An overview of why topology is vital to high quality modeling
Topology is one of the most vital aspects of high-quality, subdivision-surface modeling. In many cases, it is the most vital. However, topology can also be quite difficult and time consuming to learn, thus the details of topology are a mystery to many artists.
In the below article, I attempt to shed a little light on a few of the key points of topology. Gaining an understanding of topology will not only improve your models, it will also make you a better modeler by giving you the knowledge needed to manipulate your mesh exactly as needed and desired. This is not a topology tutorial, but more of an overview to the benefits of clean, effective topology.
If you are not familiar with the basics of topology then please check out my tutorial collection on Learning Mesh Topology
Clean Animation Deformation
When animating characters and other organic objects it is very important to get clean deformations and movement. If your character does not have good deformations and such you’ll likely get odd results that distract from the actual animation.
To learn more about topology and how you can dramatically improve your modeling skills join my Mastering Modeling in Blender Workshop - scheduled to re-open in January 2013 Pre-Registrations this December.
By structuring the mesh in an effective manor you are able to get much cleaner deformations with less work. The idea, when working on character models, is to lay out the edgeloops in such way that they follow the contours of the muscles and other key forms
Improved Surface Quality
Crucial to a models quality is the surface treatment. This is everything from smooth, flowing curves, to sharp corners. How you treat the surface can take make the difference between a decent model and a great model.
Tip: outline key details with an edge ring to get better surface transitions and control
By creating your topology in such a way as to accent these surfaces you’ll find it much easier to achieve the surface presentations you need. This can be everything from outlining key details with a series of edgeloops to using all-quad junctions for small parts and transitions.
Models are Easier to Modify
When a model has clean topology, that is designed to flow with the surface, you’ll find the mesh is much easier to modify as the mesh naturally flows with the subject matter.
Tip: select complete edge loops with ALT+RMB and edge rings with CTRL+ALT+RMB
By taking care to structure your topology in clean, orderly ways you’ll find it much easier to select specific portions of the model, making it much quicker to make changes to the mesh shape.
If you take the time to learn how clean topology can benefit your modeling workflow you’ll be able to make smarter decisions during the modeling process and likely end up with high-quality models.