Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Polygons are pretty much the most commonly used method of modeling in 3D. They are constructed out of many individual points (vertices) which connect to each other (edges) and when you have three or more vertices connected together you get a polygon (or face). Typically when modeling with polygons you want to build a "clean" mesh. This means that the polygons are all made up of four edges, as anything more or less will make it more difficult for you the modeler when it comes time to deform the mesh, e.g., in an animation. Triangles are not as bad as n-gons (any face with more than four edges). The real difficulty comes when you also find out you need to build your model around what's called edge loops. These are rings in the polygons that allow the mesh to deform in a visually acceptable way. Very important for things like mouths, eyes, muscles, stuff like that. Here is an example of an edge loop:

If you can't see it well, click on the picture for a bigger image. It's the line in orange. You can probably guess how this can get very complicated very fast--especially when trying to keep everything in quads. It's very easy to accidentally let an n-gon or a triangle slip through unnoticed and mangle your mesh later on down the road, often forcing you to make a lot of changes to the flow of the edges just to get everything "clean" again. Of course if they're in a spot that doesn't really deform, like the top of the head, it's not as bad. It's still good to be in the habit of keeping it clean though.

It gets to be pretty tricky when you're dealing with a full body. If you want to add some detail to the fingers, you've got to be sure to control your edgeloops or you'll end up adding detail to say, the ear, or the stomach, at the same time.

Of course, if he's going to be wearing something, you can also strategically break the flow up and hide the seams under clothing or accessories or what-have-you.

So if anyone's still awake, I'll admit that I just wanted an excuse to post pictures of my work in progress. Cute, isn't he? :-D


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