode and add subsurface modifier, set it to 4 view and render
  5. Add a displace modifier, set the strength to -0.05 and click to create new texture
  6. Go to Texture tab, select you newly created texture from the drop-down and set its type to image or movie
  7. Create and paint new image, open one from file or browser the drop-down for existing image to be used with the texture. Note the image should have soft gradient from white areas to black areas, this will affect the displace strength accordingly.
  8. If you need to edit the placement of the displace texture, go into edit mode and find the UV layout in an image editor window. In the image editor window you can select all your UVs and move, rotate or scale them to align the texture.

Displace with texture

This approach often requires a high number of vertices for non-jagged results but it's faster than trying to make the appropriate geometry especially if the shape of the indentation is a bit uncertain.

Alternative approach might be to model the shape on a flat surface geometry and curve the flat surface on a sphere using shrinkwrap or lattice.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for answering. Can you expand on this/ELI5? I did the displace modifier with a texture, but couldn't figure out how to move the texture around. Worse, the texture wasn't being displayed correctly, and barely resembled the crescent shape, even with a high amount of vertices. I don't understand what's going on in the bottom part of the screenshot, either. $\endgroup$ – user56282 May 8 '18 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for clarifying. I did exactly what you said, but it's just not coming out smooth, and not giving the look I'm trying to achieve. I'll keep messing with it but in the meantime I might look into a different program or something. $\endgroup$ – user56282 May 8 '18 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ Can you post screenshot of your result, I might have missed a step? $\endgroup$ – kheetor May 8 '18 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a screenshot: imgur.com/rQju8ki I also can't get my texture to show up the way yours is. Here's what I get when I go into edit mode, so I have to just fiddle and guess: imgur.com/dFz3f9d And thank you very much for all of your help, I really appreciate it. $\endgroup$ – user56282 May 8 '18 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ It seems you didnt rotate the sphere so you have the polar cap on top which often looks bad. Also you are using the subdivide operator instead of the subsurface modifier which makes the edit mode hard to work with for you. From the leftmost part of the bottom bars you can switch window type, if you change one to image editor you can see the UV coordinates of the selected faces in edit mode. The image needs to have the right amount of smoothing ie. grey gradient between black and white parts to get smoother results. You can accomplish it by blurring it in image editing software. $\endgroup$ – kheetor May 8 '18 at 22:35

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