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Nendo: Modeling Tips


Want to see how to do some neat tricks with Nendo? Download the script file for any of the sections below and load them into Nendo using the Help>How to... command. Then press the play button and watch Nendo work!

Using Apply Color


If you're applying color to your models, thinking about when to apply it is just as important as where.

In this script, notice the artist applies color to the beak before smoothing the object, which automatically copies the color to new faces created as a result of the Smooth operation.

He also applies color to the eyeball before copying, so that he doesn't have to select the faces over and over again.

Download the script: duck.nds


Creating Symmetrical Objects


You can use Nendo's mirror command to cut your work time in half.

Begin your model by shaping the right side of the object. Make sure to create an edge loop around the object along the X axis. You can do this by selecting the body and using Plane Cut>X to cut the object in the X axis. Delete the left portion of the model. Don't move the vertices that lie on the face along the middle of the object.

When you're done modeling the right side, select the face where the object was split and choose Mirror from the face menu. You'll get a symmetrical object. This is particularly handy when working with a complex object, or one that is difficult to reproduce (like the handlebars in this example).

This process can be repeated over and over. In the script, see how the artist creates a mirror copy, smoothes the result, uses Undo to get back to the lo-res version, then plane cuts the object to get back to the original half. The Mirror operation mirrors the body around the normal of the face, so if you want it to be a true mirror across an axis, you may want to use the Flatten command to align the face before using Mirror.

Download the script: symmetrical.nds


Creating a Lamina


To create a lamina, start with a tetrahedon, then collapse the top vertex. Next, cut the segments along the edge, and move the points to your desired position. (You may wish to use Flatten>Y on the vertices of the edge to ensure your lamina is flat.) Finally, extrude the face to create the new polyhedron. In this script, we extruded once so that the smoothed object would hold its shape, then again to create the depth of the object. We also made the edges along the rim of the object hard by selecting them and using the Hardness > Hard command.

Download the script: lamina.nds


Blending Vertex Colors


In order to have colors blended on the surface of the model, select all the faces on the body, then use Apply Color to give the object a "base coat."

After assigning the base coat, select some additional faces and choose Apply Color again. Next select some edges where two colors meet, and use Apply Color again to blend the edges. Finally try the same thing with a few vertices selected. Note that the color assigned to vertices is blended if you perform an operation that adds geometry (such as a Smooth).

Download the script: vertex-color.nds


Modeling Hair in Nendo


On top of your character's head, pick several points and bevel them (in the script, we used the Apply Color command on the hair "area" before beveling to save some steps later). Select the beveled faces, extrude them along their normals, then scale them down. Grow the collection to select whatever part of the hair you want to rotate, and rotate away! You can continue extruding, scaling, and rotating until the hair looks the way you want. To get a point, select the face at the end of the hair and use Collapse. Use the Apply Color command to color the tips of the hair for more definition.

Download the script: hair.nds


Modifying Collections in Nendo


You can grow or shrink collections in Nendo with some very handy hot keys. Growing or shrinking your collection is useful if you are rotating or scaling part of an object, for example, and want a more organic feel.

To create the egg, we selected the vertices, then did a Move>Y, Scale>Uniform, "-", Move>Y, "-" etc., until we had our egg. If you're repeating only a single operation (e.g., a Rotate>X) you can use the "d" hot key to repeat that last operation over and over to get an organic feel. We also used the Tighten and Scale>Y command on the egg in the script after we got our rough shape.

  • Press the "+" key to select a surrounding "ring" of the same element type around the current selection.
  • Press the "-" key to deselect the outermost "ring" of elements

If you have one type of element selected, you can automatically select another type of element using the following hot keys:

  • Press the "f" key to select adjacent faces.
  • Press the "e" key to select adjacent edges.
  • Press the "v" key to select adjacent vertices.

You can also use the spacebar to clear/retrieve your last selection.

Download the script: selections.nds


Smoothing Objects


In order to see how an object looks smoothed, choose a body and select Smooth. Use Ctrl+z to undo and redo the smoothing to see how the contour of the unsmoothed object relates to the smoothed mesh. This lets you preview how the object will look when smoothed. In this case, notice how the artist went back and forth between the lo-res and hi-res version of the giraffe, making minor adjustments each time.

Download the script: smoothing.nds


Rounded Pegs from Square Holes


This script shows how to build a simple towel rack, pulling a circular bar from a square face. To create a circular face, select the edges of the face and use the Cut command to break each edge into several smaller segments.

Make sure the cut edges are selected, then use Scale>Uniform to circularize the face. You may have to repeat the operation several times; the function slows down as the edges reach similar lengths.

You should see the face get rounder the more you scale. Using more edge cuts will yield rounder faces. In the script below, we used Scale>Radial X to change the radius of the towel bar.

Download the script: rounded.nds


Tightening vs. Smoothing


It is not always necessary to quadruple the number of faces on an object by smoothing the surface geometry. For lo-res objects, you can use the "s" key to enable crease angle smoothing, then select points on the surface that are too faceted and choose the Tighten command from the Vertex menu.

The Tighten command moves the vertices so they are more planar with their neighbors (and without adding new faces). You can also tighten an entire object to apply the effect globally. Always experiment with Tighten before deciding to smooth the geometry of the object; you may find it provides the correct result without adding polygons.

You may also find it helpful to create a copy of an object so you can compare the two effects, as we did in the script below.

Download the script: tightening.nds


Controlling Crease Angle


Setting the crease angle in Nendo keeps hard edges hard during a Smooth operation. You can select the entire body so that hard edges (those between faces whose normals are >60 degrees apart) are marked as hard, or mark individual edges as hard by selecting the edge and using Hardness>Hard.

Hard edges are drawn with thicker outlines in the 3D window. In the script below, we created three cubes, one with no hardness settings, one with Set Crease Angle used on the entire body, and one with Hardness > Hard used on only a few edges. Each is smoothed with quite different results.

Download the script: crease-angle.nds