How to SUBDIVIDE a 3d model in Blender

In this artiĀ­cle we are going to see how to subĀ­diĀ­vide a 3D modĀ­el in Blender to mulĀ­tiĀ­ply the amount of geomĀ­eĀ­try and be able to increase the levĀ­el of detail.


In this video we see 3 methĀ­ods to SUBDIVIDE a MESH in BLENDER, the first method is a simĀ­ple subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion in edit mode, the secĀ­ond method is to creĀ­ate LOOP CUTS on the 3D modĀ­el and the third method is subĀ­diĀ­vide a 3d modĀ­el using modifiers.



How to subdivide the faces of a 3D model in edit mode

We start with a stanĀ­dard cube with 8 verĀ­tices and 6 faces, as shown in figĀ­ure 1 next to the numĀ­ber of polyĀ­gons, in edit mode we will select all the eleĀ­ments, right click and choose the option "SubĀ­diĀ­vide" as shown in figĀ­ure 2.

3d cube model in blender with geometry information window
Fig. 1: To make the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion of the Mesh we start from a stanĀ­dard cube with eight vertices.
window that allows to subdivide the selected faces in blender
Fig. 2: ClickĀ­ing on the selectĀ­ed modĀ­el disĀ­plays a winĀ­dow that allows the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion of the mesh.

In the lowĀ­er left corĀ­ner of the ViewĀ­port winĀ­dow there is a "SubĀ­diĀ­vide" winĀ­dow with options to conĀ­figĀ­ure the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion paraĀ­meĀ­ters, for examĀ­ple the numĀ­ber of slices.

window for configuring subdivision parameters applied to a mesh
Fig. 3: When applyĀ­ing the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion, a winĀ­dow for modĀ­iĀ­fyĀ­ing the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion paraĀ­meĀ­ters appears in the lowĀ­er left corner.

FigĀ­ure 4 shows the result of applyĀ­ing 4 cuts to the iniĀ­tial cube, note how the numĀ­ber of verĀ­tices has increased.

subdivided cube with four slices in blender
Fig. 4: The iniĀ­tial cube has been subĀ­diĀ­vidĀ­ed with four cuts.

A subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion can also be made on a sinĀ­gle face or a selectĀ­ed set of faces.

cube with a selected face to which subdivision will be applied in blender
Fig. 5: SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion can be applied to a speĀ­cifĀ­ic set of faces.
cube with a subdivided face in blender
Fig. 6: The selectĀ­ed face has been subdivided.


SubdivisiĆ³n con modificador Subdivision Surface

AnothĀ­er way to subĀ­diĀ­vide an object in Blender is by applyĀ­ing the "SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face" modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er which not only subĀ­diĀ­vides the mesh but also exeĀ­cutes a smoothĀ­ing algoĀ­rithm, to apply this modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er we select the object, go to the modĀ­iĀ­fiers tab, click on "Add ModĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er" and look for the "SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face" modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er as shown in figĀ­ure 7.

modifier selection window in Blender, subdivision surface modifier
Fig. 7: The "SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face" modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er also perĀ­forms subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sions on the Mesh.

EIn figĀ­ures 8 and 9 we see the result of applyĀ­ing the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion with this modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er, the new faces appeared but also the cube had its corĀ­ners roundĀ­ed. When we use this modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er it is imporĀ­tant to define the levĀ­el of subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion, a very high levĀ­el could slow down the comĀ­putĀ­er or even make it crashes.

An alterĀ­naĀ­tive to not slow down the comĀ­putĀ­er is to use a levĀ­el of detail while we are workĀ­ing and for renĀ­derĀ­ing take a highĀ­er valĀ­ue, this with the "LevĀ­el ViewĀ­port" and "RenĀ­der" propĀ­erĀ­ties shown in FigĀ­ure 8.

3d model with subdivision surface modifier applied
Fig. 8: The SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er, besides subĀ­diĀ­vidĀ­ing the mesh, smooths the polygons.
3d model with subdivision surface modifier applied
Fig. 9: The numĀ­ber of verĀ­tices in the modĀ­el has increased due to the SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face modifier.

As it is a modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er applied to the object, the subĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sions are proĀ­ceĀ­durĀ­al, i.e. the final 3D modĀ­el is the result of the appliĀ­caĀ­tion of a comĀ­puĀ­taĀ­tionĀ­al algoĀ­rithm that has as input the iniĀ­tial 3D modĀ­el. If we enter the edit mode of the object we see that it is still a cube with 8 vertices.

3d model in edit mode with subdivision surface modifier applied
Fig. 10: In edit mode the modĀ­el remains an eight-verĀ­tex cube.

In figĀ­ure 11 what I do is to press CTRL+R and add two cuts to the cube, then I scale these cuts to obtain the result of figĀ­ure 12, notice the shape that the object took when doing this because it has applied the SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er that is now applied on the new faces.

two slices on 3d model in edit mode with subdivision surface modifier applied
Fig. 11: Two cuts are made on the cube model.
3d model with subdivision surface modifier applied in blender
Fig. 12: When cutĀ­ting the part and arrangĀ­ing the loops, the smoothĀ­ing applied by the SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er can be seen.

In the propĀ­erĀ­ties of the SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er we can conĀ­figĀ­ure it so that it does not round the objects, simĀ­ply add new geomĀ­eĀ­try, for this we click on the "SimĀ­ple" butĀ­ton shown in FigĀ­ure 13. The cube in figĀ­ure 14 seems to have 8 verĀ­tices at first glance but if we see the inforĀ­maĀ­tion of the polyĀ­gons it tells us that it has 26.

subdivision surface modifier configuration window in blender
Fig. 13: The SubĀ­diĀ­viĀ­sion SurĀ­face modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er can be set in SimĀ­ple mode.
3d model of a cube with subdivisions applied in blender
Fig. 14: In this case no smoothĀ­ing is done but we can see that the numĀ­ber of verĀ­tices of the modĀ­el has increased.

FinalĀ­ly, if we want to keep the 3D modĀ­el with the geomĀ­eĀ­try subĀ­diĀ­vidĀ­ed to make modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­caĀ­tions we can apply the modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er by clickĀ­ing on the arrow above the sinĀ­gle butĀ­ton in FigĀ­ure 13 and put the option "Apply", but be careĀ­ful, once we apply the modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er and make sevĀ­erĀ­al changes there will come a point where we can not go back by undoĀ­ing changes. You should conĀ­sidĀ­er this careĀ­fulĀ­ly before applyĀ­ing a modĀ­iĀ­fiĀ­er and it may be useĀ­ful to save a backĀ­up copy of the object with the modifier.

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