Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Simple Vehicle: Body

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Techniques[edit]

You should already know how to:

  • Make a mesh
  • Navigate the viewport
  • Extrusion
  • Form faces
  • Name objects

This section will recap and introduce:

  • Deleting and creating edges
  • Subdividing
  • Merging vertices
  • Loop subdivide
  • Adding unconnected vertices in one object

Planning[edit]

The jeep is being designed to include the back, flatbed, door holes, dashboard, window, and hood. The window is extruded straight up (older jeeps' windshields aren't slanted), and I decided to add a lower back to later hold the bumper/lights if you wanted to add them.

Building the Jeep[edit]

Extrude the Chassis[edit]

Start a new file.

Change to front view ( NUM1 ), switch to EDIT mode, and deselect all ( A ).

Main sections are made.

Be in Face select mode

Starting from the default cube (#1), box select ( B ) on the right edge to select the right face, and extrude ( E ) 2 units (#2) to the right along the X axis (should default, otherwise  X ). Continue with three more extrusions to the right along the X axis of 1 unit (#3), 1 unit (#4), and 2 units (#5).

deselect all ( A ).

Now starting again from the default cube (#1), box select ( B ) on the left edge to select the left side face, and extrude 1 unit (#6) to the left in the X axis

deselect all ( A ).

box select ( B ) on the bottom edge of block #6 to select the bottom face, and extrude 1 unit (#7) down in the Z axis.

deselect all ( A ).

Finally box select ( B ) on the top edge of #4 the second block from the right to select the top face, and extrude up 2 units (#8) in the Z direction.

Widen the chassis[edit]

Blender3d Jeep widen the chasis top view.jpg

Now to widen the jeep body.

Switch to top view ( NUM7 ).

deselect all ( A ).

Reduce the width of the existing boxes (#1) to one square (#2) by box selecting ( B ) the top edge (since you're in face select mode it will actually select all the faces on that side), now move ( G ) 1 unit down in the Y axis ( Y )

Hit ' W ', and select "remove doubles" from the popup (2 will likely be removed)

Extrude ( E ) by "Region", the top side, up along the Y axis ( Y ); once for 4 units (#3), and then extrude again by "Region" for 1 unit (#4).

This should give you the figure that is shown to the right.

Noob Plea: These illustrations seem to be in reverse sequence. Can somebody fix it so 1 is at the top, then 2, then 3-->4?

Noob note: holding  CTRL  as you do the above moves and extrusions will lock it to grid steps

Widening along the Y axis

Flatbed and Doors[edit]

Our jeep design will have somewhat of a cheat - no actual door.

There are now a few different ways of doing this (thanks to reader submissions)! Try each one and study the results, as they will teach you about the issues you will encounter when you start making models of your own design;

Method 1 is the simplest of them, but teaches you the least in dealing with mesh trouble.

Method 1[edit]

Make the jeep bed[edit]
Blender3d Method 2 select bed and doors s1.jpg


In  NUM7  view

Be in Face select mode

Turn occlude background geometry on (the box to the right of vertex, edge, and face select mode).

Select ( RMB , then  SHIFT + RMB ) the top faces where the flatbed and then doors should go. You should now have four faces selected, two large ones for the bed, and two small ones for the doors.

Blender3d Method 2 extrude down bed and doors s2.jpg


Extrude ( E ) the "region" -2, on the Z axis ( Z ).

Make the door holes[edit]
Blender3d Method 2 select door edge s3.jpg
Blender3d Method 2 delete door edge s4.jpg


Now in front view ( NUM1 )

Be in Edge select mode

Select ( RMB ) the top edge of the door face, and delete ( X ) the "edge". Next, do the same to the corresponding door edge on the other side.

Blender3d Method 2 extrude up door faces s5.jpg


Be in Face select mode

Select the faces in the bottom of the door wells, and extrude them up 0.5 along the Z axis.


Blender3d Method 2 extrude up bed faces s6.jpg

Select the bed panels, and extrude them up .1 along the Z axis ( leaving them on top of each other will cause problems with rendering engines down the road )


Blender3d Draw normals button location.jpg

Noob Note: Be very careful as you extrude the parts up, since they are on top of each other, it's easy to select the face on the outside, rather than the one on the inside. Once you've done the extrusion, check the normal lines by hitting the draw normals button in the mesh tools more panel (if you can't see it, hover and scroll with the MMB). If you don't get good normals, then hit undo, then reselect the faces, and try again until you get the correct face being extruded (50% chance of getting the wrong face pulled up). Or select the faces with a wrong normal and hit the Flip Normals button in the Mesh Tools tab.

