See the picture at the bottom for what I want to model. I’m using Blender 2.8 Beta.

I was thinking an open cone (that is, bottom face removed) with some modifiers applied, and a creative texture, should do this. But as a beginner I'm in over my head.

I was first inspired by something I had seen with the wireframe modifier, which can produce the nest-of-spikes effect on a cone.

enter image description here

But it doesn’t quite work right (I could cut off the bottom using a Boolean, though) and I don’t have any control: Make the creases shallower but still broad enough to span to the next. With “Relative thickness” it gives points that extend past the end, but they are far too long, and again, I can’t control that separately.

Meanwhile, I was thinking the top-to-bottom scale-like ridges could be done with a modifier, as I see there are some named “Wave” and “Displace” but I can’t figure those out when I just tried it to see what happens.

The final bumpiness could be done with a bump map procedural texture, I’m sure. I’m familiar with the concepts from POV-Ray (years ago), but looking at the node editor I was again at a loss as to how to do that.

Any suggestions, or pointers to tutorials or .blend files that contain similar features that I can learn from?

cheap plastic tree

  • $\begingroup$ why do you want to use modifiers and not simply start with a cone or a cylinder and scale down some of its edges? $\endgroup$ – moonboots Mar 21 '19 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ Why? I’m just not that familiar with the toolset yet. I’m used to doing everything procedurally — POV uses solid geometry and not a mesh approximation, and is scripted not GUI. I like the idea of nondestructive modifiers that let me rework the original object (e.g. make five slightly different cones) in a simple way, and the details carry over automatically. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 21 '19 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ ok, you could do it with Array modifier, I will try an answer $\endgroup$ – moonboots Mar 21 '19 at 16:44

Here is a way to do it:

  • Create a plane, go in Edit mode, rotate on the X axis and scale it, move it a bit away from its origin on the Y axis.
  • Cut it in half with a vertical edge loop, give it a Mirror modifier, enable the Clipping option.
  • Create an empty on the same position as the plane origin.
  • Select the plane, give it an Array modifier, deactivate Relative Offset and activate Object Offset, choose the empty as the Object. Choose a Count of, for example, 18. Activate the Merge and First Last options.
  • Rotate the empty 20° on the Z axis.
  • Select the plane, go in Edit mode and edit the plane mesh, move the vertices, add some vertical edge loops.
  • Give your plane a Subsurf modifier, add some horizontal edge loops.
  • When you'll be glad with the result, keep a copy, then apply all the modifiers except the Subsurf, remove the doubles, close the top with some altM > Merge.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ When I try it, rather than a bunch of faces arranged in a cone, I get what looks like a strong wind over a pile of newspapers. I was careful that the plane is +y from the empty, and the same in x and z. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 27 '19 at 22:34
  • $\begingroup$ you have to make sure that your object is shifted from its origin and that the rotation and scale are applied in object mode, maybe it will fix your problem $\endgroup$ – moonboots Mar 28 '19 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ that would go between your first and second steps? $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 28 '19 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ when you create a plane, it will be flat on the Z axis by default, if you rotate in on the X axis in Object mode you'll have to apply rotation, if you rotate in Edit mode, you won't need to, maybe you rotated in Object mode and didn't apply the rotation, if it's not the case the problem is somewhere else, hard to tell on a forum $\endgroup$ – moonboots Mar 29 '19 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ yes, hard to understand at the beginning, I would say that you have your object, and inside your object you have your mesh, which is a different thing... modifying the object size (or rotation, or location) is not the same as modifying the mesh size (or rotation, or rotation). an object has its own scale/rotation/location values, you can verify it if you select your object and go in the Properties panel > Object > Transform, you'll have access to the Loc/Rot/Scale of the object. But if you go in Edit mode and modify the mesh, it won't affect the Loc/Rot/Scale of the object. $\endgroup$ – moonboots Mar 30 '19 at 20:31

Some of us are lazy, too lazy to even use modifiers for the shape.

Enable the Mesh Extra Objects add-on in the user preferences.

enter image description here

Then you can create a star with add mesh >extra Objects > star. If you open the tool window at the bottom you can make it the basic shape you want. (for versions previous to 2.8 you can access the settings on the toolbar T or by pressing F6)

enter image description here

Enter edit mode and refine the shape to look more like one of the sections of the tree.

enter image description here

The bottom part you can edge select, change to vertex selection and do "checker deselect" so that only the tips of the creases are selected (if you get the wrong set of vertices with checker deselect use "offset")

enter image description here

Set the shading to smooth and now we can use some modifiers.

Ah yes, modifiers...

First a subsurf modifier to round the edges.

enter image description here

Then an array modifier to stack them vertically (on the Z axis)

enter image description here

Now add an empty and use it as Object offset on the modifier.

If you change the size for the empty, you can make the objects in the array progressively change size as well.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Nice to hear about “checker deselect”! That, in particular, helps with the manual labor issue that bugs me about using a GUI (instead of scripting). $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Mar 21 '19 at 23:52

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