Getting a model looking right with the Subdivision Surface modifier

Is it bad practice to butcher a base model (correct term?) to try and get it to look right once it has the Subdivision Surface modifier (or any other relevant modifier, for that matter) on it?
I wanted my model to look a certain way, and also wanted it smooth. To achieve this using the SS modifier I had to warp the basic model. This seems a bit haphazard and doesn’t really feel that professional. Am I not using the SS modifier as well as I could? Or is it something that is done all the time?

I’m having a hard time putting this into a question that makes sense, so hopefully the pictures will illustrate better what I mean. Also, I only recently started getting into learning Blender again, after only a short stab at it about a year ago, and this model was just me elaborating on a tutorial as practice, so ignore the actual composition, to an extent:

  • What the render looks like.

  • With the SS modifier off, showing what I had to do to it to get it to look right modified.

Cheers for any feedback.
Also, it’s awesome to be back! (And I don’t know how long the site has had this layout, but I love it!)

Kind of hard to tell what’s going on there without seeing the wireframe.

could be an edge flow issue. wireframes are needed.
(edit) also be sure subsurf is set to a value for render. there’s a slider in the modifier panel.

Try working with the multi res theres a option to apply base. Muti res is a lot more fluid. Make your object flat while working gives you idea what the frame is looking like.

the most common reason why you would end up with something like this is having two edge loops very close to eachother

No worries mate. To fix your “problem” you need a higher detailed base mesh. It’s not really a problem though, as the final render is what’s important.

There’s always a few little tricks you can use to help shape the sub-surf a little…
Adding edge loops in the right places usually is the best way to control them, but I think that one of the most overlooked features is the Mean Crease slider found in the transform shelf in the Properties panel (while in edit mode)…

Using that on a few appropriate edges and it’ll help you get a nice cornering instead of the über-smoothness the sub-surf brings. But that’s mostly if you insist on trying to keep the base mesh poly count down… I’d still perfect the use of edge loops whenever possible as it really does give you a lot more control as far as animating it goes.

The multi-res modifier is one way to go, but it’s pops back into the base mesh when you go into edit mode, whereas the sub-surf allows you see both the base mesh and the sub-surf while editing. Also, together with the edge creasing multi-res seems to go haywire if you apply it… Not saying it can’t be useful… Just saying that each tool has it advantages at certain points.

I have found that if you place edge loops or any modeling of the surface while the SubSurface modifier is displaying anything 1 or above you will probaly warp your surface. Try doing your surface editing at the 0 level or base level and then do little tweaks at anything above the base. You can always go back to 0 and work out your edges that are portruding or overly exaggerated and your sub surface will look better because of it. You really dont want to depend on adding extra edge loops to provide detail in your Sub Surface unless you have placed your edge loops correctly . Just keep practicing with it and you will see progress as you start to plan your surface better as you model.

You don’t butcher it to make it subdivide properly - you model it from the beginning to subdivide properly. As you gain experience you’ll learn a bunch of methods and tricks to achieve this… but mainly you’ll get a feeling for it.
For methods and tricks, though, look at the modeling/topology tutorials on Especially the mechanical stuff, since the contrast between smooth rounded metal and sharp edges/holes demands the most extreme methods of subsurf control.

If you need to warp a mesh to get the desired subsurf result, you can probably modify the topology to suit the shapes better. Sometimes it’s not practically worth the effort, but you’re sure to learn a lot by solving those situations.
And if you model for animation, you really need to solve them properly.

Bah, silly me. Of course I should’ve included the wireframe. Sorry! Here it is:

All that’s been said already has shed a lot of light on it for me - many thanks. I’ll definitely check out the Mean Crease thing, and those BC tuts.

Also, another quick question for anyone still monitoring this thread, that occurred to me after posting it: are the extra polys produced by the SubSuf modifier the same as polys created through regular subdividing and the like? I don’t know if, because of how they’re created using some sort of algorithm (I assume), they aren’t as CPU hogging as more organically created polys. Nothing big, just a thought I was having.


try it with some edge split
and see if it improves it !


the edge flow could be improved. especially if he is going to talk or make facial expressions.