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Model Curved Pathways

Blender 3d tutorial

Curved Arrays

Curved arrays are very useful in Blender and when modelling scenes in general. They are very good for the creation of paths without having to manually tweak and edit vertices to get the path to go where you need it. For this tutorial we will be using an array and curve modifier to make our path.

The Steps

To start making our curved pathway, remove the default cube if you have it. Once you have done that, we need to add a plane to use as one of the steps in our path. If you would rather use a different shape or you want to edit the plane, feel free to do so. The shape of the object should have no bearing on how this will work. All I did to my plane was scale it along the Y axis by a factor of 0.5.

Array Modifier

Now we want the object repeat itself to create steps along our pathway. For this we use an array modifier. To add a modifier to any object, open up the modifier panel in the right sidebar. It looks like a little blue wrench. Once there, click on Add Modifier and select, Array. When you have added the Array modifier, you should see a copy of the plane appear in the 3D viewing screen.

To make our path look correct, we need to change a few settings. First, change Count to 6, then change relative offset in the y direction to 1.200. This gives us a nice basic pathway.

Add a Curve

To make our path a little bit more useful and editable, we will add the ability to make it curved. To make the shape of out path, we will add a Bezier Curve (Shift-A, Curve, Bezier) to the scene. To go into edit mode and change it as much or as little as you like. I only suggest making it a big obvious curve so that you are completely sure that it is working correctly later on.

Bend the Path

Now we just need to tell our path to follow the curve. Select the plane and go back to the modifier settings. Add a curve modifier. First, we need to tell the modifier what curve we want our array to follow. To do that, change the Object setting to the curve we just created. Assuming that you did not change the name of the curve we added, it is probably named BezierCurve. When you have selected the curve, the array should bend along the curve.

That's all! You now know how to make a curved path. If you need to change the shape of the path, simply edit the curve. You don't even have to touch the plane unless you want to change appearance of the pathway.

Keep Learning!

No single tutorial will cover everything, so if you want to dig deeper, here are some resources for you to check out. If you have other resources you think I should add to this list, feel free to let me know!

Blender Docs

Tutorials

Books

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