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Creating Tyres in Blender

Welcome to this quick tutorial on creating tyres in Blender with detailed screenshots and some hints and tips.

Michelin Defender model

Over the many long weeks since March, I have slowly taught myself, with just a bit of guidance from Mattxjs, RSend Software and WMR Modding, to model in Blender.

My latest project has been to create a tyre, purely to learn some new methods. I thought I’d share the rough steps followed to make the tyre, to add to AC808’s previous post. However, this post is not aimed at beginner level. You will need to have some understanding of the tools and functions first.

Step 1: Creating the tread pattern

2D tyre tread pattern

To begin with, a basic tread pattern can be modelled very quickly from an image using a simple plane. Note the edges are marked as both seams and sharps.

Step 2: Making the main tyre model

Main tyre model

By creating a cylinder mesh (this one has 50 faces) and using loop cuts, extruding, bevels and scaling, a simple yet realistic tyre body can be made. This is the ‘base’ for your tyre. Again, sharp edges and seams have been marked. The model is smooth shaded, and I used the mirror modifier to save work time.

Step 3: ‘Fitting’ the tread

Shrinkwrapped tread pattern

Apply the shrinkwrap modifier to the tread pattern first, with the target set as your main tyre body and an offset (in this case 0.01) added to lift it off the surface.

Shrinkwrapped and Solidified tread

Now, apply a Solidify modifier to the tread, giving it depth. You should have your basic tread block on the surface of the tyre. At this step, make sure the block has enough depth to intersect the tyre model, and that ‘Only rim’ is ticked to minimize hidden faces.

Step 4: Duplicating the block

Arrayed tread block

After applying the previous modifiers, adjust the shape of the block to reach the sidewall of the tyre. Mark the edges with seams and sharps again. Then, create an empty, as a target for the array modifier. For complete and even coverage of the wheel, you will need a little math. As we have 50 sides to our wheel (and the tread block sits nicely within one of those faces) the mesh should be repeated 50 times around the empty. You have to rotate the empty the correct amount for the spacing to be even; 360/50 = 7.2

Once you are happy with the model (do any tweaking before applying the array modifier) the meshes can be joined!

Step 5: UV mapping

The final UV map

Now you know how you can be creating tyres in Blender! Stay tuned for my next post on advanced UV mapping, and texturing, in the coming days! (I know this might double up with AC808’s post, but I will attempt to show off some different techniques)

I hope this tutorial style post is helpful, or at least interesting to read!

Find out more about my Michelin Defender tyre showcased in this post here over in the Forum!

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