Creating Subdivision Surfaces


You can create subdivision surfaces by generating a new object or by applying a geometry approximation property.

You can also duplicate based on geometry approximation and subdivide selected polygons locally. For a discussion about the differences between these methods see Methods for Subdividing Surfaces.

Generating a New Subdivision Surface Object

This method creates a new polygonal mesh object by subdividing and averaging the selected one.

NoteMake sure that immediate mode is off. Otherwise, there will be no modeling relation and the original low-resolution object will not control the high-resolution one.

To generate a subdivision surface object

  1. Select a polygon mesh object.

  2. Choose Create Poly. Mesh Subdivision from the Model toolbar. A new object is created and the Mesh Subdivide With Center property editor opens.

  3. Set the options as desired:

Transferring Attributes

Use the buttons under Transfer Attributes in the Mesh Subdivide With Center property editor to transfer clusters and cluster properties — such as materials, texture UVs, vertex colors, weight maps, and shape sources (cluster keys) — from the input object to the subdivided object. For more information, see Attribute Transfer [Modeling and Deformation Basics].

Managing Input Objects

Whenever you generate a new object from other input objects, you can manage the inputs, for example, hide or delete them. See Managing Generator Inputs [Modeling and Deformation Basics].

Subdividing with Geometry Approximation

This method does not create a new object; instead, it creates an alternative subdivision geometry that is used for rendering.

To apply subdivisions using geometry approximation

  1. Apply or edit the Geometry Approximation property on an explorer as described in Applying and Editing Geometry Approximation [Scene Elements].

  2. On the Polygon Mesh page, set the subdivision levels to 1 or more. A value of 0 corresponds to no subdivisions. The subdivision level is described in more detail in Subdivision Levels.

  3. The subdivision rule is set in the Polygon Mesh property page. See Subdivision Rules.


You can also select a polygon mesh (or any of its components) and press the + and – keys on the numeric keypad to increase or decrease the subdivisions. This affects both the OGL Level and the Render Level.

These keys automatically apply a local geometry approximation property on the object if none exists yet.

Duplicating Using Geometry Approximation

You can duplicate a polygon mesh based on its geometry approximation property. This creates a new high-resolution object that preserves the materials, textures, and vertex colors of the original. Like other forms of duplication, there is no modeling relation between the original and the copy. This works only with Catmull-Clark subdivision.

To duplicate using geometry approximation

  1. Select a polygon mesh that has been subdivided using the geometry approximation method.

  2. Choose Edit Duplicate/Instantiate Duplicate Using Geometry Approx. A new polygon mesh is created based on the geometry approximation settings of the original.

Subdividing Polygons Locally

This method adds an operator to the stack of a polygon mesh object and modifies its topology.

NoteTexture UVs and properties are subdivided linearly with no smoothing.

To subdivide polygons locally

  1. Select some polygons on a polygon mesh object.

  2. Choose Modify Poly. Mesh Local Subdivision from the Model toolbar.

  3. Set the options as desired.