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making high poly mesh sometimes becomes challenging especially when mesh contains both cubic shapes and circular shapes altogether. There are different methods for smoothing either in Maya or max. today I’m gonna share with you 4 different methods that we can use to preserve the overall correct form but first, we have to be sure the low poly mesh has enough geometry, to begin with especially the circular shape on top of the model.
this particular mesh has a cylinder and a circle in top and bottom and a box in the middle which makes it a bit complex for smoothing. mesh on the left have very few polygons on top (8 polygons) and it’s good for baking normal map and the mesh on right have enough polygon to maintain its circular shape when adding supporting loops and its good high poly mesh with enough edges to support the shape (20 polygons)

if we try to harden the edges on the low poly and make it smooth, mesh on left loses its roundness but mesh on the right preserve its circular shape.

we harden the edges by using the insert edge loop tool or swift loop tool to support the hard edges of the model. in the circular area of the mesh, we use mostly cut tool to create continuous edges loop. when using insert edge loop around the box, edges go all the way to the top and the bottom and destroy the circular shape of the mesh so we need to terminate edge loop and wield the vertices if they are on top of each aware that this method is time-consuming and need a lot of tweaking and cleanups and we can make the corner sharper by moving the edges.

we using chamfer to create edges to support hard edges and round parts of the mesh. we select all the edges we need then select the chamfer tool we use quad chamfer and put edge tension to zero. chamfer needs a little bit of tweaking here and there but it’s way faster than adding edges loops by hands.

in 3ds Max chamfer modifier is pretty much the industry-standard and a procedural way to sharpen the edges in 3ds max and now it gets constant updates and it one the most powerful tools available for modeling .its a different method than selecting the edges by hand and chamfer or bevel the edges but it’s way faster. in order to get a good result with this chamfer modifier, we can get help from smoothing group and easily chamfer the edges but first, we need to delete triangles especially when it’s endpoint land on the edge loop that needs to be sharp and create 6 sided pole. so before we apply chamfer modifier we have to do some cleanup and remove the edges .when the mesh is clean just for safety net add an extra edge loop on top for getting a better result and finally add the chamfer modifier select quad chamfer operation and set the amount to a low value with one segment and zero tension and in input options choice unsmoothed edges then add turbosmooth modifier.

edge creasing is my favorite method for making the high poly object and I can easily change the sharpness and have much control over the mesh without adding many edge loop but here we need a little bit of work like adding edge loops in the middle of the faces to support the creasing. we start by adding crease set modifier to the mesh then go to edge sub-object level and select all the edges that need to be sharp and harden or we can choose to select between 90 degrees to 55 and creaeset automatically select the edges. now with edges selected create a set and put the value to 1 or if u want the edges to be smoother around the corner lower the value or create multiple sets for different edges and change their creasing values. at the end we add opensubdive with 3 iterations and adding turbosmooth on top of that and we have a high poly mesh with lots of control.
be aware if we go back to editable poly and want to change something and delete or wield any vertices crease tool most likely will not work and will break so if we want to edit the mesh edit it in new edit poly modifier by adding it on top of creaseset modifier .and again we can add crease modifier on top to harden those new edges or we can crease edges indestructibly right in the edit poly modifier as well but its doesn’t have crease sets. Maya handles this issue much better than 3ds max.

The smoothing group is my second favorite method because we can get a good result in a short amount of time with little effort but be aware this method does not exist in Maya to this extend and flexibility. we begin by select the mesh go to polygon sub_object level scroll down go to (polygon: smoothing groups) and set the angle to 30 degrees then select auto smooth. we can adjust the smoothing group by selecting the faces and change it to a number. then add turbosmooth modifier go to surface parameters and chose separate by smoothing groups. then again add another turbo smooth on top and this time uncheck the smoothing group.

using these four methods on this object we end up almost getting the same results with miner differences but again we can tweak it more to get the identical result.
so the question is which method is better ?! well whatever works for you its kinda personal preference and depend on your skills and the mesh itself personally for the small simple shapes I use chamfer modifier and using smoothing groups and for complex shapes, I always use crease tool so I have full control over every edge.

happy modeling cheers 😉

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