Looking for opinions on hard surface modeling

Hello, everyone. I have been a Blender user for a number of years now, and am exploring differing modeling workflows, and would like some advice from others on how to approach hard surface modeling. Specifically, the differences between what I will call the Subdivision Surface Modifier workflow and the Edge Beveling workflow.

I have watched (and embraced) the techniques taught by Jonathan Williamson who emphasizes all-quad workflows, and careful attention to edge flow. However, I have recently purchased two add ons by Masterxeon101 called Hard Ops 8 and Boxcutter, which allow great speed and flexibility for hard surface modeling, but does not used the Subdivision Surface modifier for smoothing and seem to embrace N-gons a little more.

I am still pretty new at the hard surface modeling techniques using Mean Creases and beveling, and was wondering what others in the Blender community liked.


I do a fair amount of hard surface modelling and I find the best approach is to use both subsurf and edge bevelling. I use a Bevel modifier with a low width (say 0.005), 2 segments and a profile of 1.0. This puts in edge loops where you want them (set angle limit or using bevel weight). Then use at least two level of subsurf. Set shading to smooth. This approach allows you to use Hard Ops style booleans and N-gons but keep the easy smooth curves of subsurf and reduce the number of vertices needed for cylinders etc.

Of course this isn’t fool proof or perfect, sometimes it’s necessary to add edges to get the modifiers to behave, and somethings are still very hard to do well - off axis intersecting cylinders anyone?

Thanks, Jester_v01, I guess I am trying different things to see what works best for me. I do like your idea of using the Bevel modifier. Thanks for your input!