Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Creating a Stylized Snowflake

I needed to create a bunch of snowflakes for a project recently and came up with a simple way to make a radially symmetrical snowflake without too much trouble that remains editable for duplicating and making adjustments to.

Starting from a clean scene in overhead view, Add a Circle (Shift-A) with 12 verts (F6 and change verts)

Extrude the circle with scaling in (E then S) a couple times then merge the inner most circle at the center (W->Merge->At Center).

Extrude the top 3 verts constrained along the Y axis (MMB during extrude)

In face select mode, select half of the extruded part and where it is connected to the circle, invert the selection (ctrl-I), and delete faces (X->Faces)

Reselect the mesh and Add a mirror modifier from the properties panel, enable clipping

Add an Empty at the origin of your mesh. 

Also add an array modifier, uncheck "relative offset", select object offset and set it to the empty. This will allow us to have an arbitrary rotation. Since snowflakes have 6 sides, set the Count to 6. Also Enable "Merge" and "First Last". 

Now select the empty, and rotate it on the Z axis 60 degrees. (R, Z, 60, Enter)

You should now have a base for an editable radially symmetrical snowflake. 

Duplicate the Mesh and Empty and edit the new mesh. The only place you need to be careful is in the center.

When you are satisfied with the snowflake, apply the modifiers in the modifier panel. 

For my project, I created several of these and put them in a group. Then used that group as a dupligroup for a particle system. From a distance I think it played pretty well. You can of course add a solidify modifier or continue to tweak them to your liking.

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