Beginner's modelling question about model building workflow

Hi folks,

I’m trying to work out what is the best workflow for creating complicated models (like a spaceship, for example).

How do you decide whether to have parts of the model as separate objects or part of the same mesh?

To use a simpler example: imagine a bicycle wheel. You have the rim and the spokes. You could model then in the same mesh, but on the other hand in real life they’re separate, unconnected objects (mesh-wise), so really they should / could be separate objects. What, if any, advantage would there be to having them part of the same mesh?

Should one, in fact, have all unconnected (mesh-wise) parts of a model as their own, discrete objects?


It basically comes down to simplifying the model.

On the bicycle wheel example, you would model them separately because you would use the array modifier for the spokes, curve modifier for the tread and maybe the spin modifier for the rim.

Once they are done you could apply them and join them but not connect them so that they are still loose parts but they are part of the same mesh. This makes it easier to move the wheel around, you could also use parenting but some modifiers might still act up. Parenting is a good method for pairing the wheel with the fork of the bicycle.

It is still always a good idea to save a backup of the different parts with their modifiers un-applied in case you want to do modifications, it’s also easy to use object data to convert the presumably already rotated wheel on the bicycle into the new modified one.

I hope this helps you

It will all depends on your storyboard, do you have close-up shots on your object? etc…

generally it makes more sense to create different meshes if they are different objects in real life, but if you create a spaceshift like a Star Wars destroyer, you’re not going to create thousands of different pieces, actually you can fake 3D with bump or normal maps, as long as it’s noo obvious it’s not real 3D, see this CG geek tuto.

Thanks for the advice, folks!