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Erik Selin
Erik Selin

3D artist & all that other stuff

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How to solve bevel problems in Blender

I have been working with a Blender course that has over 40.000 students and one of the most common questions people have is about bevels. In this article, we will look at the most common problems that people have when it comes to beveling in Blender and how we can solve those problems.

How do we solve the most common bevel problems in Blender? The most common issue when beveling is that the bevel is not applied uniformly. In object mode hit “ctrl+a” and choose “scale” to apply scale before beveling. If this does not fix the issue, the problem is most likely because of improper use of the tools or bad geometry.

After having read the rest of this article I am confident that you will be able to solve almost all bevel problems that may occur. In most cases, you will even be able to avoid them altogether because you will know why they occur.

Solve problems with bevels that aren’t working

By applying the scale we have made the first step in our troubleshooting journey. Most other problems with bevels are due either to improper use of the tool or bad geometry in the model. We will get to those issues in a moment. But first I just want to show you how a problem with improper scaling may look like.

When a bevel is not applied uniformly while beveling using either the bevel tool or the bevel modifier the result may look something like this.

The bevel will be stretched or squashed at some part of your model. Just like we said before, this is the most common issue and it is fixed by applying the scale. Use ctrl+a and choose “scale” in object mode.

Related content: How and why do we apply scale in Blender?

Let’s continue by looking at some bad geometry that can cause issues for us. Here is a list of common geometry issues that affect bevels. We will look at them in turn.

  • Double geometry
  • Internal geometry
  • Inconsistent normals

Double geometry is a common beginner mistake but it happens to all 3D artist. It basically means that you have one or more faces, edges or vertices occupy the same space. This makes these elements hard to spot. You will most likely find them when you use a tool that is not behaving in the way you expect. Like beveling.

We can also have faces that have an area equal to zero. This also results in double geometry. By finding face center dots in the middle of an edge.

These center dots are disabled by default. To enable them go to the overlay menu found in the upper right corner of the 3D viewport. Then find the “center” checkbox in the “mesh edit mode” section.

A lot of double geometry issues can be solved by merging vertices by distance. To do this, in edit mode, hit “alt+m” and choose “by distance”.

You can then go to the tools option and increase the merge distance slightly if the vertices involved is not entirely overlapping but close enough to be considered doubles. Just be a bit careful here and make sure that your geometry does not break.

This will also remove faces and edges along with those overlapping vertices.

If you still can’t bevel as intended, and you still suspect geometry issues to be the cause follow these steps for a manual approach.

  • Go to edit mode and vertex select mode
  • Select one vertex in a trouble area
  • Hit “g” and move your mouse around to see what geometry around it is connected or not.
  • Right-click to cancel the operation, making the vertex snap back to its original position.
  • Continue to select and move vertices until you can get a good sense of how the geometry is connected.
  • Use modeling tools to solve the problem area.

Keep in mind that sometimes geometry can be so messed up that it can be worth to start over. Let’s continue by looking at internal geometry.

Internal geometry is the second half of geometry related issues when beveling. While you may have internal edges or vertices that are not wanted, internal faces are the problem when it comes to correct bevels.

Since beveling is creating new geometry between faces based on the original angles of the faces on either side of an edge we will have unwanted bevels created inside our object if we have faces there. These unwanted bevels will also have an effect on bevels that we do want.

This is an example of how this might look.

If we have a lot of internal faces we have to get a bit clever about how we can remove them.

There is a tool in Blender called “Select interior faces”. I have not had much success with this tool though, but you can try it. In edit mode, go to the select menu in the 3D viewport. Find “select all by trait” and choose “Internal faces”.

Edit: The “select all by trait” has been fixed in 2.81 and onwards.

If this does not help though I have found this method to be helpful.

  • Make sure your normals are consistent on your exterior faces. Select all with “a” and hit “shift+n” will solve this in most cases. More on this later.
  • Select 1 exterior face. Hit “ctrl+L” to select connected and in the operator panel, select “regular” as the delimiter.
  • Hit “ctrl+i” to invert the selection, hit “x” and choose faces.

If you still struggle with selecting all of your internal faces you may have to delete them manually or start over with your mesh. If you decide to try to select all interior face manually the select similar menu can be helpful. Access it with “ctrl+g”. Select one internal face and think about what all the faces internally have in common. Try to find a select method that will help you select as many of these faces as possible without selecting exterior faces at the same time.

Now we will move over to the third potential problem on our list. Inconsistent normals.

Each side of a face has a front and a backside. The normal is the direction the frontside is pointing. These normals may become inconsistent if some faces are pointing inwards while others are pointing outwards. This will ruin your beveling.

However, if all your normals are pointing the wrong direction but are all consistent, it is likely that your beveling won’t be a problem. But you will instead have problems with other areas like boolean operations or shading issues. So make sure your normals are correct.

Most of the time, Blender will do a good job at recalculating the normals for you if they are inconsistent. Go into edit mode, select everything with “a” and hit “shift+n”. This will have Blender recalculate normals.

If Blender can’t recalculate the normals correctly for you or there are still issues you can take a look at how your normals are pointing.

To see how your normals are pointing, in edit mode, go to the overlay menu in the top right corner of the 3D viewport. Way down, almost at the bottom of this huge menu, just below the measurement settings you will find normals. Select the face icon and adjust the size slider so that they viewport display of normals becomes clear.

How to choose the correct bevel method

There are three ways that you can get bevels in Blender. The first two are geometry-based and the third is through a bevel node in cycles shading.

  • Bevel tool
  • Bevel modifier
  • Bevel node(Cycles only)

When do we use each one of those? The bevel tool should be used when we are modeling broad shapes. It should not be used when we want to add detail to our edges. This will only make the mesh hard to manage.

For beveling nice edges we should use the modifier or the node. The node can be used when we only need to render in cycles. If we need to render in Eevee or any other external renderer we should use the bevel modifier. The bevel modifier should also be used when we want to export our model with beveled edges intact.

To use the bevel modifier for beveling detailed edges there are a few things to keep in mind.

The bevel modifier bevels every edge by default. In most cases, this is overkill and will use up more geometry than needed. Instead set the “limit method” to angle for objects that have clearly defined edges with sharp angles.

For ultimate and full control, instead of using angle, use limit medthod “weight” and set the width method to “width”.

With these settings, you won’t have any bevels by default. Instead, follow these steps.

  • Go to edit mode
  • Select edges you want to bevel
  • Hit “ctrl+e” select “edge bevel weight”. This will mark the edge with a value between 0 and 1 depending on what you set. Press 1 and enter to set max.
  • The marked edges are now beveled.

Using this method you can manipulate the mesh in edit mode without worrying about extra geometry at every edge and you still have full control.

The “edge bevel weight” value can also be found in the “n-panel” for selected edges.

How the bevel node is used is demonstrated in this video. It is a very early version of Blender 2.80 but it demonstrates the use of the node well.

Source channel: Pixelecope

The benefit here is that we don’t have to deal with any extra geometry at all. Instead, we add this information into the shading stage where it really belongs.

Related questions

How can I bevel a vertex in Blender?

To bevel a single vertex select the vertex in edit mode and activate the bevel tool with “ctrl+b”. Then while the tool is active, hit “v” to restrict the beveling to vertices only.

How do you chamfer edges in Blender?

Chamfer is the same as bevel and you can use the bevel tool, bevel modifier or the bevel node.

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