Sword Modeling Problem


Okay I will just come right out and say this: I suck at modeling. Now that we have that out of the way lets get down to my problem. I am trying to realistically model a sword that I designed, but the normal (crude) box modeling method that I normally use just wasn’t working. So I decided I would try to model it using splines. I found that using the Bezier tool I could make a good outline of the sword, and then convert it to a polygon. using the extrude and magnet tool I got a half way decadent looking sword. The problem is then that I end up with one polygon on the side that has hundreds of sides. I can triple this polygon to make it ‘technically sound’ but this makes the mesh real ugly real fast, this also causes other problems for me down the line. I also tried usings the ‘Make spline patch’ tool, but since the sword is asmetrical from top to bottom I don’t know how to make the number of points match up correctly.

So my question is: what would be the best way for me to model this sword keeping its mesh clean? I know that there is no one right answer, but any feedback you could give me would be great. Also I am using Lightwave 9 if that helps.


Hi A2E. It’s certainly possible to model it using spline patches, you’d just have to plan ahead and make the number of points the same so that they can be connected together properly. You could also change what you currently have by slicing the model vertically to slice the large polygon into something more friendly. That said, it should render okay how you currently have it, but the lack of smoothed edges will limit the realism you can achieve. Personally I’d model it using sub-patches. Here’s roughly how I’d go about it (using the detail-out or edge-extrusion method). Box modelling is certainly also possible, and might be quicker, although I don’t usually use that method as I prefer the control from the way I’ve done it.

  1. Create a cross-section with an appropriate number of points (click image for full-size).

  1. Extend the cross-section out to make the pommel

  1. Keep extending the cross-section at the other side of the pommel to make the main part of the blade. Adjust the topology to smoothly incorporate the spike.

  1. Shape the front of the blade using the same method, again adjusting the position of the points to maintain the shape of the blade.

A litttle over 500 faces were used. If needed, you could now freeze the object to get ~5000 polygons at 3 divisions (you should then clean up the mesh to remove un-necessary geometry in areas without curvature). I’ve done this very quickly, so the mesh isn’t as tidy as it probably should be, but it should give you an idea of where to start. Good luck.


Thank you for the reply, that does give me a better idea of what to do. Unfortunately for me I started slowly box modeling it several hours before I read your reply, so I think I will just continue with that one. But I will try and start using new techniques in the future.


Well I am pretty far along on my model now and I am fairly happy with it, but I have ran into another problem. I would like to ‘wrap’ the hilt with leather like in the concept picture above, but I am not sure how to go about this. Would there be any straightforward way of doing this or am I in for more long hours of experimenting?


Hi A2E. By far the easiest way to do this would be to use texture and bump maps. If you wanted more detail, then maybe a displacement map could be used too. Have a look online and see if you can find an interesting leather strap texture, then map that to the sword hilt.

There’s really no need to model the straps with geometry (and it would take a while). If it was vital I’d recommend a program like ZBrush or the Mudbox beta as you could then sculpt the detail straight into the geometry.

Finally, good work on the sword, it looks a lot tidier than your first attempt. However, one of the keys to good renders of metal surfaces is smooth bevels on the edges, so that might be a next step to consider (for a start try experimenting with Lightwave’s Rounder tool).



Hi, talking about Mudbox and how useful it is, I posted a suggestion in The suggestions section to open a new Mudbox forum, please vote!



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