An Artist's Guide to All Deformers: The Bulge Deformer

Photo of Edna Kruger

Instructor Edna Kruger

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  • Duration: 04:32
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Learn how to use the Bulge deformer!

This video shows how to apply the Bulge deformer to an object or generator, and then set its Strength, Curvature, and Fillet attributes, rotate, resize, and move the deformer to alter its effect.



In this video, we're going to check out the Bulge deformer, which pushes out or pulls in an object's points from its center. It's a simple deformer that's fun to use, and is great for making cartoony animations with even the simplest objects. But you can also combine it with other deformers to create more complex effects, like these cells getting all organic. You could also use the Bulge deformer as a modeling tool, to get just the right concave or convex look, such as to decide if your character needs to work out a bit more or not. Let's take a look at how easy it is to use the Bulge deformer. First, select the geometry that you want to deform. Then open the deformer's palette and press the SHIFT key as you click the Bulge icon. And this creates this purple box around our word, which is the Bulge deformer object. Using the SHIFT key automatically makes the deformer a child of our object, which is where a deformer needs to live in a hierarchy, if you want it to work. And because it's created as a child, the deformer matches the parent object's size, orientation, and location, which is pretty nice. You'll notice that the bulging isn't looking so great, and that's because it's bulging in the X direction, which is not the right direction for this word. Luckily, it's pretty easy to change that. All you need to do is change its rotation values in the coordinates manager. We'll enter 90 here for the B or bank, then click Fit to Parent, to snap the deformer back to the object's shape. And you can see that it's now bulging in the Y direction, which looks a lot better. And we'll just move that up out of the ground there and frame it. The bulge word here is MoText, which is a primitive object. But now, we want to deform each letter individually. Let's check out how we can do that. We'll first show this layer where we have made the text editable. This made individual splines for each letter, so we then extruded each of those splines with an extrude generator to create some depth. So, to use the Bulge deformer, just select the parent of each of the splines, which we just did, and press SHIFT while you click the Bulge icon. This makes the Bulge deformer a sibling of the spline, so you need to move it below the spline so that it works. And this is because operations are performed from top down in the hierarchy. So, the spline has to be evaluated as an extrusion before the Bulge deformer can work on it. Let's check out the bulge attributes on our letter B. There's a little orange dot here that's actually a handle that we can drag, and this changes the strength attribute, which is the main thing that makes objects bulgey. You can also change this attribute in the Attribute Manager if you want more control. Let's switch to the letter U and change the strength a bit and check out the curvature. The default is 100%, which is full-on spherical, and 0% is no curve at all. So, it creates sharp edges. If the curvature is above 0, you can see that the fillet eases or softens the bulge at the top and bottom, which creates a different effect that you might want to use in some cases. Another thing you can do with Bulge as well as the other deformers, is to change its size. We'll switch to our character scene here, and we want to give him a little bit of a bulging tummy. So, to do that, we'll first change the size, X, Y, and Z values here, so that the deformer covers only his middle area. And then, we'll move the deformer into place, which is easier to do when you can see it in the different views. The Bulge deformer is working but it's stretching out the arms too, which is not exactly the effect we're going for. So, there's one more thing to do and that's to change the mode from Limited, which is the default, to Within Box. And you can see that the bulge is happening only within the extent of the deformer's box. So now, we can make our little guy here as chubby or as skinny as we like. You'll be sure to find many uses for the simple and fun Bulge deformer. Make sure to watch the other videos in this series to learn some basics and to see what you can do with all the other deformers.
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