3D Modeling Hard Surface Workshop

Weekly Assignment

Assignment: Solve edges on all corners.

There are many ways to solve a certain topology problem and here you have the freedom to try and approach each corner the way you think it would bring the best result. Do not worry about anything else, just focus on the edges.

Here are few rules to follow:
– Keep all quads.
– Try to keep even spread between the edges. Even edges help to reduce pinching.
– Slide points to even out the spread and/or add additional edges.


Recommendation:  Assignments are not something you have to do but I would definitely encourage you to take a try on them every day. If you stumble upon a certain problem in this early stage, we can solve it together before moving on to more complex topics.

Some examples of the topology flow.
Small info: Two of the examples here will not be used, cause they have ngon in their topology. Can you spot the two?

One important modeling skill is knowing how to optimize complex meshes to simple meshes. In order to do that, we´ll need to use some topology tricks. Here are few examples of redirecting edges from a higher number to lower number of edges, and vice versa.

The ones that have Standard next to them, are pretty much standard solutions. However, the remaining solutions are not as standard and could be tricky to pull off.
As we can see from 2 to 5 (2 edges going into 5), we have N-Gon in one case, and Triangle in other. The solution will depend on how topology performs under subdivision.

2 to 3
2 to 5 (N-Gon)
2 to 4 (Standard)
3 to 1
2 to 5 (Triangle)
3 to 5 (Standard)
One example where edge 3 to 1 redirection is used

Few final words.

The biggest difference in meshes depends on where the model is used. Production pipeline, or only for a concept image.

When working on a concept model, only final image render matters and not the quality of the topology. It does not matter how many triangles or n-gons are there, as long as final result looks good. In this case nobody is working after you.

When working on a production model for a game or film, clean topology is a must. N-gons should be avoided, triangles need to be in minimal numbers, and ideally all quad topology should be evenly spread. In this case SubD mesh will take much more time to make, as you will need to plan how edges are flowing and how mesh is going to subdivide and animate.

Rules to follow on SubD production mesh:

  • Model everything in quads. (Small triangles are fine, but still try to avoid them.)
  • Try to avoid large spread between the edges, and try to keep even spread instead. Having your topology evenly distributed over the model is essential.
  • Avoid N-gons at all cost.
  • Make sure your edges have supporting edges. Once you do UV´s, supporting edges will help preventing textures from stretching.

Production mesh has a lot of rules because it is going to be used in specific pipeline with more people involved.


Summary: In production it is important how clean the mesh is, and in concept design it is important how fast the idea is presented.