KIT OPS BEVEL

To understand BEVEL, you need to understand that one of the last and most important steps in creating realistic objects is adding a small bevel to the final product.

These tiny bevels catch the light and communicate to the eye that something is real. In Blender, we have a Bevel modifier which we can use to add a final bevel to some models. But, unfortunately, many models cannot use the bevel modifier without destroying the surface topology and causing nasty render artifacts. So, what to do?

Well, we can use some rendering trickery to create “fake bevels” and in fact do much more. And when we do this, we get the added advantage of not adding geometry to our model

So, what we’ve done with KIT OPS BEVEL, is to use that same that bit of our magic, to create a simple system to add bevels to any object which will render both EEVEE and Cycles. 

Check out this video!

Documentation

One of the last and most important steps in creating realistic objects is adding a small bevel to the final product. These tiny bevels catch the light and communicate to the eye that something is real. This is because in reality, there is no such thing as an edge with zero dimension– well, maybe some expensive Japanese knives!

In Blender, we have a Bevel modifier which we can add as a final step to some models. Unfortunately, many models cannot take a tiny bevel modifier without destroying the surface topology and causing render artifacts.

Unbeknownst to many, is the Bevel node, which when added to the normal socket on a Principled Shader, will display a “rendered” bevel. This rendered bevel is not a geometric change like the Bevel modifier, but instead is computed at render time by altering the surface normals around the edge. There are some problems with this approach:

  1. It’s not absolutely perfect and in some cases you can see the originating edge profile. Still, it’s good enough for 95% of the cases.
  2. It only works in the Cycles Renderer. It will not work in EEVEE at all.
  3. It will increase render times in Cycles– and many times by a LOT.

Consider this car tire. It was made quickly with modifiers and metaballs for the wheel. As you can see by the wireframe, the geometry is very complex.

And as you can see in the EEVEE rendered image, we’ve applied a rendered bevel to both the tire and wheel, each with different radius settings– and it works perfectly.

Here is an example of using rendered bevels with an additional mask to combine two different materials. We call this the worn edge effect. It is also sometimes referred to as chipped paint. This is also a non-geometry solution using rendered bevels– and both of these renders were created in EEVEE.

So, in order to create such effects, we need to do something called baking.This process uses a uv map to create a normal map which is then applied to the normal socket in place of the previously mentioned Bevel Node. By doing this, we can effectively render in EEVEE the bevels. It’s also a great way to export to games when you’re trying to keep polygons to a minimum.

So, for the most part you don’t need to know much about either baking or uv maps. BEVEL will do all of that for you automatically, and for the most part the default settings will work.

BEVEL has the ability to adjust the size of both the rendered bevel and the mask used for the worn edge effect. It will also automatically connect to the default material, which you can easily change the color of and add dirt to if you like. The worn edge effect can also be dialed in using an easy to understand node group.

So, the point of BEVEL is to enable you to quickly create the last tiny high quality bevel on all your products. It also allows you to create a weathered or worn edge effect just as easily.