View Full Version : Help bulging a flat surface

06-14-2011, 03:12 PM
I'm trying to get a very subtle curve across the face of a logo. If you see the edge of a polished surface (like those attached) the rounding on the edges reflect more of the environment than the flat bevel or face. I want to put a very slight bulge on the flatness of a logo face to make more interesting reflections.

In other programs (as in LW) you need to subdivide or mesh the flat surface prior to applying the bulge. I'm an intermediate user/modeler with LW so there may be a simple way to achieve this but I've been looking for a while now. I've seen video tutorials showing how you can bulge the top of a box but how to I bulge a letter like S or R?

In the Windows logo image (attached) you can see how much more light gets reflected on a curved surface. I'm looking for something closer to the Japanese logo. Just a subtle arch across the flat area to reflect more environment. Can any one help?

Randy Cates

06-14-2011, 03:32 PM
I'm not sure now do you want bulge" or "Bevel" edges ? It's not same thing and if you want just to bevel edges (make them more round like that "f" logo) then you can use bevel, rounder, multishift or few more tools to achieve same goal. If you want bulge then you can use subDs mesh and drag point, use regular mesh with drag nettool, or magnet or radial falloff for move tool, or heatpress/ko point fit plugin and many more ways. There is so many ways how to model it in LWmodeler that's not easy to say which one is best since they all work and they are more to user preference :)(.

Can you show us what you have so far or maybe post your model ?

06-14-2011, 03:38 PM
Thanks for the quick Response Lewis. I posted the rounded images as an example of how light reflects better on a round edge rather than a flat "traditional" bevel. The look I'm going for is probably a rounded edge with a bulged face (again this is for a logo).

I find flat logo faces just lack the interesting reflective qualities you get on something slightly curved. Thanks again I'll try some of your suggestions.


06-14-2011, 03:48 PM
As for showing what I have so far I haven't gotten to bulging the face yet so I just have the eps imported logo outline.

I would however like to make the arches across the top round rather than square. What do I do to extrude a circular shape over the length of an arch? It would need to vary in thickness as in the logo.

06-14-2011, 05:32 PM
First make in front viewport your logo as completely flat geometry (use above logo image as backdrop image), use many polygons to have good resolution, then use TrueArt's Wrinkle plugin to extrude it
It has preset manager, and you can edit your curvature with instant preview of geometry. Presets are stored on disk, so you can load them later.

06-15-2011, 12:25 AM
You can even use "spline guide" in Bend mode to bend top polys/points of object if you have enough segments. It's really easy to do all that with native tools once when you finish geometry. So just model Flat logo and post it here and I'll show you how to make bulge on top ;).


06-15-2011, 03:35 AM
I normally do it like this :

See attachment.
1. Make a letter
2. Extrude it
3. Bevel it couple of times, delete the big polys and knife some cuts to the corners to keep tight corners
4. Manually make the polys (connect the sides of the letter)
5. Subdivide

This is pretty laborous method if there is a lot of letters but works pretty well.

- builtdown

06-15-2011, 08:55 AM
Thank you for this step by step instruction as well as the image. This will help me to better understand the approach.

This is exactly the look I'm after. BTW how do I control the height of the arch?

Another question I have is extruding along a path with a circular cross section. Those arches across the top of the logo would better be served as cylinders rather than flat arcs. I understand extrude along a path but getting the diameter to change along the path is not clear. Can you help me with that?

Thank you.
Randy Cates

06-15-2011, 09:07 AM

This is the flat (not extruded) 3D model requested (Saved in LW 10).

Thank you for your help. Anyone else is welcome to offer help on this. The different approaches are interesting to see and I'm sure I'll get a lot out of these variations (if any are submitted).

Thank you for the help.
Randy Cates

06-15-2011, 09:44 AM
Thank you for the response Sensei. That plugin looks really capable. I'm going to try the approach using the software tools but the links you sent will come in handy if all else fails. Trying to save the company money if I don't need to spend it. Time is a factor as well so if it takes too long I may break down and spend the $50.

06-16-2011, 04:51 PM
Ok here is one way (ther eis few ways as i described earlier) - this way is maybe even faster if quality is enough for your short deadline project.

Here is quick video i hoe it will help you to make quick logo and bulge on top :)

http://www.lewis.tomsoft.hr/temp/LW/Hurwest.mp4.mov (cca 34mb)


06-17-2011, 06:21 AM
Another question I have is extruding along a path with a circular cross section. Those arches across the top of the logo would better be served as cylinders rather than flat arcs. I understand extrude along a path but getting the diameter to change along the path is not clear. Can you help me with that?

Use 2 or more splines to define the contour and be sure Scaling is checked when you rail extrude.

06-17-2011, 07:47 AM
Thank you Dee.

06-17-2011, 07:52 AM
Wow Lewis, You ROCK!!!!
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I never expected so much help. This video is so impressive. It's great seeing a pro work, I learned more just watching your video than how to bulge my text.

Although I was looking to bulge the individual letters like the images posted by another responder, this technique will be sufficient for now - it achieves the affect I was aiming for which is get more reflection on the logo face.