Finally, select the whole body and remove doubles, ( A ) to select all then ( W ) to bring up the specials menu. On the special's menu, hit "remove doubles".

Note: removing doubles every couple of steps is a good habit to get into, and will save you time down the road.


Method 2[edit]

Make the jeep bed[edit]
Deleting faces

be in Top view ( NUM7 ), and Face select Mode.

Select the two faces in between the bumpers and windshield ( RMB , then  SHIFT + RMB ).


Now delete both faces ( X ->"faces").

Note: you could also be in edge select mode, and delete (xkey) the edge between the two faces, for the same end result.

Selecting vertices

You will now add outer faces around the hole we just opened in the model, by selecting two vertices at the top of the model, and two from the bottom of the model.

Be in vertex mode

Deselect all ( A  twice)

Starting at vertex A, circle select ( C ) vertex B, C, and D,

Creating faces

Next create a face ( F ); do this same procedure 5 more times at the vertx groups show in the pictures.


Blender3d Jeep bed add faces a to h pt1.jpg
Blender3d Jeep bed add faces j to n pt2.jpg



Issues with exposed inside faces (Normals)[edit]
Blender 3d Show normals and vnormals2.jpg

Now that we have gotten the new outer faces in place we can't see into the model any more but we still have a big problem, the floor is actually the outside face of the bottom of the model, this is not good because you should never leave exposed inside faces (the other side of outer faces) on a model.

Exposed inside faces are invisible when looking through them when you apply textures and render it, since nearly all rendering engines completely ignore inside faces ( A common problem with many sketchup models, ah the irony! ).

You can tell a face is an inside face, by the fact that if you turn on show normals, and show vnormals, on the mesh tools more panel, the outside faces and vertices will have blue lines shooting out of them, while inside faces will not.

Understanding this now will save you lots of wasted hours in the future trying to fix your normals.

Blender3d Draw normals button location.jpg

Press NKEY and turn on the show vnormals and show normals, and look closely at the exposed interior faces in the floor of the truck bed, they don't have blue lines poping out in the inside, only on the outsides.

Now select textured from the box where you pick wireframe, or shaded, and the exposed inside faces will become invisible when viewed from the inside, but look great when looked at from the outside.

Add the floor of the bed[edit]

Lets make a floor for the bed now.

Blender3d Jeep method 2 extrude up bed faces v2.jpg

Be in Face select mode

Select ( RMB ) both faces of the truck bed,

Extrude ( E ) pick "region" from the popup, and move up along the Z axis ( Z ), by about 0.2.

With the two faces selected, hit mesh -> normals -> flip to make their normals correct for their new position


Now rotate the model till you're looking at it from the bottom, as you can see there is now a hole that needs some extra inside faces removed, and new faces added to compete the bottom.


Blender3d Jeep method 2 delete hidden faces v2.jpg

Select each extra face on the sides, and delete ( X ) the "faces" as shown in the photos.


Blender3d jeep method 2 add bottom faces.jpg

Change to Vertex select mode

Select ( RMB ) corners a, b, c, d, and create a face  F , then do the same for c, d, e, and f.


Blender3d Jeep check chasis normals.jpg

Recheck the normals, and make sure you only have outer faces on the outside of your model.


Make the door holes[edit]

Method 2.2 is easier!


Method 2.1 Subdivision[edit]
Blender3d Jeep select to subdivide doors.jpg

To cut out one door, select the four vertical edges where the door will go.

Split the area where the door will go.

Use the subdivide command ( W ) to cut the edges in half. You'll notice that the subdividing will also affect the adjoining faces.

Delete edges for door opening.

Select the two edges at the top of the door panel and delete them, removing the top half of it.


Blender3d Jeep doors put back the faces.jpg

Change to Vertex select mode

Now build up faces by selecting the groups of vertex's as shown in the photo, and creating a face ( F ). Do the same thing for the other side, removing/adding edges and creating new faces.

Merging faces.

