Using Extrude and Spin to create a Wine Glass

A classic staple of introductory modeling examples is a 3D model created by spinning the profile around a single axis. And for good reason. The process is simple enough to be done quickly while also giving you a clear understanding of a 3D program’s way of working and “thinking.” As such, it would be remiss of me not to include such an example here. To create this model, most of the heavy lifting is done with Blender’s Extrude operator, but the magic comes together when you use the Screw modifier. Use the following steps:

  1. Starting with Blender’s default scene, select the cube and Tab into Edit mode.

All of the vertices in the cube should be selected by default. If not, press A until they are. We don’t really need the whole cube to start; just one vertex. So we need to reduce the cube to a single vertex.

  1. Scale your selection to zero (S0Enter).

Now, it looks like you only have one vertex, but really it’s all of them in a single location. We need to merge these vertices into one.

  1. Merge all vertices in the same location to one by using the Remove Doubles operator (W→Remove Doubles).

Three steps and the result: one vertex!

  1. Switch to front, orthographic view (Numpad 1, Numpad 5).

The reason for choosing this view is because when building the profile for your wine glass, you need to ensure that all of the vertices are coplanar, or on the same plane. There are fixes you can do after the fact if they’re not coplanar, but it’s much easier if you don’t have to. By staying in the front orthographic view for the next few steps, you can keep everything nice and flat.

  1. Extrude your single vertex to form the profile for your wine glass.

You can extrude using E in this case, but it’s much faster (and a lot more like drawing) if you use the Ctrl+left-click shortcut for extruding.

Tip

It’s important to remember that in meatspace, everything has a thickness and a volume. So your profile needs to include both the inside and outside of your wine-glasses shape. When you’re done, you should have something like what’s shown.

  1. On your last vertex, ensure that its X-axis location is zero.

If you don’t, you’ll end up with a hole in your wine glass. There are a lot of different ways to complete this step. The easiest, however is from the Transform panel of the 3D View’s Properties region (N). With your last vertex selected, the X value needs to be set to 0.

You have a nice-looking wine glass profile. Now it’s time to turn it into an actual three-dimensional surface.

  1. From Modifier Properties, add a Screw modifier.

Boom. You have yourself a wine glass. Feel free to orbit around it in the 3D view to see how it looks. Technically, you could achieve the same effect (sometimes called a lathe operation in other programs) by using Blender’s Spin operator (Alt+R), but if you use the Screw modifier, you have the ability to tweak the shape of your wine glass and easily see the finished results. This is the hallmark and benefit of nondestructive editing that you get from using modifiers in Blender. The following figure shows what your glass may look like.

Of course, if your wine glass looks like the one in that last figure, it’s still look a bit rough-looking. It may be fine if you’re planning on using it in a video game, but if you want to use it in a high resolution animation, it should be smoother. You could smooth it out a bit by increasing the Steps value in the Screw modifier, but by stacking modifiers as you’re going to do in the next step, you get a bit more flexibility.

  1. Add a Subdivision Surface modifier.

Like the Screw modifier, you can do this from Modifier Properties, but you can also use the Ctrl+2 hotkey. You could also use Ctrl+1, but if your computer can handle it, Ctrl+2 looks prettier in the 3D View. This last figure shows what your finished wine glass may look like.

Like this tutorial? It pairs really nicely with my book, Blender For Dummies, 3rd edition. It’s available anywhere books are sold. Thanks!