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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Video: Oven-Baked Pretzels in Blender 3D (Complete)

I love hot, oven-baked pretzels. I haven't had one in a good long while, though. So, I thought I would create some 3D pretzels in Blender!

This video tutorial series will take a look at how you can create 3D pretzels in Blender. We'll start from a collection of reference images and go, step-by-step, all the way through to the final render.

For more experienced users, here's a PDF file of the outline used in the creation of the tutorial. It provides a good overview of the entire process.

I hope you enjoy it.

Part 1 - The Draft Scene

  • We take a look at our reference images
  • Establish a basic work environment in Blender
  • Create a draft version of the oven and conveyor belt
  • Create some proxy objects for the pretzels

Watch the tutorial online (faster access to different chapters!)
(SWF streaming, Length - 17:54)
Or, Download the 48.8MB ZIP file to view it offline (load the HTML file in your browser).
Or, Download via Torrent.

Part 2 - The Basic Pretzel Mesh

  • Create pretzel mesh using a curve, BevOb, and Shrink/Flatten (Alt-S)
Watch the tutorial online
(FLV streaming, Length - 10:56)
Or, Download the 70.8MB ZIP file to view it offline (load the HTML file in your browser).

torrent available later...

Part 3 - Sculpting Details

  • Learn some basic sculpting keystrokes that free you from the Properties panel
  • Use sculpting to give the pretzel more volume and realism
Watch the tutorial online (faster access to different chapters!)
(FLV streaming, Length - 14:45)
Or, Download the 60.3MB ZIP file to view it offline (load the HTML file in your browser).

torrent available later...

Part 4 - Materials

  • Flattening the bottom of the pretzel mesh
  • Multi-Layered materials
  • Vertex Painting
  • Texturing the conveyor
  • Adjusting the pretzel proxies
  • Replacing the pretzel proxies

Watch the tutorial online (faster access to different chapters!)
(FLV streaming, Length - 53:41)
Or, Download the 183MB ZIP file to view it offline (load the HTML file in your browser).

torrent available later...

Part 5 - Soft Shadows, Lights, Tweaks

  • Using Mist for Shadowy Areas
  • Soft Shadows Demo
  • Applying Soft Shadows
  • Object Name Editor script
  • Adding and Tweaking Details
  • Lighting the Scene
  • Final Environment Tweaks
Watch the tutorial online (faster access to different chapters!)
(FLV streaming, Length - 1:02:55)
Or, Download the 180MB ZIP file to view it offline (load the HTML file in your browser).

torrent available later...

Reference Material:

Part 6 - The Finishing Touches

  • Adding "feet" to the Pretzel
  • Final Adjustments to the Basic Pretzel
  • Making Each Pretzel Unique
  • Final Tweaks
  • A Little Post-Production
Watch the tutorial online (faster access to different chapters!)
(FLV streaming, Length - 41:38)
Or, Download the 162MB ZIP file to view it offline (load the HTML file in your browser).

torrent available later...

Reference Material:
  • Numpad-Asterisk(*): align view to selected object(s)
  • In Vertex Paint mode, you can sample colors faster by right-clicking any desired color within a 3D View.
  • To save an image of your render to file, press F3. The file will be saved according to your current Output Format settings.
  • The OSA (anti-aliasing) filter used is Mitch, which helps to sharpen the quality of the edges and some textures. The sharpest OSA filter, however, is CatRom. (see BlenderWiki's Oversampling details)
  • Exposure and Range
  • Output Formats

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, it's wonderful !

I've been having a look from time to time to see if something was out, but I had lost hope from some time now (it would be cool if you had a "deal" with blendernation so they announce your releases) =)

And I'm glad it's still possible to direct-download your tutorials.

Great job !
Now, I'm also eager to see your results on tree generation too as it's a top subject.

Thank you again !

Kernon Dillon said...


Well, I'm actually one of the writers of BlenderNation but, I feel it's a bit of a conflict of interests to use that platform to point to my own stuff, so...

And, don't worry, the trees are not dead. There's just been a lot going on.

Anonymous said...


it is very nice you are promoting Blender here. Good job.

