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Smoothing polygons

From: Modeling for Product Visualization in MODO

Video: Smoothing polygons

In this video we're going to look at the Smoothing settings for your polygons and how they can be used to create nice rounded edges, without even having to model those rounded edges, even at a polygonal level. So let's take this object here and I'm going to start. I've just got a simple cube so I'm not going to worry about duplicating it. I'm going to select all of the edges here. Let's actually go over to a quad view. It'll make it quicker to do this. So let's select all of our edges and press the B key to bevel, and let's go ahead and bevel this 25 millimeters. There you go so 25 millimeter bevel.

Smoothing polygons

In this video we're going to look at the Smoothing settings for your polygons and how they can be used to create nice rounded edges, without even having to model those rounded edges, even at a polygonal level. So let's take this object here and I'm going to start. I've just got a simple cube so I'm not going to worry about duplicating it. I'm going to select all of the edges here. Let's actually go over to a quad view. It'll make it quicker to do this. So let's select all of our edges and press the B key to bevel, and let's go ahead and bevel this 25 millimeters. There you go so 25 millimeter bevel.

Okay now lets go back over to our model view. We can see we got those nicely rounded corners. Right, so now lets go ahead and create another cube. And this one I'm going to convert to sub these and go in and add some extra edge loops. So I'm going to add them going around it. Like a belt, going around this way, and going around that way, and that's going to create a cube there too. And then I'm going to hop over to my items, and move this one over, so I can see them next to each other for comparison. And then the last thing that I'm going to do is create one more cube, which I'm not going to do anything to at first. Let's move over there, so that we can get a good, solid comparison between the three of them here in our views.

So, one thing you'll notice is that this one here appears to have much more rounded faces than the other ones. So, I'm just going to select all of the polygons. That are around the face sides here. Bevel those in, just slightly, and that will fix that issue, and you can see now that we have nice, clean flat tops on there. This one appears more rounded, the polygonal one appears more rounded that the sub d one. We won't worry about that for the moment, but you can just visualize the way that this is actually working, so we see rounded, rounded, and, for the moment, very hard edges here.

So let's go over to the Shader here and the Base Material, and look down here at our Smoothing Angle. So, right now our Smoothing Angle is at 40 degrees, so that means that any Angle that is less than 40 degrees is going to appear to be rounded. So if I take this and dial it up, nothings going to happen til, if we're looking at this left hand cube, nothing is going to happen until I hit 90. At which point it's going to try and smooth all the way around that object. Now you can see, it, it's trying to make something kind of spherical out of a cube, which is obviously not going to be quite what we want. You can see there's a big problem with the way the specular highlights go around those corners, things like that.

So not going to be what we want. But we can use this effect in order to get Nicely rounded corners without doing any actual subdivision, just by adding in a little bit of polygonal geometry to help. Now, just like the cube in sub-d's needed extra polygons in order to make this a cube, and not a sphere, same thing goes with rounding. So I'm going to take my rounding here on my smoothing, and I'm actually going to turn it all the way up to 180 degrees. And now what I'm going to do is go into this object here, select it. And in polygons, I'm going to go ahead and add in, let's go with about 2%, and add in some additional geometry that way, that way, and that way. And now you can see that we get rounded edges.

Now, this will start to break down when you look at corners because you can this is still just a hard edge. But whenever you're not considering those corner points, this can be a very nice way of getting good, smoothing happening on your very low polygon objects. So this one you can see we're looking at 54 polygons, this one here is 198, and this one is going to show much lower, but it's showing only 54 polygons. But really it's about 1700 in open GL, because the subdivision surfaces are actually smoothing out and adding in polygons even on these flat faces, where it's not needed. So this is something to keep in mind as you work with your polygons: Remember that your simple rounding can happen here inside of your Base material for each object.

And that is just found in your Material Ref and down at the bottom with your Smoothing Angle. Now another thing that you can look at here, and let's turn this back down, is your actual rounded edge width, but this only takes place at render time. So I can turn this up to, say 25 millimeters, like I have on this other one and it's not going to show anything here. But when we go over to our shaded version, you'll see that we're actually getting that rounded appearance, and it's appearing here and there. So, this is good to use, if you're going to be needing it at render time, but, if you're not going to be needing at render time, a lot of the applications for this can be real-time, not using that and using a smoothing angle will affect how that works. And you can see, you get actually a very similar effect. So just remember, your smoothing angle is very important when you're working with polygonal modeling.

If you just leave it at default, you're missing out on a lot of options that you have for creating good, believable surfaces with straight polygons and not sub division surfaces.

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Modeling for Product Visualization in MODO

33 video lessons · 1047 viewers

Ellery Connell
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