Meshes (or, more specifically, polygon meshes) are perhaps the most popular and the default model type for most 3D programs. You create them by placing polygonal faces next to one another so the edges are joined. The polygons can then be smoothed from face to face during the rendering process. Using meshes, you can create almost any 3D object, including simple primitives such as a cube or a realistic dinosaur.
Meshes have lots of advantages. They are common, intuitive to work with, and supported by a large number of 3D software packages. In this chapter, you learn how to create and edit mesh and poly objects.
Before continuing, you need to understand exactly what a Poly object is, how it differs from a regular mesh object, and why it is the featured modeling type in Max. To understand these issues, you'll need a quick history lesson. Initially, Max supported only mesh objects and all mesh objects had to be broken down into triangular faces. Subdividing the mesh into triangular faces ensured that all faces in the mesh object were coplanar, which prevented any hiccups with the rendering engine.
Over time, the rendering engines have been modified and upgraded to handle polygons that weren't subdivided (or whose subdivision was invisible to the user), and doing such actually makes the model ...