Unsubdivide mesh to match subdivided mesh?

Hey all,

Has anyone ever thought about if it is possible to have the unsubdivided mesh to match the curves of the subdivided mesh?

When you add the subsurf to a model and apply 2 to the subsurf, it gives that great smooth curved look we all like to our models. This increases the polygons. When we are in edit mode and haven’t applied the subsurf we can see and move around the unsubdivided verts still of course. When you play around with the subsurf to bring it back down to 0 it then gives you the original blocky model.

Question is… Has anyone thought of how to make the unsubbed model to match the subsurffed model in which will give those curves and then you can remove the subsurf and keep the low poly model with better shapes.

It basically does it for you but if you remove the subsurf it will go back to what it was in blocky form.

I know you can bake high res material to low poly… But can you bake high poly mesh back to low poly mesh? Or get this done other ways?

Hope this makes sense.

If you toss your lowpoly mesh… then it’s gone. The decimate modifier has an unsubdivide option… but of course it can’t get the origianl form back… have a lock (upove 1 subdiv; bottom 2 subdiv and accordinf unsubdiv):


You’re basically talking about Nurbs Modeling and not Mesh Modeling. Something like Rhino uses Nurbs, Blender uses Mesh and can only use limited Nurbs to model…
Check Shift+ >A >Surface
Watch this…

Closed surface ( NURBS) in Rhino…

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I’m sorry but this is confusing. What is the problem you are trying to solve?

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Hi All,

Apologies if I wasn’t being clear. As the response I have gotten are different, so I am obviously not explaining correctly.

When you model a character and subdivide it, it will add more polygons and provide a very nice and detailed model, however in return it gives you a very high Poly model. So my model of a character is now up to 62k poly (okay I know it might not be high in todays standards but still). However, if I remove the subdivide back to 0, it takes it back to that blocky model I have. So Subdivide is great but, when you are in Subdivide 2 for example but haven’t applied it yet, you get a nice clean model and you can move the verticies from the unsub surf.

I then had a thought, I wonder if you can keep the vertises smooth and remove the subsurf…I assume you would have to BAKE the high poly to low poly to have this effect? However I assume this just bakes the material and not the vertices which will make it blocky.

Below are some screenshots, which I hope helps…

As you can see from the below picture of my character model, This is Subsurffed to 2. The mesh you can see in the picture is of course NOT the final mesh as it is hiding the hidden geometry that is there to make it give that smooth look.

I was wondering if anyone has thought of a way to use the below original geometry keeping it smooth like the below but without the subsurf 2 applied which gives much more polys. Is there a way to bake the high poly (applied subsurf 2) model back to the low poly to keep the below effect…I hope this makes sense.

Oh, I think you’re talking about baking a normal map. Obviously removing the subsurf removes the subsurf, but keeping details around is possible with a normal map.


Hum, you can look into the smooth modifier that will apply some smoothing without subdividing.
But , to get a really smooth result you’ll need more poly. If you have an edge with two points you can’t make it curved / smooth unless you subdivide it.

Hadriscus is right, you can bake a normal map, and fake some detail / smoothness , but even if I’m not 100% sure to understand what you’re looking for, my guess is that you’ve been fooled by the way subdiv are displayed.
Looks like it’s possible to have a simpler mesh ( without subdiv) that is smoother, but in fact , getting rid of the subdivisions like with this method, will probably won’t give the result you’re expecting.

Do you imagine the end result resorting to some texture or visual trick to fake subdivision / smoothness were there isn’t ?

Or do you expect the mesh to be smoother but with the same un-subdivided polycount ?
If that’s the case, Try to model such a result manually, with a cube for instance !


Thanks all.

I am basically looking to get the end result to look smoother without subdiv. But I do get the best result with Sub Surf on 2.

When I have subsurf on 2, it shows the original mesh in a smoother function, so looking to take that mesh and keep it at the exact same it gives whilst in sub surf 2 as you can see in my picture in the last message I posted but removing the sub surf. I bet it isn’t possible, but wanted to ask if anyone thought about it? As it shows you your original mesh over top of sub surf 2 but its like a tease as it will only be like that with SubSurf 2 on. When you remove subsurf it is obviously gone but if you apply it, it increases the poly counts. So I am seeing if there is anyway to keep those geometry mesh the same and remove the subsurf. It is hard to explain but I hope you get me Haha.

Basically as you can see below…This is my character model. It has Sub Surf 2 on it (not applied yet) and in edit mode it shows the below. I know inbetween the faces, there is more subsurfed. When you move the subsurf from 0 to 2, it gives the below smooth look, So I want to see if anyone has thought about or spoke about if you can then take that mesh, keep the faces the exact same and remove the subsurf without making it go back to its original shape/positions when SubSurf is of.

Below is before and after, which I hope makes it better with what I am trying to ask or get at haha.



So Sub Surf = 2 looks much better and smoother however I know there are hidden additional faces when applied, so I was seeing if possible, as the above the original mesh on subsurf 2 folds the mesh, if I can take that and remove the subsurf but keeping it all the same shape.

I hope this makes sense in what I am getting at now.

I think I have realised that it is impossible, as each face is a flat plane and it will need more faces to give the curve/smooth effect and thus having the subsurf to give that effect.


Yes… color smoothing can make you think that there is more geometry than there actually i… but to find the best ratio between polygon numbers and best look is one of the skills which have to grow over time… but mostly more roundness means more geometry… and for you example: in games very often the hands (and face) do have more geometry but not neccesarily the body…

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