Subdivide vs. increased number of vertices


I’m pretty new to Blender / 3D-modelling in general.

I’m trying to understand why a subdivided cylinder mesh is viewed and rendered just as if it had not been subdivided at all? Or maybe that is the way it should be, and I’ve misunderstood the whole concept?

CylinderA: 32 vertices. Subdivided (using “W”) two times.

CylinderB: 128 vertices.

In the 3D-view, the two cylinders look like this:

If I enable “Draw all edges” and “Wire” I can see the subdivided surface on CylinderA:

But shouldn’t the 3D-view reflect the (new) vertices that were created when subdividing, even when “Draw all edges” and “Wire” isn’t enabled?

Render result:

Same question here, shouldn’t CylinderA render less “coarse”, with the new vertices/edges/faces?

I’m aware of Smooth, but that is my next step. First, I need to understand this.



View the cylinders from the top and you’ll see why they don’t look the same

If you have a square plane 1x1 unit and subdivide it 1000 times you will still have a square 1x1 units but just made up of lots of smaller faces. Without showing the wireframe they will both look 100% the same.

Thank you for an easy explanation, Richard.

That makes sense.

I don’t know the right terms or expressions, but if you would like to modify an existing model - or a part of it - that originally didn’t have that many vertices (like CylinderA) to be more like CylinderB, what would be the best way of action to do this?

If you wanted to do this, there are multiple methods of doing so, depending on the desired result. If you wanted to simply subdivide the mesh (ie, vertically and horizontally), then you could hit w (while in edit mode) and press subdivide a few times, or you could apply a subdivision surface modifier. This will increase poly count, but also increase resolution.

You could also press T and click ‘smooth shading’ to smooth the model.