As for tutorials. Do you think they may be more vivid or shorter or faster? To be honest it is quite boring to download 70MG and watch for twenty minutes creation of three plains and 9 duplication of one cube.


Anonymous said...

Hello Kernon,

I disagree with the previous comment regarding tutorial being boring. It is very complete, and is intended for newbies, so should cover things at an appropriate pace.

However, in the Pretzel tutorial 1, you say you have to be in wireframe mode to select vertices that are hidden behind others (using box select). This is not true. You can be in shaded mode, but you need to make sure that the toggle button for selecting hidden vertices is not pressed. The toggle for this is next to the face select button.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the toggle doesn't appear to be in your version of Blender, despite the fact that you have 2.43?

Is yours a non standard build?

Kernon Dillon said...

No, it's a standard build. That button is only available in the Edit mode. When I learned of that button's function, I decided right then that I had no real use for it. My problem with using that button is that it creates two states of mind that you have to manage. One when it's on and when it's off. You have to keep revisiting it to establish the desired view type. To me, that's extra work and it creates confusion when trying to explain certain things because you have to cover both scenarios. Frankly, I have never used it. But, I'm glad the feature is there for those who prefer it.

Thanks for the comments!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it can cause confusion having to remember what state you are in, but no more so than having to remember that you have to be in wireframe mode.

I am also of the opinion that you should take the time to explain these different approaches. Given that you are trying to get your tutorials to a commercial level, it is important to cover all aspects of the software and not mislead users into thinking that they MUST do something one way and one way only.

Im sure you have seen them already, but the (old) Blender tutorials created by 3D Buzz are good examples of tutorials where the tutor tries to give the bigger picture regarding functionality and methodology, not just his personal preference in modelling. I think if you take this approach you will get that much closer to commercial quality.

Maybe also if you watch some of the CBT Nuggets videos (they have some free samples).

Kernon Dillon said...

Well, I'm certainly not misleading the viewer about their options in Blender. It's just that I can't cover every scenario for every step. I try to cover the most logical approach (as far as my knowledge of Blender will allow) for a given scenario. To me it's more effective to press the Z-key than to navigate my mousepointer away from the workzone to locate a button just for the purpose of selecting "hidden" topology. Doing that means I also have to navigate back to the workzone, perform the operation, navigate back to the button to undo that particular view state, and then navigate back to the workzone again...when, in that scenario, all I wanted to do is select a single "hidden" vertex. Now, if I were doing a tutorial on viewport view styles I would definitely cover that button and talk about scenarios where it might be a better option. It's good for when you want to view surface details from a perspective viewpoint AND still be able to select/edit vertices that would otherwise be occluded. In fact, that button is only accessible when you are in a view mode that is displaying faces (solid, shaded, and textured).

Anonymous said...


I just want to say GREAT job as always, dont get discouraged or distracted by individuals comments here, your style and your approach is accurate for your audience and I again and again thank you for sharing your time and talents to the community. Keep up the Wonderful work and thank you again for all your efforts. Your a great resource to the Blender community. Thank you Kernon!


PS: thanks for keeping single downloads, as well as the new torrents =) I think thats a good solution.

PSS: you current series Pretzels is great, again Awesome stuff here, keep up then good work and thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I want to say that this is great!! I just have one question. When constructing the Pretzel I draw the Bezier curve and circle as you show, then set the BevOb to cc w/3D selected. When mine generates the tube it places the tube way outside of the Bezier curve, which makes it very difficult to control????? Any ideas of what I am doing wrong????

Thanks in advance!!!!

Kernon Dillon said...

Thanks for the kind words!

I believe the problem is with your CurveCircle object (the one you named "cc"). In Object mode, select it and go to the Editing buttons window (F9). Locate the "Curve and Surface" panel. Click the "Center New" button and everything should be fine. When editing an object in Edit mode, it's possible to adjust things to the point where its actual center point is no longer the same as the center point when it was first created. Blender maintains the original center point as represented by the dot that you see when an object is selected. This isn't a bug, it's just another way to control things. Two ways to avoid this are to create your object in the location you want it to be by positioning the 3D Cursor prior to adding the object or, clicking the "Center New" button after any major editing of the object's geometry. Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Hi and thanks for this great material.

