Topology Improvement Advice

I’m doing my first unique hard surface model after learning the ropes doing a bunch of hard surface tutorial vids and I’m encountering topology issues that I’m unable to solve effectively on my first piece.

The challenge is that each side of this leg has a different curve to it, my bezier curve -> mesh -> extrude -> solidify -> boolean difference on each side of the leg has resulted in horizontal lines at different places on all sides of the leg.

When a bevel is added, the faces of the leg get contorted in at least one spot on each side of the leg.

I would love some advice on how to create this piece from or edit this piece properly so that the topology is optimal. I’ll literally email you a $10 starbucks gift card if you help me out here, I know everyone’s time is valuable!

I’ve uploaded the file should you want to take a peak: optimus.blend (736.0 KB)




You need to pack the files before uploading the .blend file so we have all the photos and references.

Why are you using so many boolean modifiers?

You should always try and start with the simplest approach.
Start with a cube, extrude and scale while following the curve of the object and then make adjustments where necessary.

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The tutorials I watched did tonnes of booleans, so I thought it was a good idea.

Also, the bezier curve seemed like the best way to get the smooth shapes.

So start all over with just a cube and subdivide it enough to get enough edges to get that shape?

Boolean works well for complex shapes and it can save time but you still have to clean up the topology or find a method of hiding it since using boolean is destructive.

For basic objects, you can create a smooth surface by hand or use the subdivision modifier to increase the geometry. It can be difficult to learn how to model with the subdivision modifier but the results are usually very satisfying.

Nope, extrude the cube to get the shape and then add edge loops to further refine it. The knife tool (K), Connect vertex (J) and create face,edge (F) are also very useful for modifying your topology.

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If you want to learn how to use boolean better, check this out:
https://hardops-manual.readthedocs.io/en/latest/boolean_beginner_tips/

There is also a paid addon by @masterxeon1001 called HardOps that can significantly speed up your modeling workflow.

Check out one of his videos:

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Thanks for the video, I’ll check it out.

I’m aware of the HardOps add on, been debating buying it. I’ve only just started though so I kinda want to get a handle of the software without the plugins first!

That’s the best way to do it. The better the understanding of vanilla the more efficient we can make you for dealing with them. So learning blender is definitely recommended. But past that. Once you realize that boolean management is kinda ruff then it does set you up better for us and our systems for making users capable of working efficiently. Even in content the ideology is applicable to a vanilla setup and style of working.

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anyways the thing is you added geometry to the base shape. While also adding geo to deform the cutters. The geo of the cutters will also be added to the base form so that is something to keep in mind.


Attached is my examining the shape and looking at it.
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this cutter also adds alot of un-necessary geometry.
I talk about dice and lattice in a video which is an approach I use for deforming ngon based shapes

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This is awesome… thank you… reviewing, digesting…

Thank you for showing me your workflow here… I’m going to reproduce this over the weekend. I’ll update my post with my results. Thanks!

Good morning.

Thought I’d give this a go and show you how I would do it. The old vanilla way without booleans…just because I’m not that great at them.

I basically started out with a plane and extruded downwards and scaling and rotating accordingly. From there I started to add edge loops to get the right shapes and then split the two in half. Moved some edges in or out depending on the curve. I did mirror it to get the other side and “applied” it so I can manipulate its geometry. Then bridged some edgeloops to join those areas.

Added a bevel modifier (but here you can do manually to get the edges more rounded where needed) and added a subdivision modifier to get that smooth edge. See screen caps and file. I hope that can help. Good luck.

optimusprime_leg.blend (664.6 KB)

FYI. The top geometry where I extruded inwards is a little wonky!

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I have seen this in some of my own renders and corrected it by increasing the lower view limits by one or two clicks. Other times it is the camera view lower limits.

I searched the Blender documentation and it doesn’t say anything about lower view limits. Can you clarify your tip for me?

Thanks for the tips! I’ll be taking another stab at doing this leg this weekend.

This video is blowing my mind…

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This video lost me a great deal, I’ll need to focus on more fundamentals and rewatch this one later. To be clear I understood the concepts, similar to other art programs and such, just the short cuts and how the dice and lattice helped was lost on me. I’m really enjoying (and following for the most part!) your bot leg video. Thank you for posting these things to help us newbies out.

Hey
You are very welcome! Really hope it helps you figure it all out.

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Made some great progress this evening… it’s taking me forever but such is the case when you’re learning. I’m just soaking it all in and being very deliberate.

Things I’m seeing as issues at the moment are:

  • Some edges not being beveled (front near foot)
  • Cube that I added and shaped for the back part of the leg is part of the same object but the edges of the join don’t have vertexes and the edges aren’t being bevelled. I can’t seem to add a boolean to the two shapes and add them?

I’m going to dig into these things now…

Thank you for the help and inspiration to keep trying to figure this out.

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Thanks guys! I’ve got the hang of things for the time being:

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