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I am new to blender, and I am trying to create a shark which is all covered by thorns.

There should be the minimum empty space between thorns and each thorn should point to the outside of the shark like the normal of the surface at each point.

Each thorn should be an independent mesh and thorns should not overlap.

Something like what is achieved with 4 cones in the below image, but for the entire mesh:

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I can do this manually, but it seems a very inefficient way of doing it.

Is there any add-on or python script to do this? If there isn't, could anyone point me in the right direction? I'm familiar with python but not much with blender.

Thanks!

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Particle Systems

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If you want denser visuals you may use smaller particles size and a greater number of particles. Your machine may easily handle 100,200 particles, or may not depending on hardware. Mine is hesitating a little at the numbers below. Note that you can choose to [render only] the particles by clicking the eye icon off below. [Render only] would allow easier responsive user interaction and produce same render quality. Render On. Visual Eye Off. Save some compute cycles. So the first two images will show high density particle systems. To save time the other images will show low density particle systems.

Above image with a fairly large number of particles. Not yet even to 100,000. Just a beginning example of dense population. Of course there are other considerations for a visual effect.

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All particles are emitted by frame 0. Gravity is 0.

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Image above. The Particle System uses the Cone as the duplicated mesh.

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Image above. Two different meshes with different colors. They are placed in a Blender Group. Keystroke Control-G. You can be much more artistic than these explanatory examples. This allows multiple models.

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Image above. You can use the modifier panel to convert particles into ordinary meshes, which can be custom edited.

Dupligroups

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The thorn has its parent as indicated by outliner windows and properties window. The duplication mesh has duplication indicated by Duplication Panel. Faces and Scale. Your mesh is the Shark. The mesh in picture happens to be a stem or tentacle. The Scale selection uniformly scales the thorn to the size of the face which may be of interest to you.

Displacement Modifier

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Above Image. Horribly non artistic use of the Displacement modifier.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi! Thank you @atomicbezierslinger but I would need each thorn to be an independent mesh itself so I can later modify each of them (add texture, etc) $\endgroup$ – Joaquin Llaneza Jan 31 '16 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Having multiple models is neither a problem for Dupligroups nor Particles Systems. How many thorn models will you have? 3, 33, 333 ? This detail belongs in the original question. Particles can be made into ordinary meshes. $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger Jan 31 '16 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ As many as thorns :S I'm making this 3D model to export to use in an iOS game. User would then be able to move around thorns (one by one) and change their color. Added to original question that each thorn should be a mesh. Particles does seem the most effective approach. But I haven't been able to distribute in an homogeneous way to fill the surface. $\endgroup$ – Joaquin Llaneza Jan 31 '16 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ The issue is addressed above by [convert]. I have provided a starting point for you and now you have some experience. See my settings in the above proposed answer. Use must change the setting to emit all particles in the frame [0,0] single frame. Now that you have a starting point I would suggest a video tutorial. Everyone here has seen a video tutorial. Video Tutorial. youtube.com/watch?v=jLjwN_JqUGU . Please know I am not promoting this particular video. Not my video. There are somethings I like and like less about this video. Video may be preferable in your case. $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger Jan 31 '16 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for all your help @atomicbezierslinger, but I'd argue that this question is rather specific (i.e. how do I achieve x?) and has not been solved yet. $\endgroup$ – Joaquin Llaneza Jan 31 '16 at 20:41

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