It is very well structured and thought and is so helpfull for... newbies like me.

Some might complain about the relatively slow pace. I would not ! The reason is that you take time to add tooltips remembering shortcuts and that is again great for... newbies at which this blog is aiming.

As for now, every tutorial managed to teach me about methods and blender tools. So again, nothing to complain with... Just congratulations for your teaching skills and efforts.
And I'm not that much of a congratulator usually.


Anonymous said...

part 4 is very interesting as usual, i really appreciate your workflow and the way you teach us a more rationnal use of blender for CG high valuables results, what about the country pathway? do you work on the next issue?

thanks for your work and help from a french blender newbie ;)

Anonymous said...

thanks for such a professionnalism in these tutorials.

Torrent are a good way for me.

Just one question: the intro in pdf format was done with wich software ?


Kernon Dillon said...


The outline was created using a free application (for commercial/non-commercial uses) called CmapTools.

You can locate it here:

The application is a little bit different from a standard flowchart-type program. Here's some good info on the theory of Concept Maps and how to create them using CmapTools:

They've also got a few video tutorials:

Anyway, it's a good app that I haven't totally been sold on. It's a little quirky sometimes but, it's still good and has some unique features.

Anonymous said...

Kernon, I just wanted to say thank you so much for these great tutorials!! Your style is very thorough and easy to follow and understand. Your contributions to those of us who are just beginning are incredibly helpful!!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the answer about 'CmapTools'. I'm using FreeMind, try it too.

Kernon Dillon said...

Actually, I already have FreeMind! I downloaded several tools and have only had time to get to CMapTools, so far.

I downloaded CMapTools, FreeMind, and Compendium.

So, yeah I will definitely be giving FreeMind a look. Thanks!

Kernon Dillon said...


Hani Alers said...


Great tutorials!
I tend to use Blender from time to time for small projects, and I am usually frustrated with the lack of documentation of new functions. I always wonder why Blender developers spend so much time making these functions and so little time documenting them properly!!

Your tutorials are extremely useful in showing all those little tricks. And the way you display every shortcut on the screen is awesome. I just hope you plan to make more of these tutorials because Blender needs help in that department.

Keep up the good work!

Kernon Dillon said...


Glad to help.

I hope to be able to provide some help when the milestone 2.5 version of Blender becomes available.

Anonymous said...

Awesome job! What I like about your tutorials is that you clearly explain every single step and keystroke, and nothing is left a mystery. This is valuable stuff!

Jack_the_Bear said...

How do I leave a post

Kernon Dillon said...

Do you mean something like an image post? In the future, this will be possible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for your great work.
Your tutorial are always top quality.


Anonymous said...

What a delight it was to watch you work. This is a fascinating set of tutorials.

I have a little (read: very little) experience with modeling, and I've just discovered Blender.

At this point, I'm overwhelmed by the interface (no shock there) and groping for all the help I can find.

I picked up half a dozen useful shortcuts from the pretzel-building series, but more than that, I had my eyes opened to the package's potential.

I look forward to visiting your site often, and wish you the best for a commercial launch, if you're planning one. It's obvious you put tremendous time and effort into your tutorial productions, and no small expertise.

Kernon Dillon said...

Thanks everyone, you're welcome!

Anonymous said...

Nice tutorials and info to be found on this site, but navigation and layout is a bit confusing. I keep running in circles trying to find a list of the tutorials you have created.

Kernon Dillon said...

Sorry about the confusion. I'm definitely working on making the site easier to navigate. Have you tried using the labels in the right-most sidebar? If you click on "Video Tutorial" you should get all of the video tutorial posts on the site.


Unknown said...

I used blender a few years ago and haven't done anything 3d in about as much time. downloaded blender again yesterday and found myself completely lost through both time not doing it, and subtle changes to the interface. Went all the way through the pretzel Tut, and found myself well back in my stride for current projects. It's not JUST for newbs :-)

Thanx tons!

