Without using Subsurf, smoothing out a mesh?

You know if you apply subsurf with catmull-clark(sometimes with simple subdivide as well) as the algorytm you get somewhat of a glassy, if not smooth, looking mesh right? (Depending on how many surfs you add (K) and the ‘set smooth’ doesn’t really fix the issue.

Well, this typically raise’s the vert and face count and when working on a large model (like a ship for example?) that… tends to slow things down. Is there anyway I can smooth out my bridge mesh without resorting to subsurfing? (I want to have rounded corners and pipes, ‘sometimes’ the only way I’ve been able to get the pipes to actually ‘look’ like pipes was by applying subsurfing and then adding more verts to it)

Newbie question from someone who’s been working with blender for a year now, but I’ve yet to discover a way around this, unless the solution is right in my face =\

before using smooth or subsurf
you need to clean up your mesj
all the normals should be outside oriented
and for hole and subsurf you need to add some edgloop around the holes 2 or 3
to make it look smooth - sometimes only is needed but pratice it and you’ll see

don’t forget with smooth you still need to speify the sharp edges when needed!


Unfortunately there is no substitute for more verts. Set Smooth (normal smoothing) can only go so far. Here is a quick test for 3 different methods of making a 90 degree pipe bend. The model on the top is extruded from a 8 vert circle and has 48 faces, the one in the middle is the same 8 vert pipe with one level of catmull-clark added giving it 192 faces, and the one on the bottom is extruded from a 16 vert circle and no subsurf giving 160 faces.

usually subsurf takes a lot more times then to add more verticies
but it;s more beautiful because it add verticie where they should be on the curve
not cutting an edge in 2 only

so it a compromise between beauty and speed


Have you tried using the ‘autosmooth’ setting in combination with ‘set smooth’ for selected vert groups? Depends on how small the detail is you are working on - a large ship will have great number of details that you can get by with just autosmooth for the piping.

You can always work with the subsurf modifier set to “render only”. Or, if your project is made up of multiple meshes, it’s quite possible to model at a low subsurf value (or none) for each part, while keeping a higher value for the final render.