Why shouldn't I use the Simple Deform modifier directly to bend a mesh?


I made a low-poly shield that's flat. To bend it, the tutorial I followed suggested to use either

  1. Proportional edit (with a decent falloff curve)
  2. Lattice modifier

Another shield creation tutorial demonstrates option 2 where the lattice itself is made a tight bounding box of the shield and then deformed using simple deform. The model itself is applied the lattice modifier with said lattice.

When I asked the tutor if I can apply directly use Simple Deform, he said "not really", without explaining himself.

Why do people go through the lattice way? Why is it not advisable to directly use the Simple Deform modifier on the mesh itself? Blender's manual seems to use it as-is while experienced modellers don't. What am I missing?

  • $\begingroup$ All these methods work fine for what you want, Surface Deform as well, feel free to use the one you want, Proportional Editing seems like the simplest in your case, Lattice is the most complicated $\endgroup$ – moonboots Jun 18 '20 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply! I understand that my case would be solved by one of these, just curious why people use the lattice method. $\endgroup$ – legends2k Jun 18 '20 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ for your particular case I don't see any reason, Lattice can be a bit tedious, it's the last thing I would use to simply deform a shield, but maybe I also miss something $\endgroup$ – moonboots Jun 18 '20 at 19:37

Different out-of the box outcome

My wild guess would be that you'll simply not get the same deformation. Propotional editing is using a smooth falloff by default, while the Simple Deform modifer is bending linearly...it's a nuance, but if you try, there is a different shape as outcome. Same for the lattice modifier. With the Simple deform modifier you basically get one thing, with the other you have more room, they are more flexible.

At the end I think he is suggesting to use the tool beacause without it you'll not get the exact deformation he was looking for.

You can easily experience the difference by doing the inverse: try to get a perfectly circular deformation using proportional editing. You'll find more challenging than you expect.

enter image description here

Another reason could be that you cannot straight use the Simple deform modifier, but you'll have to rotate your object from the XY plane to get a proper result, while in all the tutorial the shield is right on that plane.


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