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I'm learning Blender, coming from some basic experience with Cinema 4D. C4D leans heavily on spline-based modeling, and I'm trying to transfer those skills into Blender's curves when appropriate — e.g., revolving a profile to create a vase, or sweeping a curve along another curve to create, say, a molding on a wall.

I'm having trouble understanding the intricacies of curves in Blender, though, and coming up short on documentation and tutorials. Specifically:

  1. The role of normals and how to manipulate them.
  2. Working with Bezier curves feels really cumbersome vs. Illustrator.
  3. But SVG import from Illustrator seems to result in a different sort of curve and lacks normals.
  4. Extruding one curve along another can sometimes result in the sort of artifacts I'd expect from overlapping polygons.
  5. 2D vs. 3D curves.

I'm not necessarily looking for answers to each of these, so much as a good, comprehensive intro to curve modeling (and an understanding of how I should shift my philosophy from C4D). Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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closed as too broad by Ray Mairlot, Denis, Duarte Farrajota Ramos, cegaton, Timaroberts Jan 18 '17 at 18:28

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Hi. This site works best if you have a specific question. If you a looking for more of a discussion, this post may be better suited to somewhere like blenderartists.org . I suggest narrowing your post to 1 specific issue that you would like to resolve. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Jan 18 '17 at 16:11
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    $\begingroup$ Please break down your different questions in different posts. $\endgroup$ – cegaton Jan 18 '17 at 17:00
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As it stands you question is way to broad and vague and hard to answer. This is no place to request for "comprehensive intros".

Generally speaking curves in Blender are kind of a second though. They work but are mainly there as a helper for animations rigging and other related tasks, and less for actual modelling

I do love using Bezier curves as actual modelling tool, and actively work daily relying mostly on curve objects for geometry in Blender. It is an unpopular and exotic method, very few people actually use it, and it is certainly very cumbersome and lacking in features and tools. It requires a lot of workarounds and sometimes convoluted workflows for seemingly simplistic tasks, but it is totally doable, and with practice you will get a good flow going.

That is bound to change for future versions thanks to the Improvements for Bezier Curve GSOC 2016 Project. But if that actually lands in official Blender remains to be seen.

You will find there are no trim/extend/offsets currently, snapping and precision tools are also scarce, and materials and texturing is a pain too.

Importing your curves as SVG from an application like Illustrator or Inkscape is indeed the best workflow. They will come as regular 2D bezier curves.

Avoid filters and effects or any other curve altering modifiers in those applications that create additional geometry; because they will import as garbage and duplicate vertex you will have to manually clean once in Blender to achieve good results and avoid artifacts.

Imported curves often come with varying scale factors, make sure you apply it before proceeding to avoid problems. After applying scale to a curve always make sure you enter edit mode and force-set all vertex radius back to 1 with the Set Curve Radius operator, otherwise it will yield wierd results.

There are two main curve types in Blender 2D (constrained to the local XY plane) good for logos, text, and bi-dimensional stuff; and 3D for anything else like wire or tubular structures.

Inside each curve splines can be either Poly, Bezier or NURBS type. Polys are straight-segment only, beziers have handles, and NURBs are fit through control points.

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