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How to Engrave Glass in Blender: Part 1

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Date Added: 4th June 2013
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Blender development continues day on day, with each version boasting new features and tools to help artists improve their work.

In these tutorials we'll be using Blender 2.67 - new in this release is the Freestyle render engine for non-photorealistic rendering, a 3D printing add-on, subsurface scattering shader (SSS) now available for Cycles, new mesh modeling tools (Individual Face Inset, Poke Face and Knife Project) and in addition to the new features, over 260 bugs that existed in previous releases have been fixed!

The following tutorials are currently available in this series:

1. How to Engrave Glass in Blender: Part 1
2. How to Engrave Glass in Blender: Part 2
3. Modeling and Rendering a Vespa in Blender
4. Model the Perfect Cup of Italian Coffee in Blender

How to Engrave Glass in Blender: Part 1

In this first tutorial we're going to look at how to create photorealistic engraved glass in Blender 2.67. Let's get started!

Download the free tutorial files here.

Modeling Glass

First of all search, search for reference images of glasses. Open Blender, delete the default cube and set your first glass reference image as your background image (N key > background image > add image). Don't forget to change view mode from Perspective to Orthographic (shortcut key 5).

There are several ways to create a glass (e.g., spin, extrusions), but I prefer to work with extrusions. Add a circle (8 sides), go into Edit mode, select the vertex of the circle and extrude along the Z axis until you obtain a glass shape. Check the normal vectors (in Edit mode, N key > Mesh Display, turn on Face Normals). If they are reversed, click Ctrl + N to fix them. Add a Subsurface modifier and set the surface to Smooth.

Wine glass model - the best way to work is to use a front reference photo

Create the Interior of a Wine Glass

In Edit mode, select a vertex inside the glass, then press Shift + D to duplicate and press P to separate (by selection). In Object mode, select a new mesh and go into Edit mode; close the top-side using Extrude (E) and Scale (S). Don't forget to model the meniscus (see and to check the normals (Ctrl + N).

Wireframe of the glass containing wine

Model a Flute Glass

Now let's see how to model a flute glass! This is easier because we already have a glass model to work from. In Object mode, duplicate the first glass (Shift + D) and call it "flute". Press the backslash (/) key (Blender shows only the selected mesh), add a flute image to the background and, in Edit mode, scale the mesh until it has the right proportions. Press the backslash (/) key again to return to the previous view.

The wireframe of our glasses

Create Some Texture

I usually create textures for my images using Inkscape ( and GIMP ( We'll use a simple geometric texture to create the engraved glass: open Inkscape and set the page to 700 x 700 pixels. Begin to draw simple shapes (circles and ellipses) and then duplicate it and apply Inset (Path > Inset). Use Pattern Along Path to enrich the texture with more details (Path > Path Effect Editor > Pattern Along Path). When you have a drawing, as shown in step 4, save your work and then export the image as a PNG.

Create texture with Inkscape

Unwrap your Models

First of all, change the screen layout (the menu at the top of the window) from Default to UV Editing. Select one of the glass models, jump into Edit mode and select an edge loop (select the first vertex and then Alt + click), as shown. Now press Ctrl + E > Mark Seam. Press the U key and then unwrap (I use the Conformal unwrap mode).

Unwrapping glasses

Top Tip: Add a Little Bling!

Small details make all the difference, so let's add an extra loop at the base of the glass and at the top. In the final image these will create very realistic light effects.

An extra loop adds realistic light effects to your glass material

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
NA on Thu, 20 June 2013 8:06am
At the end of "Create the Interior of a Wine Glass" you should remove the double verts at the centre (Ctrl+A, W > Remove Doubles).
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