Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Simple Vehicle: Wheel tutorial 1

There are 2 tutorials for the tires. This and the next tutorial: this is the basic tutorial but the next tutorial is more complicated and you can end up with one of the four different versions.

Techniques edit

You should already know how to:

  • Make a mesh
  • Navigate the viewport
  • Extrusion
  • Create, edit materials

This section will recap and introduce:

  • Forming faces
  • Subsurfing
  • Merging vertices
  • Object naming

For our premise, envision jeep tires. They're not too sleek but rather rugged for all kinds of terrain. We need a tire that can handle any obstacle in its way.

During this tutorial we will be primarily using orthographic view. Feel free to switch to perspective view (NUM5) from time to time to see how things are developing. You may also want to rotate in the XY plane using scroll MMB or NUM2/NUM4. Switch back to orthographic view (NUM5) to edit.

Model the tire edit

Hit NUM1 to set front view (XZ coordinates), then delete the cube.

Create the outside of the tire edit

Add a cylinder Shift+A > Mesh > Cylinder then in the tool shelf use 32 vertices, set the radius to 4, depth to 3, choose Cap Fill Type: "Nothing", and click on "Align to view". By default, objects are aligned to the global space axes. The "align to view" option rotates the cylinder so that it is aligned to the view space.

Create the inside of the tire edit

Switch to orthographic mode (NUM5 to toggle) and then go into Edit Mode.

Select all vertices, hit the E Key and directly after that the ESC key to make the new faces, then Alt+EKEY and choose "Individual faces" and extrude the individual faces into the circle.

You may either type in -1.2 and hit enter, or hold SHIFT CTRL and move the mouse to extrude the faces until the sides come in -1.200 units. Now select all with the AKEY and remove doubles by pressing the WKEY -> Remove Doubles.


Subsurf the tire edit

Now it's time to make the tire look like a rugged tire.

Return to Object Mode, and apply a subsurf modifier (use the Modifier menu in the properties header - it looks like a wrench) click on "Add Modifier" and select Subdivision Surface - select VIEW level 1 or 2. The tire will now look like a bead necklace.

Crease the edges edit

A little creative use of creases will restore our tire.

Switch back to orthographic mode (NUM5 to toggle) if need be then go into to Edit Mode. Check that Limit Selection to Visible is off (that is, so you can see the extra edges and vertices).

Enter Edge Select mode

Bring up the circle selection tool (AKEY to unselect all, then CKEY).

Use the scroll wheel to change the circle selection size to be in the center of the tire, between the inside and outside edges. This will select all of the inside edges, as well as the triangles on the side of the tire, as in the picture below. Then hit Enter

Now press SHIFT+EKEY to Crease these edges - type 1.000, and press ENTER, or hold CTRL to pull in steps till you see 1.000 in the status bar at the bottom of the view window.


Model the hubcap edit

The tire is almost done. Let's add a simple hubcap to it.

Create a cylinder edit

Be sure you're in Edit Mode.

Hit AKEY, once or twice till all the wheel's vertices are selected.

(The scene should be in front orthographic view - hit NUM1 for front view, NUM5 for orthographic if not).

Press SHIFT+SKEY, from the popup menu, choose "Cursor to Selected", to put the cursor at the center point of the existing tire.

Hit Shift+A => cylinder with 32 vertices, radius of 1.9, depth of .5, choose Cap Fill Type: "Nothing", and click on the checkbox of "align to view".

Turn orthographic view off: NUM5. Hit NUM7 for top view.

Hit GKEY, then YKEY, then type 2.2, and hit ENTER to move the hubcap into part of its eventual location and a place we can work on it.


Create the outside of the cap edit

In top view, hit AKEY once, so that nothing is selected.

Zoom in with the MMB till the hub cap fills most or all of the view.

Switch to Vertex select mode. Make sure "Limit selection to Visible" is off (that is, so you can see the extra edges and vertices).

Hit BKEY for box select, then holding the LMB, drag the box to enclose the vertices along the top edge of the hubcap.

Hit SKEY, then SHIFT+YKEY to only move in the XZ axis, then type in .35, and hit ENTER

Hit GKEY, then YKEY to only move the Y axis, then type in .35, and hit ENTER


Create the Axle Cover edit

We'll merge these vertices together to create a flat surface.

Hit Alt+EKEY, on the popup select Edges only, then hit ESC, to create the edges we will need.

Hit ALT+MKEY on the popup pick At center. Blender will reduce the 32 vertices to 1.

Hit NUM3 for side view.

Hit GKEY, then YKEY, to only move the Y axis, then type in -0.4 and hit ENTER.


Final sizing of hub cap to tire edit

The final mesh editing is to scale the hub cap to a size that is slightly larger than the hole of the tire.

Hit NUM7 for top view, NUM5 for orthographic if needed.

Position the mouse over the hubcap, and press the LKEY to select the entire hubcap.

Hit SKEY, then SHIFT+YKEY to move only the XZ axis, then type 1.48, and hit ENTER

Hit NUM3 for side view.

Hit GKEY, then YKEY, to move only the Y axis, then type -1.11 (use -0.77 if you want your hubs sticking out) and hit ENTER.

Renaming the Wheel edit

The last thing to do is to rename the wheel so we can find it easier later.

Enter Object mode and select the wheel only.

In the outliner window you'll see the tire called "Cylinder". This name was created because we started with a cylinder mesh.

Click on the name with the right mouse button and click on Rename - rename the object to something like 'wheel'. Save your file where you'll find it later and continue to the next step.

Extra edit

Rendered tire

Change the materials to make it look like a tire. As you have seen in previous tutorials, one object can have multiple colors/textures.

If you'd like to review how to do this, then refer to the materials section for an explanation on how to, or to the Blender manual: Multiple Materials