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Polygonal 3D Character Modeling

Until few years ago, character modelers could only really rely on patches and polygons to develop their models.
As a result, quite a few tools are designed to make character modeling both easier and more powerful.
The Editable Mesh object is a prime example.
Designed to replace the Edit Mesh modifier, Editable Mesh requires less memory to use and also incorporates better Sub-Object selection tools.
The configurable Free Form Deformation modifiers (FFDs) are also new and improved, allowing you to wrap a lattice around a mesh for easier, more organic vertex manipulation.
Lastly, a few improvements have been made to the MeshSmooth modifier to make it easier to round off the corners of a blocky model.
With all these improvements, you might wonder why polygonal modeling is not the best way to go when modeling characters.
After all, if you are already familiar with creating and manipulating polygons, why re-invent the wheel? It all boils down to how much detail you need on your model.
If you are looking for high-resolution, high-detail models, you should try to work with NURBS (Non Rational Uniform B-Splines) as much as possible.
NURBS models are by far the best way to model complex, organic surfaces.
However, if you are looking to build a character that either requires less detail or has components on it that are not NURBS friendly (such as hard edges), then Polygonal models will more than likely work best.
The Editable Mesh object allows you to work on just about any piece of geometry as a Polygonal object.
You can even convert NURBS and Patch surfaces to an editable mesh.
The primary benefit of using Editable Mesh is that is requires little memory and it is probably the most natural way to model with Polygonal objects.
When this object is used in combination with MeshSmooth, the results can be quite amazing.
You can use Editable Mesh and MeshSmooth to create the right half of a character's torso.
Not only will you model the torso, but you will also organize it so that you can properly edit the model later on when you want to deform sections of the mesh.

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