How to SUBDIVIDE a 3D model in Blender


In this article we are going to see how to subdivide a 3D model in Blender to multiply the amount of geometry and be able to increase the level of detail.

All the IMPORTANT information is summarized in the following TUTORIAL FROM MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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

We start with a standard cube with 8 vertices and 6 faces, as shown in figure 1 next to the number of polygons, in edit mode we will select all the elements, right click and choose the option “Subdivide” as shown in figure 2.

3d cube model in blender with geometry information window
Fig. 1: To make the subdivision of the Mesh we start from a standard cube with eight vertices.
window that allows to subdivide the selected faces in blender
Fig. 2: Clicking on the selected model displays a window that allows the subdivision of the mesh.

In the lower left corner of the Viewport window there is a “Subdivide” window with options to configure the subdivision parameters, for example the number of slices.

window for configuring subdivision parameters applied to a mesh
Fig. 3: When applying the subdivision, a window for modifying the subdivision parameters appears in the lower left corner.

Figure 4 shows the result of applying 4 cuts to the initial cube, note how the number of vertices has increased.

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

A subdivision can also be made on a single face or a selected set of faces.

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

Subdivisión con modificador Subdivision Surface

Another way to subdivide an object in Blender is by applying the “Subdivision Surface” modifier which not only subdivides the mesh but also executes a smoothing algorithm, to apply this modifier we select the object, go to the modifiers tab, click on “Add Modifier” and look for the “Subdivision Surface” modifier as shown in figure 7.

modifier selection window in Blender, subdivision surface modifier
Fig. 7: The “Subdivision Surface” modifier also performs subdivisions on the Mesh.

EIn figures 8 and 9 we see the result of applying the subdivision with this modifier, the new faces appeared but also the cube had its corners rounded. When we use this modifier it is important to define the level of subdivision, a very high level could slow down the computer or even make it crashes.

An alternative to not slow down the computer is to use a level of detail while we are working and for rendering take a higher value, this with the “Level Viewport” and “Render” properties shown in Figure 8.

3d model with subdivision surface modifier applied
Fig. 8: The Subdivision Surface modifier, besides subdividing the mesh, smooths the polygons.
3d model with subdivision surface modifier applied
Fig. 9: The number of vertices in the model has increased due to the Subdivision Surface modifier.

As it is a modifier applied to the object, the subdivisions are procedural, i.e. the final 3D model is the result of the application of a computational algorithm that has as input the initial 3D model. 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 model remains an eight-vertex cube.

In figure 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 figure 12, notice the shape that the object took when doing this because it has applied the Subdivision Surface modifier 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 cutting the part and arranging the loops, the smoothing applied by the Subdivision Surface modifier can be seen.

In the properties of the Subdivision Surface modifier we can configure it so that it does not round the objects, simply add new geometry, for this we click on the “Simple” button shown in Figure 13. The cube in figure 14 seems to have 8 vertices at first glance but if we see the information of the polygons it tells us that it has 26.

subdivision surface modifier configuration window in blender
Fig. 13: The Subdivision Surface modifier can be set in Simple mode.
3d model of a cube with subdivisions applied in blender
Fig. 14: In this case no smoothing is done but we can see that the number of vertices of the model has increased.

Finally, if we want to keep the 3D model with the geometry subdivided to make modifications we can apply the modifier by clicking on the arrow above the single button in Figure 13 and put the option “Apply”, but be careful, once we apply the modifier and make several changes there will come a point where we can not go back by undoing changes. You should consider this carefully before applying a modifier and it may be useful to save a backup copy of the object with the modifier.

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