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Smoothing with Blender

This tutorial will show you how to smooth your 3D models. Smoothing is a technique to blur edges of an object to make it look round. With smoothing, you can avoid that your edges looks chiseled, even if you have a low number of faces. This picture shows a sphere with 256 polygons. Without smoothing, it doesn't look very round and its edges are clearly visible. Setting the faces smooth delivers a much better result.

Basic Smoothing

Basic smoothing is very simple. Use it if you have a few areas to smooth. In many cases, this will deliver a nice result. If the result is not satisfying, you can still move on to more complex functions.

In Edit mode, select the faces, which you want to be smooth.
To make faces appear smooth: W → "Set Smooth"
To make them appear solid: W → "Set Solid"

Smoothing in Groups

If you have a more complex model, you probably have to use the EdgeSplit modifier. This modifier allows you to define which edges should appear smooth or sharp.

  • Smooth the whole model in Edit mode (or at least the region of the parts that should be smooth). To do this, select the faces. Press W → "Set Smooth"
  • Add the EdgeSplit modifier: F9 → "Modifiers" Panel → "Add Modifier" → "EdgeSplit"
  • Now you can either specify an angle as a threshold for smooth edges or choose "From marked as Sharp". The last option will make all the edges sharp, that you specify. Sharp edges can be specified by selecting the edge in edit mode and choosing Ctrl + E → "Mark Sharp". Ctrl+E → "Clear Sharp" makes them smooth again.

Note: Do not apply this modifier to the mesh. It will split the model into several small parts and will break your texture coordinates.

This is the Blender manual page on the EdgeSplit modifier:

Last modified 9 years ago Last modified on Mar 2, 2008, 11:25:05 AM

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