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.

I recommend you the following video about subdividing an object in Blender

In this video we see 3 meth­ods to SUBDIVIDE a MESH in BLENDER, the first method is a sim­ple sub­di­vi­sion in edit mode, the sec­ond method is to cre­ate LOOP CUTS on the 3D mod­el and the third method is sub­di­vide a 3d mod­el using modifiers.

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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