Extrude Faces, Edges and Vertices

Extrude in Blender

The Extrude tool E Keyin Blender is a simple, often-used tool that extends the geometry length by adding extra geometry instead of changing the size. Extrude works in Edit mode with Faces, Edges and Vertices, but it works slightly differently for each. The extrude tool also has a nasty side effect if you are not careful, but more about that later.

Extruding Faces

Lets look at our trusty cube. Select the cube and switch to Edit mode Tab Key. Change to Face Select mode Face-Select Mode , and click a face:

Select a Face
The face is selected.

Now, while the face is selected, type E Key and move the mouse (don’t click yet).

Extrude outwards
Move the mouse to the right and the face extrudes outward
Extrude in
Move the mouse to the left and the face extrudes inward

Move the mouse to the right again and left-click Left-Click :

Extrude parametric panel
The Extrude parametric panel appears

By modifying the value in the Z field, you can set the extrusion distance precisely. Change it to 3m, press Enter Key and the parametric Pop-up panel disappears. (If you want the panel back press F9 Key ).

Now switch to object mode Tab Key , move the cube to the right G KeyY Key and add a new cube Shift KeyA Key:

second cube object
Add the second cube

Toggle back to Edit mode Tab Key , select the face and move the face 3m forward G KeyX Key3 Key to give it a total length of 5m:

Twi Rectangular cubes
The front face of the object on the left was moved, while the front face of the object on the right was extruded

The two objects are the same size and shape but the right-hand rectangular object had 10 faces while the left-hand object has only 6. We use Extrude E Keyand not Move G Key because we want the extra face geometry for later operations.

Sometimes, Move and Extrude have different effects. If we select the top 3m x 2m face and Move it vertically up by 2m G KeyZ Key2 Key, the other faces expand and stretch to accommodate the move:

Top face moved
The face is moved up

If, on the other hand we select the same top 3m x 2m face and Extrude it vertically up by 2m E KeyZ Key2 Key, new faces are generated to accommodate the extrude:

Top Face extruded
The face is extruded up

Warning

The extrude tool has a nasty side effect unless you are very careful. When you type E Key, click a face and then change your mind and press Esc key to cancel, you wind up with a second face directly on top of the selected one. Don’t believe me?:

8 Vertices in object
As expected, the default cube has 8 vertices and 6 faces
12 Vertices on object
Cancelling the Extrude tool results in 12 vertices, 10 faces and 20 edges

Why so many more edges and faces if only 4 extra vertices have been added? Think about it this way – if there was a completed extrude process, the extra 4 Faces and 8 edges would be produced. But when cancelled, the faces are still produced, they are just on top of each other. To fix this, you need to merge vertices. See here how to do it.

Extruding Edges

While most extrusions are face extrusions, occasionally, we extrude an edge. The same extrusion principles apply – the edge gets duplicated and moved, and a face is created joining the original edge and the new edge:

Extruded Edge

The same warning applies – If you cancel an extrude, perform a merge vertices operation.

Extruding Vertices

In the process of creating a unique shape, we often extrude vertices to create a set of edges. Let’s say we wanted to trace a shape and then give it some volume. Switch to edit mode Tab Key. Activate Vertex Select mode Vertex Select Mode .

Change from Perspective to a ortho viewport Num 7 Key.

Add a single vert by typing Shift KeyA Key and the choose Add Single Vert:

Add Single Vert
A single vertex gets created at the Cursor position

Select the Vert and extrude it by typing E Key. Move the mouse and left-click Left-Click.

Type E Key again, move the mouse and left-click Left-Click.

Type E Key again, move the mouse and left-click Left-Click… and so on until you get to the last vertex position:

Shape constructed from Vertices
Stop extruding vertices when you just need one more edge to complete the shape

Select the first vertex and the last vertex and type F Key. The two vertices are joined with the fill tool.

Now Box-Select all the vertices in the shape, press F Key again and an Ngon is created filling the shape:

Filled Ngon shape
The filled shape

Finally press and drag Middle Press Drag the middle mouse button to get out of Ortho View, and with all the vertices still selected, extrude E Key the Ngon upward to get a 3D shape:

3D Ngon
3D Ngon

And don’t forget, if you cancel an extrude, perform a merge vertices operation.

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