Since our stick man is going to be a pirate, he obviously needs a good pirate hat. So let's make one for him. I start out by spinning a fairly basic, sombrero-like hat. Spinning is a good tool to have in your arsenal when you want to make an object that is perfectly symmetrical on a given number of sides.


Layers in Blender are sort of like layers in a multi-tiered cake. It's going to be perceived by an audience as all the same cake even though you know it's really a series of layers stacked one on top another, with possibly each one having its own decorations. The significant difference is that Blender layers are transparent and, if something gets messed up with one of your layers, you can wipe it clean without losing much but some time and certainly not losing the contents of your other layers.


If you go down to the 3D View Header and find the two items that looks like a grid made up of two rows of five boxes each, those represent your visible layers. The one on the left should have a yellow dot on the top left square. This represents the layer that contains your stick man. Select another layer by clicking on any other square, and you'll see that the other layers have nothing in them.

layer two

So let's select another layer. For the above screenshot, I selected the layer directly to the right of the one with the yellow dot. This gives me a blank screen. If you prefer not to use the 3D View Header, you can also press 2 on the keys that aren't on your number pad to get the same layer. To go back to the stick man, either hit 1 or select the layer that has the dot in it.

Make One Outside-to-Center Shape

For this one, you want to be in Edit Mode. However, because this new layer contains no objects yet, Blender won't leave Object Mode. So what I did was add a random mesh, switch to Edit Mode and then hit X to delete all vertices.

2d object

Now I go back to my point-by-point method of making a 2D object. I hold down the CTRL key and left-click at the points where I want my vertices to be. This doesn't have to be perfect; if you later notice that your hat looks lopsided or otherwise not quite what you wanted, it can be fixed by using the Grab tool to move points. The whole point is to create half of what a shape that is symmetrical on all sides would look like if you cut it in half and then looked dead-on at the cut side of one of the halves. We'll have to tweak it a bit to make it look like a real pirate's hat.

Once I have the Outside-to-Center shape, I go over to my 3D View menu on the left side of my screen and look for an option called Spin. In this case, I had to use the scroll bar; it's under the Add category.


Okay, that looks funky and nowhere close to being a hat. So I go down to the Spin options and adjust the Degrees option to 360, basically a full circle, and the Center should be set to the coordinates (0, 0, 0). You might remember from plotting points in geometry class that the first coordinate in the parentheses is X, the second is Y and the third is Z. So, basically, X = 0, Y = 0, and Z = 0, which is the origin point on the grid. So, it should start looking something like this:


360 Spin

Now I adjust the Axis option so that I'm using purely the Z axis for the spin. So the Axis options should be (0, 0, 1).


Spin Axis

Okay, it's starting to look more like a pan for a Bundt cake than a hat, but it's better. Now we want to get a pirate's hat out of it.

The Top of the Hat

That hat needs a top that's closed, right? So I select the vertices along the top of the hat's center peak. Then, I go to the 3D View Header and set the Pivot Center to my cursor. Then, I do a lot of rotating while I get my cursor where I want the Pivot Center to be. I extrude the edges I selected just a little bit before I move the Pivot Center a little lower. Repeat until you get a relatively dome-shaped center of the hat.


If you overshoot on the last extrude, you might get a weird upside-down-cone shape on the top, so what I like to do is get close to closing it up, and then hit W to access the Specials menu, hit Merge, and then select Merge at Center. So it ends up looking something like this:


The Basic Hat

So that's the basic hat. If you want to make a sombrero, well, that's a passable basic form for adding detail and decoration to. In my next article for the Beginning Blender series, I go into making curves so that we can make this look more like a pirate hat.