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I am trying to model this bowl pictured below with rings of elements with slightly varying section, extrusion length and angle. I am wondering how best to go about this? If I added randomization to an array as described here that would deal with the random angle of each element but how then would I go about randomizing the extrusion section shape? spikey extrusions with random direction and scale

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I would do it that way :

First, create your cylinder by using an elongated rectangle. Delete the bottom face.

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Add a subdivision surface modifier. Don't forget to smooth it out with Object > Smooth

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Add an array modifier to get your row of 3

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This is the trickiest part. Add an empty in your scene. Add an array modifier with a constant offset and set the empty as an object offset :

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Drive the empty rotation depending on the array count :

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Add a displacement modifier, add a new texture and set the direction to "RGB to XYZ".

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In the texture tab, set the type to "Clouds" and the color to "Color". Increase the size. There is a soft limit of 2 but you can manually input higher values.

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Tweak the displacement modifier strength so that it is believable.

Result :

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If you want lower frenquency in your displacement noise, you can add another displacement modifier with a new texture, set to a higher size.

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I didn't go full non-destructive but you can still tweak some parameters :

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Addition (Thanks R. Betts :) ) : To give a nicer transition between the base of the cylindrical thingies and the plate, I modified the base mesh to have a square extended base :

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Next add a vertex group, and make sur only the top vertices have a weight of 1.

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In your displacement modifiers, make sure the group is selected so that the base doesn't get displaced :

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Final result (Eevee - By no means supposed to look realistic :) ):

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The blend file :

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    $\begingroup$ Phew! you're ahead of me. Lovely answer.. I'm wondering whether you can integrate the wobbly studs into their smooth cylindrical base by giving the stud-instances a square tile base to emerge from, protected from the displace modifier by vertex group. Then the glaze could be continuous over the surface.giving that nice little fillet at the bottom of each stud? $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 7:45
  • $\begingroup$ That's an excellent idea ! I'll see what I can do :) $\endgroup$
    – Gorgious
    May 28 '20 at 7:58
  • $\begingroup$ @RobinBetts I think it would be nice with the Normal Edit or Mesh Data Transfer modifier to get the same shading on the base of the cylinders but I can't figure this out :) $\endgroup$
    – Gorgious
    May 28 '20 at 8:20
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    $\begingroup$ I 'll have a look. Data Xfer would need something to xfer from.. Normal Edit? You've given me an excuse to look at something I haven't really become familiar with. $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 8:31
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    $\begingroup$ Yup, that's what I was thinking.. I must work out Normal Edit.. $\endgroup$ May 28 '20 at 10:03

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