Question about proper modeling technique

I was wondering, when you guys model, do you try to keep the mesh as one consistent whole, meaning that if you’re modeling a character do you try to keep every aspect of the character, from body to clothes and accessories all connected to a single mesh? Or do you make your character, vehicle, etc. out of several meshes fitted together? For instance if I was to make a robot such as C3PO, would it be better to keep the machinery that shows at the joint area actually connected to the gold plating, or would it be just as well to make the machinery showing out of a seperate non connected mesh, just tucked under the plating mesh? I hope this makes sense, but if not I’ll try to clarify further. Thanks again guys.

For some characters that need to be seen full body, having non-segmented modelling is required. Some people also model a full body, then they duplicate parts of the mesh, separate them, and reshape them to be clothes around the body.

Modelling something like C3P0 would probably need segmentation, just because there are so many parts, and it would be nearly impossible to select just the right vertices to edit. And thats the main reason to use segmentation-
On some models there are just so many parts it becomes necessary to keep them in separate objects just so you don’t spend 5 minutes trying to select the correct vertice.

So to be more specific, since a lot of mechanical objects like cars, planes, robots, etc. are segmented in real life and have lots of parts, they normally are modelled with multiple objects that are fitted together.

With organic objects you have several options. Things with clothes can be segmented or not, but are generally somewhat segmented from clothes to skin, unless a full unclothed shot needs to be taken. In that case, you will have to fit clothes to the mesh, and spend a while getting the rig just right so that the skin doesn’t poke through the clothes, which is a common problem with unsegmented characters.

So, it really depends on what your modelling, what its going to be used for, how many parts it has, and how much time you can waste with tweaks.