If you want to clean up the look of the sub divided faces in the model

Change to Face select mode, and select the faces that are going to be combined.

Press  F  and a little window will appear titled 'Make Faces'. Click on 'Make FGon' to merge the faces. (As you may have guessed, if an FGon face is created and you want to later undo it, select the 'clear FGon' option in the Make Faces window.)

Note: to merge an Fgon to a flat face, select it and hit  CTRL + J 

Pro Note: You don't even have to make an FGon. Just select the door-to-be, Tris and Quads both, and hit  CTRL + J .

Noob Note: Q. What is an FGon??

A. It is a fake polygon, a way to hide triangles and quads on flat faces.

Method 2.2 Multicut[edit]
Blender3d Jeep multicut door sub method 2.jpg


Be in frontview (NUM1).

Select the top edges where you want the doors

Multicut (KKEY), enter two in the popup, draw a line along the axis of the cut, as shown in the photo, and hit  ENTER .

Blender3d Jeep multicut door sub method 2 move down.jpg


Then move the newly created edges down and towards the sides.

method 2.3 (Noobie)[edit]

Select top face of where door is going to be

    E  to extrude, pick "Region" from the popup menu
    Z  to lock in Z direction
   hold CTRL to snap to whole BUs and move down one BU

Select 2 top edges that look like they have no widths

    X  to erase, pick "Edges" from the popup menu

Two faces will be missing. For each individual missing face, Select top and bottom edges

    F  to fill in the missing face.

Resizing the bed and windshield[edit]

Go ahead and resize the widths of the bed and windshield.

As a precaution, Remove doubles before starting!

Blender3d Jeep resizing the windshield.jpg

To narrow the width of the window, change to Edge mode and select the edges shown in the picture, then move ( G ) along the X axis.

Blender3d Jeep edges to resize the side.jpg

To narrow the width of the side, change to Edge mode and select the edges shown in the picture, then move ( G ) along the Y axis.

Adjusting the widths.

Always move as many vertices or edges at the same time to not only work faster but to make sure they are moved equally. The use of circle select, loop select, and  SHIFT  while moving vertices is very helpful in fine movements.

Bringing the back to a point.

If you want an object to come to a point such as a wedge from a cube, merge vertices.

In this example, the lower back area will be modified. Select two vertices to join together and press  ALT + M . Select the option for your merging. 'At First' or 'At Last' will probably be the option that will work here.

Play around to see what each merge option does. After the merging, Blender will tell you how many vertices were removed.

Be certain to "remove doubles" ( W ), as merging creates lots of them. ( You can also find it on the menu Mesh ==> Vertices ==> Remove doubles)



Raise the flatbed.

Extrude the bed surface upward. This is only useful in hiding the tires that we'll add later in the tutorial. Alternatively, you could make two boxes to hide them.

A Touch of Detail[edit]

Adding an Engine Hood[edit]

Method 1[edit]

Loop Subdivide select.

Let's add some detail to the model - how about the hood? First thing to do is add some edges to the front of the jeep. Press  CTRL + R  to enter Loop Subdivide. A pink loop will appear around the mesh. Put the cursor over the area to get the example picture to appear.

Aligning the hood.

When the loop is in the right place,  LMB  click. The place to put the actual cut can now be selected. Do this twice - once for each side. Move and align the resulting edges to form an angle to the front and bring the window vertices in.


Extrude the hood surface up a small amount. We don't want it too high, just high enough to catch the light.

Zoom in and select the top-front hood edge created from the extrusion. Drag it out along the X axis. Select the now diagonal face of the hood extrusion. Extrude from it. The result will come out of the surface at a diagonal angle. Take the resulting vertices and move them close to the front of the jeep.

Formatting the window.


Using the additional lines from the loop subdivide you can improve the shape of the window

Method 2[edit]

Another way to raise the Jeep hood. It doesn’t require loop cuts, so is a bit simpler.

Hood extrusion.

Step 1. Make Inner Square.

Switch to Top-view ( NUM7 ), or slightly rotated off for easier viewing. Face-select the top square of the hood.
Do  E -xtrude, then hit <esc>. NOTE: this WILL make a new surface, hitting  ESC  doesn’t cancel the extrude, just makes its location to be exactly on the old surface.
Do  S -cale and type 0.9 and hit <return>. Now you will see the new surface as a smaller square (or really rectangle) on top of the jeep hood square.

