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3D Animation, Examples: Create a Snowflake [ Blogs experimental ] [ Blender ]

copo_thumbLet's see how we can create a snowflake using the geometry editor Blender 2.6.

A snowflake, as we have used to create a wallpaper, is a fractal (self-similar) with six axes of symmetry. Its structure is therefore based on models which are essentially hexagonal, as shown in the attached image. Each arm hence repeated six times on each of the flakes, although there are different configurations depending on the crystallization conditions such as temperature and humidity.

The geometry of snowflakes was recognized for the first time in 1611 by Kepler, by publishing the first description of the hexagonal geometry of snowflakes in a study entitled "sexangula levels" as a Christmas gift to Rudolf II of Habsburg (Geometry of Snowflakes)

We will make a simple model that is not real and just want to see the modeling technique. Look for realistic examples in these amazing pictures of snowflakes.

Modelling of a snowflake

Start from a plane and apply a series of modifiers and editing operations to create the shape. In particular we will use:

  • Symmetry to simplify editing building half of each arm
  • Array: for symmetrical shapes on six axes, namely, to repeat the number of arms that want to build
  • Subdivision surfaces forms for suabizar
  • Extrusion to generate a three-dimensional solid that apply textures, once generated the shape or contour plane.

Start building the arm

To construisr arm snowflake will use a basic primitive object or Blender: UN plan. To add the plane from the main menu select:


Once the basic object editing proceed to adding and changing the position of the vertices.

Will enter the edit mode by pressing geometry “Tab“. All vertices pressing “b” and mark the two opposite corners of a rectangle that contains the geometry. The geometry will light to indicate that it is selected.

Then, and always in edit mode, will access the subdivision menu pressing “W“. Thus obtain new vertices on each of the edges of the square which defines the plane.

subdivideProceed to eliminating vertices of one of its ends, because we want to make an edition with a symmetry operator that will simplify the process.

The square has had placed at the origin of the system to operate properly modifiers. In any case we can always move them in edit mode

To remove vertices we do not want, once selected in edit mode geometry, press the key “x” and from the popup menu (Delete) that will use the option should appear “Vertices”.


Add the modifiers of symmetry and repetition

We'll take half plane as build arm taking advantage of the symmetry modifier. We will access a menu which has the various modifiers and which is represented by a tool.


Once located in the modifiers menu, accessing select the desired menu that you get when you click on “Add modifier“. In particular click “Mirror“. We will choose the proper symmetry axis in each case, options and determine the needs that we, and prevent the apexes, to be edited, exceeding the axis (option “Clip“) or force a symmetrical surfaces unite if they are close enough to “Merge“, setting the proximity limit “Merge Limit”.


Symmetry modifier can be defined before or after the switch “Array“.

emptyAdd an object “Empty” to apply the type modifiers “Array”. This object will serve to control the transformation will generate different copies of the basic arm going to build.

Object “Empty” situate it back into the system origin, since their displacement and, rotation fundamentally, copies affect the basic arm.

Add the new switch similarly to the previous, reselecting “Add modifier” but in this case choose the option “Array” among which are the drop down menu. Again, we set some parameters of the transformation.

  • We indicate in the selector “Count” that we will generate 6 copies
  • Deactivate option “Relative offset”, since we want to control the transformation by subject “Empty”
  • Activate the option “Object Offset”
  • Indicate which is the subject “Empty” which acts as a modifier, clicking on the window “Object” and selecting from the popup menu.


It turn the object “Empty” see how they turn copies generated by the modifier “Array”. El tour (rotation) must be relative to the axis perpendicular to the plane containing the object that have incorporated square to create arms Snowflake. For this, select the object “Empty” and press the key “R” to enter rotation mode. Then press the key “The” for limiting rotation to this axis, and write “60” to define the angle of rotation, pressing the numbers on the keyboard after selecting the axis of rotation. The result should be similar to that seen in the image.


We will 6 identical arms evenly distributed. If the arrangement is not exactly equal, we can always select the plane, enter edit mode and move the vertices of the geometry.

Arm Edition Snowflake

copo_edgeThe editing process so we will build only the right half of the snowflake as discussed above. The symmetry modifier will ensure that we have applied the correct construction of the model.

Will enter the edit mode and add new points will move to start generating the desired pattern.

To add the points you can press “Ctr + R” (the control key and key simultaneously “R” and see a Rose. If you click with the mouse, cut line to geometry creating new vertices. If we select two vertices and press the key “And” adding these vertices can extrude complex shapes to plane. Selecting vertices can also move.

After repeating these operations a number of times, obtain a more or less complex as shown below, perfectly symmetrical with arms repeated the number of times we have defined.


It only remains to give you extrude the whole volume, Select all geometry in edit mode by pressing the “A” (“All”), and then the button again “And”. New vertices will move a small distance depending on the thickness we want.


We can smooth out the volume obtained by applying “smooth” menu “Object Tools” that is to the left of the window.


or we can add a modifier of “Subdivision” modifiers from the menu seen before.


Aplixcaremos materials and colors and textures with desired properties and obtain the final image, as the ending of illustrating this simple technique. Do you encourage probarla?



You have more information on modeling in our Blender tutorial

Blender Tutorial