# How to model the rounded outline of a column

I need a good way to model the rounded shape of a capital, just like in the picture.

My problem is, that it should be precise for architectural modeling. I could use paths, but that would be really painful to do ;) And Bevel is not precise enough I would say.

So what would be the best way to model a capital ?

• Have you tried boolean modifiers and the knife tool? Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 11:03

I'm not sure there is a best way, but using a Curve and the Screw Tool allows you to edit the profile non destructively and get nice flowing curves by using the Bezier handles.

Tools needed.

• Import image as background (or use Import Image as Plane addon.. if you want to get work done)
• Curve Object, with origin placed on the point you want to rotate around.
• Use the Screw modifier, to "Lathe" the Curve geometry.

The trick with Curve object is you can have straight and curved sections in one Curve object, and each curve section can have a different level of subdivision.

• If you want straight section: select the two handles of the section you want straight and press V and choose Vector.

• If you want a section curved select the handles for that section and V and choose Free then move them around.

To help see stuff, you might want to change the Normal size, else it just looks like random lines fanning out from your curve.

Adding sections of curve is easy, select the last Knot ( not handle ) and press extrude and drag away, just like with vertices.

On its side that Curve looks something like this, it was done fast only to give an impression. Take your time to include transitions and change the subdivision per segment if you can get away with reducing geometry.

Quick recap

• no harm having multiple answers. you know I've left out a heap Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 11:25

You can use two curves. One that traces the outline of the capital. And a bezier circle to control the diameter.

On the Bezier Circle select the bezier curve as bevel object.

You can then convert the curve to a mesh for further editing (AltC).

• I can't position the curve that traces the outline. It gives me 1000s of forms, but not the outline! Any help ? Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 19:41

You can also create the profile with vertices :

Then use "Screw Modifier" :

You can achieve this result with actual modelling as well, which is good if you want to have the capital and the pillar all one piece. The basic concept is the extruding and scaling of a circle:

To make the inset parts of the pillar, select the lower face loop (Alt+RMB in face select mode), and then Select > Checker Deselect. Now simply extrude and scale inwards.

This is fairly easy to edit as you can just Alt+RMB to select an edge loop, and then scale it again to change that edge loop's shape. You can also add another edge loop at any point using Ctrl+R+LMB (x2). You may also find it useful to be able to crease edges using Shift+E if you add a subdivision surface modifier.

Final Result

Following Reference Wire:

While this might be a harder/less efficient way to do this (depending on level of experience), it has the benefit of already being a mesh, and being able to incorporate the rest of the pillar in one piece. You can move the loops in extremely precise (to the fourth decimal place) increments using numerical inputs, the same for scaling. Also you will not get any weird topology artifacts from exporting like you would with a curve object.