Noob Note: What I had to do is  S -cale on  Z  and type 0.9, otherwise the New Surface For the hood would end up shooting through the Windshield.


Bring out the top front edge.

Step 2. Shape Hood.

Still in Top-view NUM 7, deselect all.
Box-select the right two vertices of the new square, towards the front of the jeep.
Do  S -cale on Y, and type 0.8 and hit <return>. Leave the two vertices still selected.
Do  G -rab on X, and type 0.2 and hit <return>.
Face-select the resulting quadrilateral.
Switch to Side-view NUM 3.
Do  E -xtrude on Z and type 0.2 and hit <return>. I used 0.2 to exaggerate the screenshot a bit, you probably want 0.1 instead.

Now you should have a raised hood on the front of the jeep.


method 3[edit]

Another way to extruding the Hood of the jeep including a lip that comes over the front.


Hoodstep1.png

Step 1: In face select mode ( CTRL + TAB ->faces), select the top of the hood and press  E  to extrude it. Only extrude it a small amount.

Hoodstep2.png

Step 2: Staying in Face select mode, here is the tricky part. Select the small face on the front of the hood you just extruded. Then, hit  E  then  ESC . This creates a duplicated face on top of the one you selected. Do not click or move the mouse between these two keystrokes.

Hoodstep3.png

Step 3: Now deselect the selected face by hitting AKEY. Then enter Edge select mode ( CTRL + TAB ->edges) and select the top edge of the face you just deselected.


Hoodstep4.png

Step 4: Hit  NUM1  to go to the side view. Now using the red X arrow pull the edge out a little further than you pulled up the hood itself then hit  LMB .

Hoodstep5.png

Step 5: Now rotate just enough so you can see under the wedge you just made. Go back into Face select mode ( CTRL + TAB ->faces) and select the face on the underside of it.

Hoodstep6.png

Step 6: Go back into side view with  NUM1 . Now hit  E  to extrude the face a little with the mouse. When it's a good size hit  LMB .

Hoodstep7.png

Step 7: Now make sure the "Select only visible" button is turned off ("Occlude background geometry" in later versions) and go into Vertex select mode ( CTRL + TAB ->vertices). Play around with the vertices pulling them a little closer to the front of the jeep. It's best to selct using the box select ( B ) or the Lasso ( CTRL + LMB ).

Hoodstep8.png

The end result should be an extruded hood with a lip.


Add a Fender[edit]

Starting the fender.

In the topdown view ( NUM7 ), add a plane. Extrude an edge twice to result in three connected planes.


Bend the fender.

Pull the sides down to form a trapezoid shape and reduce the width.


Model with fenders.

Once it is in the desired shape, select the three faces and duplicate it. Press  SHIFT + D  and all selected vertices, edges, and/or faces will be duplicated. The copy will automatically be grabbed for moving.

Move the duplicate to the jeep body and repeat the duplication two more times for a total of four fenders.

Noob note: A good idea is to first position one fender, then copy it and restrict movement to x or y-axis. Then copy both fenders and move the two new copies along x or y-axis. Much simpler than trying to position four fenders individually.

Add a rocket launcher mount[edit]

Setting up the tripod in  NUM1  view.

We'll move on to making a tripod support for the rocket launcher.

Add a cylinder mesh with 12 vertices then scale and size it so that it looks like a tube. Once you have it to a size you like,

Duplicate it twice for a total of 3 cylinders.

Rotate two of the cylinders in the  NUM1  view by  LMB  clicking on the white circle that appears when the cylinder is selected in rotate mode.

The picture on the left is an example of the end result.

Setting up the tripod in  NUM7  view.

Change to overhead view ( NUM7 ) and put together the three cylinders so the tops come close together. Now all three can be selected and moved or rotated accordingly.

Putting in the tripod.

Move the tripod onto the jeep flat bed. The final steps are to select your materials and rename the object (described in the wheel section). This will complete our simple jeep model.

Subsurf[edit]

Since we expect a jeep body to have squared up edges, we won't subsurf this part of the model.

Optional Activities[edit]

Feel free to add anything you see fit such as bumpers, guard rails, doors, steering wheel, lights, etc. You can either have them on the same object or separate objects (useful if you want to move them around).