Hi dear fellow blenders!

I am trying to create a 3D printable model of an existing nature protected area in Germany and kind of hit a wall since i am very new to blender and 3D modelling.

The end result should look like this (apart from my model only having one texture on the up side):

What i did so far:

    • creating a plane with the dimensions of roughly 40x40x1.2 cm.
    • subdividing the plane by 500 and adding a displacement modifier to mold the surface of the plane into the shape of the actual relief.
    • applying a texture using the aerial photo of the area

so far so good. as far as i know, i need to modify this plane to make it an actual 3d printable object. i would like to have it look like in the first picture but being kind of a hollow cube with a relief on the up side to minimize the costs.

so i thought i would create another plane with the same dimensions, place it underneath the first plane, subdivide 500 times like i did with the first and finally join the vertices along the edges. in addition i would solidify both planes using the modifier.

now i solidified the first plane (unfortunately i can't post the picture)

i actually have the feeling that this is not the result i had in mind, since it seems like only the rim of the plane got solidified as can be seen in the picture. i don't seem to actually have created thickness.

after adding the second plane, positioning and solidifying it i got this result:

enter image description here

and now i hit the wall. i assume that one way to proceed would be to build the four "sides" of the cube by connecting the vertices along the rim since they mirror each other (because i subdivided both planes 500 times and located them parallel to each other).

how would i connect the vertices in blender?

what would be the quickest way to achieve the intended end result?

I am completely new to blender and assume that the result could be achieved fairly quickly, but i don't know how and i am not sure if my intended method would actually be the best method to achieve the result...

has anyone experience in creating printable 3d reliefs in blender who could point me in the right direction?

thanks in advance,


  • $\begingroup$ There is something I don't understand about the initial plane : why the border (which can be seen front in the screen shot) is not flat ? $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:07
  • $\begingroup$ @lemon i am pretty sure that the border is flat...it must be some kind of optical illusion caused by the texture. thanks for your advice, lemon. i also thought extruding would be the best way, but after extruding the bottom side of the plane has the negative relief of the up side and does not have an even base. can you give me a more precise description how to get a flat base after extruding? thanks for your quick reply! :) $\endgroup$
    – Hannes D.
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ Can you upload the relief/displacement map (this will be easier to show for an answer) ? $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ @lemon: This is the view on the bottom side with deactivated texture. i hope this helps. i guess the visual effect along the borders is caused by the displacement, but i am pretty sure its straight. what bothers me is the base... $\endgroup$
    – Hannes D.
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ ok... from the first base plane (which is displaced), apply the displace modifier. Then edit mode, select all and extrude it Z to the bottom. Then scale Z 0 these newly extruded vertices $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Aug 15, 2016 at 14:25

1 Answer 1

  • Starting from the displaced plane
  • Apply the displace modifier
  • Enter edit mode Tab
  • Select all A
  • Place yourself in front (NumPad1) ortho view (NumPad5 if needed)
  • Extrude E then Z
  • Now scale along Z to zero to flatten the base : S Z then 0

Note: all keystrokes are not visible in the gif as 500 subdivisions is a bit too much on my computer. But the keys are written above (and you can see the operations on the bottom left of the screen)

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ thank you for your reply and your efforts. i hate admitting that despite your description something is off with my project and i do not achieve the desired results. it begins with the first step of displacing. if i use the same values of midlevel and strength as you did i get a really weird and distorted shape. so instead i went with this shape and these values although this shape corresponds with the shape i have prior to displacing. you might also notice in these screenshots the concave deformation of my sides. $\endgroup$
    – Hannes D.
    Aug 15, 2016 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ @HannesD, did you applied the displace modifier before extruding ? $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Aug 15, 2016 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ when extruding i can only extrude upwards and not towards the black area. i assume that is intentional. this is what happens when i scale along Z to 0. in the end the shape looks a lot like before and still has relief on both sides. i notice that in edit mode the color fading from orange to black is reversed compared to yours... so i am doing something wrong, but i have no clue what... :( $\endgroup$
    – Hannes D.
    Aug 15, 2016 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ i have to admit that despite my research i do not understand the purpose of the displacement (the one you described, not the initial one...) $\endgroup$
    – Hannes D.
    Aug 15, 2016 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ @HannesD. again, you need to apply the modifier before extruding (there is other mean to do it without applying but this is not the point here) $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Aug 15, 2016 at 18:13

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