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Is it possible to easily create a rounded wireframe mesh in blender?

The Skin modifier works well, but it's too heavy for even medium meshes; it takes several minuets with the default Suzanne.

You can create a wireframe object with CtrlF> wireframe, but each "edge" has only three faces.

I know the trick with subsurf and loopcuts, but manually adding loopcuts will be tedious for anything larger than a cube.


Update:
The Crease option works okay, but it creates these pointed corners:

enter image description here

Is there a way to avoid this so it looks more rounded?

For comparison here are the Loopcut and Skin techniques:

Loopcut Skin

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Yes this is possible, the wire-frame tool has a Crease toggle, that gives a nicer result when the subsurf modifier is applied.

Without Crease (left) With Crease option enabled (right).


Note:

there is a bug in 2.68a, where this option only works if creases were already added to the mesh. Fixed in trunk (available in any builds newer than r60061 and will be in 2.69).

To workaround this you can add a crease to any edge before accessing wire tool.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note, there is a bug in 2.68a, where this option only works if creases were already added to the mesh. Fixed in trunk (available in any new builds and 2.69), fixed 60061, blender.markmail.org/thread/lk6b2tuelthwyy3g. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Sep 12 '13 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. However, using creases creates pointed edges and corners. Is there a way to avoid these? I have update my question. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Sep 12 '13 at 20:41
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This can also be done by converting to a curve:

  1. In Tab Edit mode, A select all, Delete> Only faces.

  2. AltC> Convert to curve from mesh

  3. In Object Data > Shape set Fill to Full

  4. Set the Depth and Resolution in Object Data > Geometry > Bevel

Pros: Allows good control over the shape and size of the bars, using bevel objects

Cons: Results in disconnected topology


I don't really like this technique because of the topology issues, but I thought I would add it as it provides the rounded shape I'm looking for.

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Rounded Wireframe Cube

Here is the workflow I have discovered. It's all non-destructive so you can change things on the fly. (I'm using 2.8 Beta, but this should work in earlier versions too.)

There are 3 modifiers you need to add to your object: Wireframe, Bevel, and Subdivision-Surface.

  1. Go to the Modifier Panel

Modifier Panel

  1. Add Wireframe Modifier
    • Set the Thickness to 0.5m or something so it's not paper thin

Wireframe Modifier

  1. Add Bevel Modifier
    • Set Width Method to Width - this generally makes it smoother (edit: this may or may not always have the desired effect)
    • You can play with the other settings but I typically leave Segments to 1 or 2, and Profile to 0.5

Bevel Modifier

  1. Add Subdivision Surface Modifier
    • Set Subdivisions to 4 or higher

Subdivided Round Cube

All of those modifiers can be changed as long as they're still live. If you want to make the corners sharper you can increase the number of segments on the bevel or increase the profile on the bevel.

This should work with any mesh, not just a cube, as long as it's manifold.

Hope this helps! :)

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