Kernon Dillon said...

You're Welcome!

Unknown said...

Is there any chance in the world that you could make available the 3d pretzel object for use in other programs? I am using bryce, and need an 3d pretzel very badly. However, if not, after viewing your tuts, I feel that if I have to, I could dl Blender and make one...just wanted to avoid the learning curve. I am amazed at what Blender can do that Bryce won't. Amazing.

Kernon Dillon said...

Heh, heh...nope. :))

I make the tutorials so you can do it yourself. It's time you made the move to an application that will support your needs. Welcome to the Blender Community. has some good tutorials to get you up-to-speed with Blender. Also, check out

Unknown said...

Okay, I have successfully made the Preztel, but am getting stuck when I convert to wire mesh. When I hit Alt-c, nothing is happening. The video does not indicate what you did to make the control points disappear...I managed to hide them, with the curve tools, Hide, Select, select swap...when they are hidden, Alt-c does not provide the mesh. Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Kernon Dillon said...

Congratulations! I knew you could do it.

To convert to a mesh, make sure you are in the Object mode and have the object selected. Then, press Alt-C. I think you may have been in the Edit mode. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

It would be great if you posted an image of your results in the forum!


Unknown said...

I will do so, but I must warn you, I am doing this to create a 3d model for a glass artist; I am commissioning him to make a few things, one being a pretzel. Its not intended to look realistic, rather one version is clear glass, and the other version, blue and white in honor of the Bavarian flag, and Oktoberfest. I intended on just exporting the wireframe into Bryce, but am now *forcing* myself to go through the material video...I am sure I can do more in blender than in Bryce. The learning curve was not as steep as I had imagined. And thanks for putting the fire under my arse...

Kernon Dillon said...

Well, it doesn't matter how it looks, really. The real issue is to just try. You've discovered the dirty little secret behind most of the complainers about the so-called difficulty of using Blender...they really haven't applied themselves to actually learn the application. Sure, as with any large application, there are many areas that can/will be improved but, I don't have a whole lot of patience for those that aren't willing to try because I know their impression is just an issue of unfamiliarity.

As you learn more of Blender, it gets better and better and the genius behind much of its design begins to blossom right before you.

Unknown said...

I'm looking for the first refrence image you mentioned, the real pretzel picture. If you think you shouldn't tell me where to get it, could you tell me how?


(The tutorial is great, keep up the good work!)

Kernon Dillon said...

Thanks! You should be able to find the image by doing a Google Images search for "baked pretzel".

Unknown said...

Ah, I was confused. I did a google search before but I only found the thumbnail. I looked further in context and found the real thing, thanks.

Iván Egües said...

Great job!....again.

Lookig at your tutorial I think there should be Suzzane award category called best tutorial series!

Advice 1: When aplicable, you can make a small sumary at the end, like in the decaling video.
Advice 2: Keep it free ;)

Kernon Dillon said...


I think the quick reviews will become a regular part of the more involved tutorials. It helps to really compact all of the details of the tutorial and I think it helps with the learning process.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kernon,

I am catching up with all your tutorials. You are doing a great job. Although I am struggling for about two years now with Blender, I somehow seem to miss things. This tutorial showing a project in its completeness was an eye opener. Many techniques that I heard of and played with but never could put to use, are going to make sense now, like vertex painting. I think this is a one of a kind tutorial. Thanks a lot.
One remark however. In part six there is a lot of time lapse video, e.g. making each pretzel unique. I think it is worthwhile to skip things here and there. There is quite a bit of the same and then I loose my focus, missing sometimes interesting remarks. It will pay if you can keep the listener's attention all the way long; especially because you are planning to redo the tutorials for Blender 2.5, it may be something to keep in mind.
But I should not complain, you do a massive amount of work here and I learn a lot from you.

Thanks, Serge

M.Hohlfeld said...

Very interesting. Thanks for that.
Also the other tutorials are very interesting.
Do you earning money with Blender?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fantastic tutorials. One thing that should be said though is that you don't need the post-production in photoshop, you can do it all in Blender itself in compositing/sequencing. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial, very helpful :)

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