Opposite of Ctrl-J join?

If I want to merge two meshes into a single object, I would use the Join tool (Ctrl-J). But what if I have a mesh, and I want to split it into two different objects? How do I select a bunch of vertices, edges, or faces in edit mode and then say “I want to make a new object with these vertices, taking them away from the object they used to belong to”?

In my case, I’m going through the gingerbread man tutorial in the manual. You make the gingerbread man via Catmull-Clark subsurfacing of a bunch of extruded cube shapes, then you add eyes and buttons. I then rigged it with arm and leg bones, and added a chest bone so I could make my gingerbread man take a bow. I did the rigging before I added the spheres, and I noticed that the animation for bowing slowed down a lot once I added the spheres. Then I realized that since the spheres were part of the gingerbread man object, they too were getting subsurfaced, even though they didn’t need it. So Blender was calculating a whole lot of subsurface points for my spheres, and slowing itself down.

I want to split the spheres off into their own object and simply parent them to the gingerbread man, so that they’ll follow along when he takes a bow. But they’re currently part of the gingerbread man’s mesh – how do I grab those vertices and say “make this a new object”?

Hit the P key in edit mode.

P separates an object into two separate objects. You get the option of separating all loose parts (ie: unconnected by edges or faces), selected vertices, or by material index (if you’ve set those up.)

To tell wether you have loose parts, use the Select Linked Vertices tool. Hover your mouse cursor at one of the vertices, and type [lower case L]. Everything connected to that vertex will light up.

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also, if you have a continuous mesh, and want to “break” off a section of it physically, select the region and hit the Y key.

this will physically split a continuous mesh, and then you can use P to separate to a separate object if you want.

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