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How to create a mesh from deformed object in Blender?


Ark Vuckovic
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Hello everyone, Here is a newbie question. I am playing with lattice in Blender 2.6. When I tried to upload the Collada file in SL, it came as the original cube, without any deformations. Is there a way to retain the modifiers effect while exporting? Thank you. HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Now that you have your answer, allow me to explain the why behind it. :)

Deformers, by design, exert non-destructive influences upon objects.  They appear last in the construction history, which means their effects don't actually alter the real shape of the original model.  They just change the way it appears, after the fact. 

This is why they're so effective for animation. You can squish or bend or twist or stretch a model any way you want by animating the deformer, all without damaging your actual model in any way.  The bones of a skeleton, for example, are themselves deformers, and so work in exactly this manner, exerting influence in post, while not actually changing the real shape of the model.  Remove a skeleton from a character model, and the model will revert straight back to it's pre-animation state.  It's no different with a lattice.

The very slight downside to working with deformers as modeling aids is that they must be used with a small extra degree of awareness.  Their effects aren't real until and unless you decide to make them real.

So, the real question for modeling with deformers is how do you dothat.  Once you're done deforming the shape, how do you bake its apparent effects into your model, so that the model's current visual state becomes its actual geometric structure? 

In Blender, this is referred to simply as "applying the deformer".  But underneath the hood, there's a little more to it than that.  To best understand it, we can look at how another program, Maya, handles the same task.

In Maya, the way to make the deformer effects permanent is to delete the model's construction history, so that the program no longer has any way of knowing how the model got into its current state in the first place. This effectively destroys the deformer, while preserving its effects.

From what I understand, Blender doesn't offer that kind of direct access to the construction history, but the principle is the same.  To make deformations permanent, you must erase the program's memory of how the model became to be the way it is.  On the surface, Blender handles this with a simple Apply button.  But underneath the hood, it's really a deletion of the model's construction history.

 

Note: Construction history is not the same thing as undo history.  You can still undo, even after altering or deleting construction history.  In programs that do allow direct access to construction history, it is a normal part of the work flow process to delete construction history periodically, to simplify the scene, and to prevent any incompatibilities between various different types of actions.

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Well, ok. When we go as deep as this, then let me add a bit too :)

Actually blender uses a "modifier stack", where you can add as many modifiers in any order you like. Of course the order of the modifiers in the stack has a massive influence on the results. But you always can change the order on the fly. You can enable/disable the modifiers. You also can delete a modifier, and add it again later without fearing that you destroy your object shape.

You also can add the same type of modifier as often as you like. For example you would use 3 array modifiers if you wanted to expand your base mesh into a 3 dimensional hyper mesh :) BTW, in one of my videos i use this technique (2 animated array modifiers) to visualise how sculpties are constructed out of adjacent faces. And no i won't spam the link to that tutorial :matte-motes-evil:

I am not sure if the Modifier stack is in complete analogy to how Maya does it. Actually i never have seen Maya in action, so i can't tell. Just from the wording i would conclude its a completely different approach.

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