character modeling do's and don'ts


ive already heard that when modeling poly characters, that you should try to stick with quads, triangles, and maybe the occasional 5-sided poly (i think ive seen 5 side poly in some of steven stahlberg’s models). anyway, ive just recently been told that “stars” should be avoided too. stars meaning 5 edges that join at one vertex. why is this? is it because it might pinch or something when deformed? would this pose any problems if converted to subD’s. i was under the impression that this was only was a problem when modeling in nurbs and not polys.


so its ok to use triangles? I read somewhere that you should stay away from them because of creases. GOSH! when are we going to find some definitive resources…for free…lol!


you know, ive also heard that you should stick to quads as much as possible. the studio that im interning for is doing their models in subD and the producer said it was okay to have tris. maybe the results are different when performing poly smoothing as opposed to converting subD. perhaps one of the reasons why tri’s should be avoided is because they can easily create those 5 edged “stars” that meet at one point. am i answering my own question?


It depends - triangle or 5-gon in non-deforming area should not harm you, and sometimes will make life lot easier. Except if your smoothing algorithm does not support n-gons - then your stuck with quads and tris (or even only quads, as it happens - mental subds in maya).


nice things to watch out for
thanks for the posts guys


these are called poles. this tends to happen a lot when your modeller doesn’t support N-gons, since poles tend to form when you rearrange geometry to avoid adding unnecessary complexity (since 3/4 sided faces limit what you can do in terms of detailing/edge flow). it’s not necessarily a bad thing for animation, depending on your edge flow, however bad poles, particularly at a lower sub-D level can cause an otherwise smooth surface to have a little “pimple” in it, which is not desirable.

it should be pretty visible in a shaded, non-wireframe mode however, if a pole is causing a problem.


Poles with 5 edges are ok I guess, If you’re avoiding them then you might as well use Nurbs since youd end up with a rectangular topology anyway (presumed you’re using quads only as well).

I think what’s more important is to avoid very non-planar quads. These destroy the smoothness of the subd much more than for example tris.


thanks for all the input, fellas


Generally, when modelling, my focus isn’t on how many sides the polys have, as long as the edges loop properly. If you can trace loops throughout your body, even if it causes a few 3-sided and 5-sided polys, enveloping should be pretty smooth. That’s why quads are so desirable, the edges will naturally make pretty good loops.Of course, if you have stars and 5-sided polys, you’re going to have a few unusual texturing areas, so you’ll want to keep that in mind.


i was making a 747 and the nose cone i had as a “pole” and when i meshsmoothed it, it got really messed up. I definately recommend you stay away from them.


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