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I want to create a (barely) visible seam like this.

Diagonal seam Reference photo

Beveling that edge to create a face and assigning a darker material to that face is one solution, however it is cumbersome, breaks the topology and interferes with the bevel modifier (causes artifacts).

What I am trying to do is add a wireframe shader but control which edges will be shown. Is this possible?

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One simple way to do it is the following:

  1. Mark the edges as Freestyle Edges
  2. Enable Freestyle
  3. Configure Freestyle to only show marked edges
  4. Configure the Freestyle line style to set the thickness and color

enter image description here

EDIT If you want thinner lines on objects that are far away, see this question: How to make freestyle lines stay the same size?

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  • $\begingroup$ My scene is so complex that I fear this will take for ever. Also, I need it to increase realism but I think that the freestyle thickness is absolute, so it'll look drawn over. I shall test though and report back. $\endgroup$ – qwazix Jan 6 '17 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, even if you select relative, the thickness is relative to the image, not the object size in the rendered view so objects far away seem to have much heavier creases. (c.d-e.gr/s/5nO1kVcHlGr5ODC) If you choose a very faint line it might be good enough but I would prefer something without freestyle if possible $\endgroup$ – qwazix Jan 7 '17 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ Another solution would be to simply paint the seams on a texture. But is is still possible to do it with freestyle: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/3528/… $\endgroup$ – lbalazscs Jan 7 '17 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ I tried that. It is relative to the image size not the object size unfortunately, and distance from camera is not the only factor. I need the lines to get thinner if I scale the object. (Yes, I can fake it, I'm just looking for an elegant solution. If there isn't one I will use yours, or texturing and live with it) $\endgroup$ – qwazix Jan 7 '17 at 11:04
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If you do not want to add geometry to add detail the common solution is texturing. In your case a normal map does the job.

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  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, but it is still quite a lot more work than finding a way to just draw some wires. Something like @lbalazscs answer above but without the "same thickness everywhere" caveat. $\endgroup$ – qwazix Jan 7 '17 at 11:00

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