Pushing Vertices

A mesh consists of a set of vertices that are connected by edges. Edges connect to each other to form either three- or four-sided faces. (Chapter 4 covers this in more detail, along with how to work with each of these mesh building blocks.) When you tab into Edit mode on a mesh, you can manipulate that mesh's vertices (or edges or faces) with the same basic grab (G), rotate (R), and scale (S) tools that work on all objects, as well as the very handy extrude (E) function. These actions form the basis for 3D modeling, so much so that some modelers like to refer to themselves as vert pushers because sometimes it seems that all they do is move little points around on a screen until things look right.

Of course, modeling has more to it. You actually have a choice between two primary methodologies when it comes to modeling:

  • Box modeling: As its name indicates, box modeling starts with a rough shape — typically a box or cube. By adding edges and moving them around, the artist forms that rough shape into the desired model. Bit by bit, you refine the model, adding more and more detail with each pass. This technique tends to appeal to people with a background in sculpture because the processes are similar. They're both primarily subtractive in nature because you start with a rough shape and bring about more detail by cutting into it and reducing that shape's volume. If you need to add more volume to the mesh outside of the initial box shape, you select a set of edges or ...

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