Your work is impressive and I'm looking forward to getting more into Lightwave after watching the speed in which you cranked this out.

Thank you again Lewis. Boy the LW community is great.

06-17-2011, 08:09 AM
You're welcome Randy :).

06-17-2011, 08:19 AM
When I use the Multishift tool my corners overlap (see attached). I suspect a setting somewhere is not right. Can you tell me what's causing this?

Sorry to bug you again after the help you gave me. As always if you're too busy I'll dig out the answer elsewhere.

Thanks again for that tut - amazing!

06-17-2011, 08:31 AM
Lewis - Got it. There were two points on the lower corners of a couple of letters. I welded them and it's fine.


06-17-2011, 09:02 AM
Yeah it's balancing act, you need to be sure you don't multishift too much since it's going to overlap and cause problems :(. But if there is some really close points and you can't avoid overlapping you can weld those close points and that will make some space o sit wont' overlap. It's really dependable on base mesh/geometry so there is no universal solution until you see it in action :).

Happy to see you solved ti on your own ;).

06-17-2011, 09:43 AM
Here is something really simple... take just the top polys and crank up the smoothing angle. I know it sounds dumb but it has worked for me in the past. Or add a circular gradient to the bump or displacement.

06-19-2011, 12:40 AM
BTW Thanks for that tip TalleyJC. I'll experiment with that.

I've built the model based on the technique Lewis suggested and everything looks good but I'm getting separation between polys on the face of a couple of letters (see attached).

Additionally I have what looks like random lines on the extrusion on the S and I've eliminated any stray points and edges but they're still there.

I'm also getting some separation of surfaces between the bevel and the face on the S but it appears ok in flat shade.

I'm merged points and deleted any additional geometry I saw but it still renders this way.

H - E - L - P - P - P!!!!


06-19-2011, 02:10 AM
Not checked the file but the lines look like 2 point polys.

06-19-2011, 02:15 AM
This is the problem I'm getting on both ends of the "S" but if you look at the wire frame close up, it appears fine.

06-19-2011, 02:19 AM
That's what was weird, I did have some there and was sure that was the case but after deleting them I still had them in the render.

BTW the file I uploaded needs to have smoothing turned on, on the logo_face which kills that faceted look but I still have weird geometry things happening in the U, R, S(tips).

Thanks for the help.

06-19-2011, 04:46 AM
I just hit "m" to merge and got 135 points merged in your model ? I also welded some slices and deleted some edges. And at end i triangulated all N-gons. Perspective camera is little sensitive to N-gons so i fixed them. Also some surfaces didn't even have smoothing on ?

Here is quick test render and scene

06-20-2011, 09:23 AM
Thanks Lewis, I'm still getting this down. I did merge points several times when working but apparently I missed a step. Also wasn't aware individual polys could have smoothing. Lots to learn but getting there with the help of this communities generosity. If you ever need help with After Effects that's my program specialty. Always willing to help.

Thanks again for all your help.

06-20-2011, 09:53 AM
No problem man :)

06-20-2011, 01:42 PM
Another question,
What did you do to subdivide the face of the letters? I thought this would be the best way to solve those splits on the text face but didn't know how to subdivide that area.

Also I'm experimenting with a bump map on the face to suggest a more rounded surface. I'm familiar with how bump maps work and have imported a bump map of the logo. When I add it to the bump map surface I see it on the text but no scaling or positioning in the bump map editor is making any change. I've had a lot of trouble understanding the logic behind the surface editor. What do I need to do to position my bump map. Do you know of a tutorial that covers this?

I know I'm pushing my luck with your generosity so don't feel obligated if this is a complex topic. You've been so kind already I feel like I'm taking advantage of your good nature.

Thanks for all your help.

06-20-2011, 01:45 PM
Once I get this lined up I can soften the feathering to get a more gradual rise on the text (which I may or may not use).

I'm adjusting scale and position but nothing changes. I've tried automatic sizing and this is where it positioned itself.

Thank you

06-21-2011, 04:08 AM
Ive used Connect tool to subdivide some letters (pick two points you want to connect and you'll get an edge between them when run connect) and Triangulate tool for some.

Bump map won't deform your geometry truly (it's just trick to visialy appear bumpy but if you look at shadow of bumpy object you'll see it's not bumpy) so i think you'd be better of with real geometry and bulge it little more if you need instead using bumpmap :).

07-11-2011, 02:36 PM
Randy wanted to make a subtle curve on a flat object to get better reflections. I have a related question. It's there a way to get those types of reflections on a flat object?

Thank You

07-11-2011, 03:05 PM
Randy wanted to make a subtle curve on a flat object to get better reflections. I have a related question. It's there a way to get those types of reflections on a flat object?

Thank You

Yes to a certain degree but not perfect. Play with Smoothing angle value of surface until you get something similar by increasing it.

07-11-2011, 03:35 PM
Thank You, Lewis.

07-11-2011, 05:58 PM
Direction in which surface is reflecting ray depends on normal vector of surface. So, you can generate normal map with good looking smooth transition, and it'll mimics normals given by curved geometry.