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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
Probably one of the most common ways to add detail to a Mesh model is to subdivide it. Now there are two ways to subdivide models in Blender. The first is to just subdivide them by themselves; the second is to do what's called subdivision surfaces. We are going to get into that in the next chapter; we're just going to look at subdividing by itself right here. Probably the easiest way to look at subdivision is to just take a simple cube, which I have here. So let's go ahead and zoom in on the cube, and right click to select it and then in order to subdivide, we do need to be in Edit Mode.
So I am going to hit Tab and then I am going to hit the A key to make sure we have everything selected. Now if you scroll down here in the Mesh Tools Panel, we've got an option here called Subdivide. So once I click on this, you'll see an option comes up here in the bottom and also notice how the Mesh has already subdivided. Remember, we only had one face along each side of this cube, now we have four, and basically that's what subdivision is.
It takes one face and it cuts it into many pieces. So the number of cuts we have is a variable that we can use right here. So if I bring this up, you can see we have two, three, four cuts so we can actually add more-and-more detail. Now one of the things you'll notice is that the detail that I'm adding here is still keeping the shape of that cube. I'm just adding additional faces. If I want, I can also work with this Smoothness parameter to smooth out those edges.
So as I bring my Smoothness up, notice how this kind of actually starts to go towards a sphere. In fact, if I bring up the number of cuts even more, it's going to get even more spherical. So this is actually really great way to turn a square-shaped polygonal object into something more organic. Now we have a couple of other options here. One is called Fractal and that we probably are not going to use that a lot because what it does is just randomizes those vertices, and generally, we probably don't want to do that.
And then we also have the Corner Cut Pattern and we can do it either as a Fan, Inner Vertex, or Path, almost all the times we're going to keep it on Inner Vertex. Now another thing with this tool is that we don't have to subdivide everything at once. So I am going to go ahead and click off of this and then hit Ctrl+Z to undo. So I am going to bring this back to the way that it was. Now I am going to go ahead and hit A to deselect and right-click on this top face and let's go ahead and just subdivide that top face.
So I am going to go here into Subdivide and you can see how already the geometry is changing a little bit because I am only subdividing part of it. So as I add more cuts, you can see how it's trying to make sure that I can just cut this face and still keep it connected to the others. And if I add smoothness, you can see how. Again, I can just subdivide part of the object and not just the whole thing. So I am going to go ahead and deselect this and Hit tab to go back into Object Mode.
Now probably the most common use of subdivision surfaces is in organic modeling. So I've got this head that we've kind of been working with and this is a very low res version of this head. This is kind of just a very low polygon version of this. This is basically how you'd probably model something like this. So I am going to go ahead and hit Tab to go in Edit Mode and make sure that all of my faces are selected, and let's go ahead and subdivide this. Now again, if we subdivide this with smoothness, notice how it starts to get a lot more organic.
So if I have one cut, two cuts, notice how we are actually getting a lot more detail in that model. Now one of the things you need to be aware of is that each one of these cuts quadruples the number of vertices. So one cut will make one vertices into four, two cuts will make four into 16, three cuts will add 64. So you're geometrically multiplying the number of faces that you have in your model. So be very careful.
If you get much above three or four cuts, you are going to start getting so many polygons that you may run out of memory in your system and that sort of thing. So be careful; don't go too high on those number of cuts. Also, another thing to be aware of is that the more detail you have in your model, the harder it's going to be to animate. So typically, when we actually subdivide, we subdivide as little as possible and then when we get into using subdivision surfaces, that's where we can kind of go crazy with the subdivisions to get things really super smooth.
But at this point when you're modeling, you don't want to go too deep into subdivisions; just enough to give you the room you need to create the shapes that you want.
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