Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Creating a Simple Hat

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In this module, you'll create a hat for your simple person. Along the way, you'll learn how to use the Spin tool and use layers.

Creating a Generatrix[edit | edit source]

For future convenience, you'll create the hat as a new object in the scene containing the simple person. If you haven't created the simple person, either go back and do it now or else download the pre-made model from Yosun Chang's website at

Start by changing layers to layer two, then add the basis for your hat:

  1. Make sure you're in Object Mode (so that a new object will be created).
  2. Click  LMB  on the second little square, this will make the viewport display layer two. (The top row is for layers 1 to 10, the bottom for 11 to 20, so layer 2 is immediately to the right of layer 1; layer 6 is across the space from layer 5.)
  3. Go to orthographic front view by pressing  Num5 , then  Num1 .
  4. Create a mesh circle at the cursor, by activating the 3D View window, pressing  shift  +  A  and choosing Mesh → Circle.

The new circle will probably look more like a line segment than a circle. If so, it's because you're viewing the circle edge-on.

The new mesh object doesn't actually have to be a circle. You could use any sort of mesh object here because you're about to reshape it into a custom 2D mesh (called a generatrix) that describes the profile of your hat. More precisely, the generatrix describes one side of a vertical cross-section through the hat. You'll want your generatrix to have a slope; it should be higher on one side (which will become the top of the crown) than on the other (which will become the brim).

  1. The newly-created mesh should be selected. If it isn't, select it by clicking  RMB  on it.
  2. Press  Tab  to edit the mesh.
  3. Activate Vertex select mode.
  4. Press  A  until all vertices are selected.
  5. Press  X  to erase all vertices.

Some users are confused as to the purpose of creating the mesh only to delete it afterwards. The point of this process is to create a new "blank" object which you can then shape into a hat.

Now draw your generatrix, starting with the brim and sloping upwards toward the top of the crown:

  1. Make sure you're still in orthographic front view.
  2. Press  Ctrl + LMB  to create the first vertex.
  3. Press  Ctrl + LMB  to one side of that vertex to extrude another vertex, connected to the first by an edge.

(If this doesn't work, make sure you are in vertex select mode.)

Keep adding vertices until you're satisfied with the shape of your generatrix. You can always undo using  Ctrl + Z  or go back and adjust the positions of particular vertices using the grab tool.

The mesh is then spun around an axis perpendicular to the viewplane. You want to spin around a vertical axis, so press  Num7  to switch to top view.

Spinning the Hat[edit | edit source]

The spun hat, drawn as wireframe in orthographic front view.

Now, let's actually spin the hat:

  1. Move the 3D cursor to the vertex you want to spin around by pressing  LMB  on it. You can also use the snapping tool for positioning the cursor more precisely by pressing  Shift+S  after selecting that specific vertex. Cursor to selected positions the cursor.
  2. Press  A  to select all the vertices. The Spin control only spins vertices that are selected.
  3. Press  Alt+R  to activate the Spin tool.
    • The Spin tool is also available in the Tool Shelf under Add
      If you spin the hat in front view, your hat will be flat. You have to spin the hat in top view.

You should now see 90° of a generatrix! To spin your hat all the way round, press  F6  or look in the Operator Panel just below the Tool Shelf. There should be an input slider named Angle, change this value from 90 to 360. There should also be a slider called Steps, increase the value from 9 to 15.

If your hat has a large hole in the center, you must have accidentally moved the 3D cursor away from the vertex you picked in step 1. Try again.

Remember that if you spin an object 360° there will be a double row of vertices at the row of vertices you spun. To fix this, press  A  to select all vertices, press  W  and select Remove Doubles. Note that this will only work in vertex select mode.

You may also want to merge the vertices at the top of the hat. Do this by selecting all the vertices at the top with  C  and pressing  Alt + M At Center. You may have to do this twice as some vertices might be beneath each other.

If ALT+R doesn't work
Note for AMD windows users that "Radeon Software" using  ALT+R  as default key for "Overlay Hotkey" which blocks key in Blender. You can change hotkey in "Radeon Software" preferences.
If the mouse pointer changes to a question-mark (?)...

You have more than one 3D View window, so Blender is asking which window to perform the spin in. Click  LMB  on the window that is showing top view.

Smoothing Your Hat[edit | edit source]

The finished product!

You'll probably have noticed that normal hats aren't usually as faceted as yours! To change this, first press  Tab  to go back to Object mode then change the shading to Smooth (available on the Tool Shelf). If there are unexpected black marks, try recalculating the normals.

  1. Switch to Edit mode and open the Mesh menu in the 3D View Header.
  2. Normals → Recalculate Outside.

Next, add a Subsurf modifier to the hat and set the subdivisions to two, as you did in the "Detailing Your Simple Person 1" module.

  1. Click on the modifiers tab (wrench icon) in a Properties window.
  2. Add Modifier → Subdivision Surface.

Save your work. You'll need this scene for the next module.

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]