What Does Lattice Modifier In Blender Do?

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    Imagine fitting a box around your 3D model and moving the points of the box to manipulate the model.

    Rather than going into edit mode of the model and deforming the mesh, which could be made up of thousands of faces, you simply control the movements of a box with fewer points which is connected to the model.

    That’s exactly what the Lattice Modifier does. The advantage being you have fewer points to work with on the lattice!

    Can’t be bothered to read? WATCH THIS ↓

    How To Create & Use A Lattice?

    Now that we’ve established what the lattice modifier does, the next instinctive thing to do is create one. So how do we do this and how do we link it to our model?

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      Step 1: Create Your 3D Model

      In this example, I am going to be using Suzi, the world famous Blender monkey head.

      It is a great example, as it’s somewhat of a complex model, which should give even more of an idea of how versatile the Lattice Feature is ↓

      Using Suzi the Blender monkey for demonstrating how lattice modifier works

      At this point, it will be easier to manipulate the model in edit mode because it has fewer faces.

      But what if your model is high poly with thousands of tiny faces?

      How modelling with lattice modifier is easier than with high poly 3D models

      It comes virtually impossible to manipulate the model in edit mode... and that’s were Lattice Modifier comes to the rescue.

      Step 2: Adding A Lattice To The Scene

      To add a lattice simply go to Add -> Lattice

      Adding Blender's lattice to a scene

      Step 3: Scale Lattice Size

      Next we want to scale the lattice so that the model fits inside the lattice perimeter.

      1. Make sure the lattice is selected indicated in orange highlights (is should already be).
      2. Then hit “S” on keyboard and move the mouse to scale.
      3. When happy, hit “Enter” on keyboard to set the lattice size in place.
      Scaling domain of lattice to fit over model

      Step 4: Adding Lattice Points

      Now we want to add points around the lattice (subdivide lattice). These will eventually act as control points we move that ultimately manipulates the model at different areas.

      To do this go to Object Data Properties -> Increase Resolution U, V & W.

      Adding control points to lattice

      Step 5: Attaching Lattice To Mesh

      We have all the components in place. The only thing left to do is attach the Lattice Modifier to the model.

      We do this by:

      1. Click on your model (should highlight in orange)

      2. Go to Modifier Properties (looks like a spanner)

      attaching model to lattice

      3. Click Add Modifier -> Lattice

      finding the lattice modifier on Blender

      4. Under “Object” select Lattice

      combing lattice to model again

      Step 6: Manipulating Your Model (non destructive)

      Now it’s time to play and start manipulating your model using the lattice. We can mesh deform the model using the lattice without actually deforming the mesh of the model (at least not until you hit Apply)

      We do this by

      1. Selecting the lattice (highlights in orange)

      2. Go into Edit Mode (tab button on keyboard)… notice the lattice points!

      Using lattice control points to manipulate 3D model

      3. Click on one (or more) of the points and move it!

      You are done!

      Why Isn’t Blender’s Lattice Working?

      Although Blender’s Lattice Modifier works flawlessly (even on older versions), it is likely the user missing a step that’s the problem.

      Often, the user will create their model and then add a lattice, but aren’t quite sure how to attach the lattice and model together.

      Blender essentially needs the user to link one entity to the other, or else, it’ll simply see the two as separate entities.

      The missed step I am referring that’s causing the problem is Step 5 (point 4) shown above. This is the crucial point that attaches the model and lattice together which allows control for model manipulation.

      Why we think the lattice modifier never works
      Crucial forgotten step that stymies users from using the modifier effectively

      Closing Thoughts

      The more I think about what Blender articles to write about, the more I test out the tool. It boggles my mind that this tool is so versatile and complete free to use, and better yet, it’s light weight and responsive.

      It would appear the developers are cramming so much punching power in a small space. But with that, the mindset is to give the user flexibility and be able to achieve that with easy and speed.

      The Lattice Feature is a simple, but yet powerful concept to give the modeller the opportunity to quickly adapt their model in a non destructive manner.

      I can’t wait to dive into other modifiers and features and discover their potentials!

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