Breaking edge loops around subdiv details

I prefer to subdiv modeling for hard surface as opposed to a workflow of beveling and/or hard surface in a ZBrush. As such my workflow consists of:

  1. Getting the shape of the object right

  2. Attempting to carve out large holes and copying this as start for the low poly mesh.

  3. Then I get into doing the small details. Most small details can be seperate objects as their relative high edge loop counts dont affect the large bodies edge loop count. However sharp corners, holes, insets and sharp curvatures add a lot of edge loops to the large body mesh.

  4. Is there a reason not to limit edge loops for these facets of a large body using an ngon?

  5. Do you guys have any workflow hints that I might be missing about limiting edge loops to a portion of a model?

  • this can be done by hiding
  • destroying edge loops on the irrelevant section after creation on the relevant
  • planning ahead and wrapping the relevant section with ngons
  1. In addition, I am curious what the prefered state of limiting edge loops is in a collaborative environment when creating the high poly subdiv model. In the sense that, a low poly model has the clear objective of limiting polygons so extra edge loops are by definition limited in favor of low poly topology,however for the high poly, do collaborations prefer maintaining edge loops or do they limit for the details?

The workflow I am talking about is for example relevant with regards to vehicles. A car will have edge loops necessary for it’s front and and it’s back detailing while the sides can have a few number of edge loops apart from the car doors. Dang, I actually have been adding front and back details before breaking the sides,front and back into seperate parts, perhaps I should break up first.

I suppose I am asking whether there is an obsession with maintaining quad and edge loop conformity across panels, and the entire model that I am missing. I sure hope not, as it seems like a waste of time.

Here’s the way I see it. What I call “top down” modeling, which involves modeling the largest volumes first and further detailing with loops or knife cuts to develop parts and surface features does have certain advantages. Particularly when you want contours of features to flow into each other with few alignment issues. However it’s true that it’s not without flaws either. Like you said, it tends to carry loops over into geometry that may not need it. It can be practical in terms of workflow (is fast if you have a feel for it), however I’m getting a feeling it has shortcomings in efficiency.

So I think the next trend worth looking into is the retopology style modeling which typically seen in sculpting workflows. However for mechanical stuff it doesn’t make sense to do a sculpt. Rather you build a template mesh by the usual methods (I go with box modeling), and doing that you can get away with the crude geometry resulting from how booleans work or even simply just sticking overlapping geometry into each other. Because that’s just the template, so even if the flow is kinda “crap” it doesn’t matter. Where the flow with control loop placement and such actually matters is in how you remodel over it. And you just do that with snapping and/or shrinkwrapping the model parts you’re building over that template. Thus you can mostly free-draw your edge-flows over that without worrying too much about the initial mesh. And since the surface contours are coming from the template, the vertices don’t really have to be in alignment that much either. Just adjust density as needed for details like curves or folds, and you can get away just fine by omitting it elsewhere. The downside with that is that sometimes it seems like twice as much work (it sorta is), but I’m also finding it’s opening up some flexibility vs. the previous way I often did things. Opening a new hole or putting different shapes? Just delete the old vertices from that surface of the model and start snapping new edges to draw what you need onto the template.

If you watch a few “retopo” videos and get how that works, I think what I’m saying should make sense.

Thank you for your post. I will further explore retopo of hard surface.

I am familiar with the hardops and beveling plugins. Kind of off topic but I much prefer the results of subdiv modifier with edge loops over bevels with regards to how reflections occur on the edge surfaces. Plus much more control. I am quite interested in generating the best high poly meshes to capture the right, detailed contours and baking to a low poly personally.

More specifically, I am concerned about dealing with the edge loops while building a mesh with a subdiv modifier, which requires the edge loops for hardening creases. I am not a fan of creasing btw as it doesn’t really provide the fine tuned control I want in a high resolution model. I will post a few images shortly of the set of specific facets I am talking about.

I am really quite fine with the concepting and blocking with the subdiv regardless of how annoying it is to make holes. Though there is definitetly a big advantage of being able to do boolean operations without the subdiv modifier. However, a lot of time I spend enough time visualizing or concepting what I want to see where I dont have to spend a lot of time concepting in 3d.

The balance I am inquiring about is the expectations of when to break edge loops on a large vehicle with details. Practically I dont have a problem with breaking edge loops and limiting them to their detailed sections, as this yields the large undetailed geometry easier to modify, with mesh resolution proportional to detail across the model, but perhaps this is considered horribly bad practice in production houses.

Really I need to go ahead and look at high poly vehicle models from AAA production to get an idea of what productions prefer.