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

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      • I'm new to wiki books, if my formatting is incorrect please correct it. My goal is to provide an updated wheel tutorial.***

Congratulations on making it this far; you've proven you have what it takes to finish this book. At this point you don't need me explaining the simple things like the differences between or how to select vertices, edges or faces. Feel free to swivel the camera this way and that. I'll leave it to you to decide when to turn snap off or occlude background geometry on. At every step I hope you think, “Ah-ha, now it looks more like a tire!” since that's essentially what I did. I'm writing this tutorial because I don't want this book to become outdated. Also... I really like tires!

A real world wheel

This is the real world wheel we'll be modeling. It has three parts: 1) tire 2) rim 3) hub. We'll create the wheel laying down starting with the tire and working our way in.

In edit mode delete the default cube and hit 7NUM to go to the top view.

Center the cursor and add cylinder with 32 vertices, radius 4, and depth 2. Set Cap Fill Type to nothing. Turn increment snap on.

Next we will make a series of cylinders which will become the tire and the rim. Extrude the cylinder inwards by pressing EKEY ESC SKEY .9 enter. Do this a total of two times. Next, extrude another cylinder inwards by pressing EKEY ESC SKEY .8 enter.

Unselect the inner cylinders circles so only the vertical edges of the innermost cylinder are selected.

only select the vertical edges

Merge collapse (Alt M >> Collapse) these vertical edges to create a circle that's vertically in the center of the other cylinders.

merge collapse the edges

Extrude this circle inwards with EKEY ESC SKEY .4. Move this inner circle down some with GKEY ZKEY -0.5 enter.

Hub- Extrude the inner circle up EKEY ZKEY 0.5 enter Extrude size that circle in EKEY ESC SKEY 0.25 enter Move inner circle up GKEY ZKEY 0.15 enter and lastly FKEY to Ngon fill the inner circle

completed simple wheel

To be safe before saving highlight all and remove doubles. We can add different types of tread to this simple tire. If you're feeling ambitious come up with your own tread design.

Working on the vertical faces of the outermost cylinder in face select mode- Type 1)

Subdivide the outer faces and z lock rotate the newly created central edge by 12.

rotate the middle edge by 12

Stager select every other outer face and extrude size out 1.15. Make sure your sizing outward from the center of the wheel.

select tread pattern and extrude outward by 1.15

Type 2) This tread is a little trickier but the extra work is worth it.

Subdivide the outer faces and change the number of cuts to 2. There are now 96 outer faces. Think of these as being on 3 levels bottom middle and top.

creating faces

Select 2 of the bottom faces skip 4 faces then select 2 more go all the way around the circle. The pattern for the middle level is select 2 skip one select 2 starting at the top left vertex of the bottom level. The pattern of the top is the same as the bottom select 2 skip 4 start at the top right vertex of the middle level just not the same middle selection that the bottom is... see the picture :)

select tread pattern

Extrude size out 1.15 from the center of the wheel

extrude outward to create tread

Type 3)

Evenly loop-cut the faces of the outer cylinder

loopcut center of wheel

CTRL-R center the mouse on the outer cylinder ENTER 0 ENTER Now subdivide the outer cylinder. There are now 3 inner edges. Z lock rotate the top inner edge by 12 and the bottom inner edge by -12

after subdividing rotate edges

this time make a Z pattern with the faces and extrude size out by 1.15

select tread pattern and extrude outward

To get the wheel standing up lock the y axis and rotate everything 90°

The wheel object as well as the wheel mesh are both named Cylinder in the outliner lets rename both Wheel. Right click the name and select rename

rename object/mesh wheel

Lets add a sub modifier and set shading to smooth.

subdivide to smooth things out

Crease the hub edges. Shift EKEY 1 enter. By the way the easiest way to remove a crease is just to add a negative crease. Shift EKEY -1.

crease the hub


Now for some color- By the way, think of diffuse as being the base color and specular as being the reflected color. If your curious about words like lambert and fresnel just look them in your favorite dictionary.


In the properties menu select the materials icon.

Create three material slots by clicking the plus button thats above the minus button 3 times.

after you click new rename the material

Select each material slot and click new to add a material to it. Name the first material Rim, the second Tire and the last Hub.

We'll leave the rim default white. Select Tire and change the diffuse color to almost black RGB of 0.010 and the specular intensity to 1. This gives our tire a very shiny black look. Give the hub a dull gray look by setting the diffuse color to RGB 0.05.

create dark gray by lowering all colors to 0.05

The first material added becomes the default material for the entire object. So we only need to select the parts of the wheel mesh that are not rim.

Select the tire -thats the two outer cylinders- with the tire material highlighted click assign.

assign the tire color to the tire mesh

To make selecting the hub easier close the subsurf eye in either the properties or outliner menu. Assign the hub material to the hub mesh. I've left adding the red hub oil seal up to you.

turning subsurf off makes selecting easier
The final Tire rendering

Thats it! Hopefully my instructions weren't to painful. Be sure to save and good luck!