With the Mesh Materializer addon we can add geometry to a mesh like a texture. This means we can now use real geometry instead of textures with displacement. That is the basics, but we can do more than that. In this article I show you some tips on how to use the add-on. First the video and then I will give an overview of the workflow.
Basic workflow of the Mesh Materializer addon.
Select the main object first. Select the main object first before you perform any actions in the addon. Keep an eye on this while working with the addon and do other things meanwhile.
Turn off: Add Edge Slit Modifier. Turn this option of so all vertices on the same place stay connected. This is good before we do any other operations like subsurf, boolean and solidify.
Use Face Nomal under Normal Alignment. This ensure that extrusions won’t get deformed on the edges.
Set Tiles Accross and Down to 1. Beter start simple and economically. Later we can bump this up.
Add Source objects. You can add one or more pattern (source objects). For example if you select one Source Object you get that pattern later on all the selected faces. If you add more Source Objects, you will see a variety of patterns (or greebles) on the selected faces.
UV unwarp – Reset. Start very simple: One pattern (greeble or how you will call it) per face. Later you can experiment with other UV unwrap methods like Project from view, Sphere projection, etc.
Select some faces. Select some faces of the main object. The patterns will appear there later.
Apply to selection. Click on Apply to Selection and you will see the patterns, profiles, or greebles appearing on top of the selected faces.
Turn on: Parameters Update (bottom). Turn on that option at this stage so you can adjust the settings and you will see a real time update.
UV editor, experiment. Once you get the above working, start expertimenting with other UV unwrap methods.
How to get a good workable mesh?
When a mesh is not good, we won’t see it right away. And we start to notice it when wo do operations like Boolean, Subdivision Surface, Solidify and Smooth Shading. And a good thing is to keep an eye on the health of your mesh. So here are few tips.
Remove doubles. Press F3, type: merge by distance. Sometimes you need to bump up the value (left bottom in 3D view) a tiny bit.
Delete Interior Faces. Press A, A, Select, Select all by Trait, Interior Faces.
Normals pointing outwards. Press Alt+N
Don’t use None Manifold Edges.
The above is crucial in order to get a mesh that is workable. In part two of the video I show you how to solve such issues and how they look like. Basically what you want is a watertight mesh, all vertices are connected, no interior faces and normal pointing outwards.