Model a complex object with one complex mesh or split into several simple meshes?

Hi all

I have a hard time modeling a complex rigid object with one mesh. I always get distortions when applying the subsurface modifier. Especially along edges. Now I asked myself whether it would maybe be easier to split the complex mesh into several simple to model meshes. Then put all the simple meshes together (like a puzzle) to form the complex object.

Now my questions:

  • Will I run into problems later on with simple meshes that are not really connected to each other? For example when applying material etc?
  • What are the drawbacks?
  • To avoid gaps between the meshes, I could overlap them. Is this a problem?

Any help would be great!

Thx a lot!

Can’t answer your questions because the post doesn’t include reference image(s) to give context of what this complex object is, what the forms are, and you didn’t mention the target use for the model. Also no example .blend included to see and troubleshoot the mentioned issue with the edges.

In general, if a real life object consists of multiple parts, you should model it in multiple parts. Cutlines and different materials are easiest ones to spot. Multiple parts because it simplifies the structure used for each part, and it looks better when there’s a clear separation like in a real one. Workflow options and potential problems depend on what is being modeled and what it’s for.

Terminology issues in the first sentence. There’s no subsurface modifier, it’s subdivision surface modifier, subsurf in short. Subdivision surface influences the surface that is being modeled (polygonal modeling is a surface type modeling paradigm). Subsurface implies something happening below it, like subsurface scattering, which is a material property.

Also “applying” a modifier in Blender usually means pressing the apply button on it, which is not a good thing to do with modifiers like subdivision surface, unless the purpose is to increase the density in the control geometry.

If it looks like it would be easier to break a model down into separate parts in order to create it, it probably will be.

I’ve never had a problem with non-joined meshes that are part of the same object.

If you have gaps between the meshes that you need to fill in, then either add to one of the meshes to do so, or think about joining them again after modelling.