As the new year begins, so does the lessons on 3D. The advanced 3D we are beginning starts with high poly modelling. High poly modelling involves taking a low poly mesh and subdividing it until it becomes high poly, modelling small details that are baked to a normal map that is then applied to the initial low poly model.
When crafting the high poly model, it’s important to remember that subdividing smooths and rounds your model, unless you use support loops. Support loops are almost like scaffolding that goes round the edges of your model, the ones that you want to be straight and square. This allows a cube to remain a cube, albeit with slightly rounded edges.
As you can see above, the support loops create 3 edges on the corner. This is called the 3 edge rule, meaning all edges should be surrounded by two more to create a nice sharp edge. The closer the support loops are to the corner, the sharper the edge will be.
There are various different methods of subdivision, such as Mesh Smooth. Mesh Smooth is a clunky and outdated method that uses NURBS (Non-uniform rational basis splines). It makes use of N-Gons which is obviously something 3D modellers should avoid.
The next method is Open Subdivision. It doesn’t have much functionality, but allows the use of crease modifiers. Crease modifiers are unfortunately very fiddly and not very intuitive.
A method that is intuitive is Turbosmooth. Using both Edit Poly and Turbosmooth is incredibly powerful, allowing you to use swift loop to quickly create support loops. Turbosmooth can also sense when you’re using smoothing groups and will smooth only the smoothing groups, letting you achieve nice curves with sharp edges.
But your model isn’t just going to be made of cubes. To actually model, you use the Extrusion Workflow. Here, we inset once a tiny bit to create an edge loop, then inset further. From here we bevel and then extrude. The extrusion is made from one small extrude to form an edge loop, then a longer extrude then a final shorter one at the end. If the extrusion ends there, the top should be inset twice to tie it off. This makes the subdivisions at the top much neater.