How To Make Rotational Arrays In Blender

How To Make Rotational Arrays In Blender

Over on the course we have many students asking great questions.  Often the topic they’re talking about is covered in the course but not specific enough for their task.

Alec wanted to know how to do a rotational array… so here we go!

First of all we’ll open up Blender and delete the default cube and add a plane.

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Next we can subdivide the plane just once.

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This gives us enough vertices to play with to create a basic petal.

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Grabbing the vertices we can move them to form a petal shape, feel free to experiment with different shapes!

Next we need to move the base of the petal to the centre of our scene for ease of rotating.

Selecting the base of the petals vertex and holding SHIFT S, we can move the 3D cursor to the vertex.

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In OBJECT mode you can then move the origin to the 3D cursor.

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Finally we can move the cursor back to the centre of our scene with SHIFT C, and then once more with SHIFT S we can move the selected object to the Cursor.

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Let’s make the petal a little more 3D by quickly hopping into Edit Mode and dragging that middle vertex down a little.

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Now let’s make the Array of petals.

In the properties window, add a modifier of type Array.

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I want six petals on my flows so I am going to increase the count to 6.  As you can see this created 6 petals in a row, not really looking like a flower!

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We want to turn off relative offset and turn on object offset. However we don’t have an object to offset to!

We need to make what’s called an empty.  It will affect our model, but won’t be visible in the scene.

I am going to use a Plain Axes, so in object mode, and with the 3D cursor in the centre of our scene I will add and empty.

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Now that we have created an empty in our scene, we can assign it to the array’s object offset.

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Nothing will happen initially, it will just look like you have one petal, however if you select the empty and rotate it… The petals will appear.  I have locked the rotation to the Z axis and rotated them around until all 6 petals are showing.

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There we go we have a rotational array.  It would be good if we could improve on the model just to finish it off.

Let’s start by making our petals a little more rounded by adding a subdivision surface modifier.

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I found that 3 Subdivisions was enough to round off the petals.

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I quickly hopped back into the empty and rotated it a little more to make the petals look better.

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Once done, I want a second set of petals behind the original and slightly larger.

However, if you just scale whilst in object mode some weird stuff happens! This isn’t desirable in this case.

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Going into Edit mode scales things as you would expect.

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I will rotate the petals on the Y axis in order to stop them intersect with one another.

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Duplicating the petal object and rotating it around the Z axis doesn’t work right away, however this is fixed by setting the 3D cursor to the centre of the scene and change the pivot point to the 3D cursor.

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Lowering the larger petals slightly stops them intersecting with the smaller ones.

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A couple of final touches like a sphere for the middle of the flower.

Turning on smooth shading on to finish our model.

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A quick render using blender render and we have a final flower.

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Excellent we have out flower and have leant about rotational arrays.

Let me know how you got on in the comments.

 

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