How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in 3D Modelling

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Strictly dressed office employees working with digital tablet and computers at the architectural bureau. Concept of an architectural business and digital designing

It’s astounding to find out that the first three-dimensional (3D) models were designed a few decades back. At that time, the typical modelling crew consisted of only computer engineers who worked on data analysis using mathematical models. The whole process is said to be only exclusive to industry insiders that not that many people know about the process. 

But in recent times, the advancement of technology is believed to have opened the doors of opportunity to anyone interested in the topic of 3D modelling. Now, as long as you have a computer and good spatial analysis skills, you can perfect your way through 3D sculpting with time and continued practice. 

That said, many beginners in this field tend to make modelling mistakes that render their work shoddy. For this reason, a newbie 3D modeller like you should resolve to keep learning and refine modelling skills to prevent encountering possible errors. By learning, you’ll also be in the know of the common challenges you’re likely to encounter in your 3D modelling journey. 

This article discusses four of such pitfalls that even some seasoned professionals commit and how to avoid them. Read on for details:

  1. Mesh Errors

A mesh model is a polygon consisting of faces, edges, and vertices. When combined, these polygons form the final shape of your object. If you create irregular meshes, you’ll ruin your final image by the disproportionality. Some common mesh errors include:  

  • Self-intersecting surfaces;
  • Missing triangles that form holes on your mesh surfaces;
  • Backward triangles; and
  • Duplicate surfaces.

To ensure that your image has mesh consistency, you may incorporate 3D mesh generation software in your modelling. Such software helps you come up with meshes that accurately match the intended design. It also helps reduce the mesh errors you may make when modelling. Consequently, you’ll end up creating smooth 3D models. 

  • Excess Subdivisions Early In The Modeling

The beginning stages of modelling are fundamental as they form the framework for your design. For this reason, you must build a smooth foundation. However, a common mistake many modellers fall into is adding too many unnecessary polygons, thus making too many subdivisions early in their sculpting process. 

It’s said that the higher the number of subdivisions there are, the more difficult it is to make changes without tampering with the required proportions. Consequently, you may end up with a complex and uneven surface.

To fix this issue, start the foundation with fewer polygons. And as you advance in building up the model, you can add more geometrical figures to construct your topology. In the end, you’ll have a well-defined design that’s free from irregularities.

  • Choosing The Wrong Proportions

Proportions are the bedrock of all high-quality 3D structures. Any irregularities with proportions can make your model deformed. If you set the wrong measurements for the object under design, you’ll end up with an irregular form. This is especially prevalent in detailed structures such as faces. For this reason, you’d want to make proportionate designs for your final sculpt. 

To remedy the disproportionality, train your eyes to compare the dimensions of different images while estimating their depth. If you’re working on concept art, you can be allowed to make some image magnifications. Yet don’t exaggerate as the art will become unrealistic.

You could break down your image into basic shapes and adjust them according to the concept art. Alternatively, you could open your digital model and concept art that you’re to create in an image viewer software. Then, align the images and compare them to spot any differences. Once you notice any discrepancy, you can refine your model to match the concept art. 

  • Misunderstanding The Topology

The topology of your model is its edge structure and distribution. In other words, it’s the organization of your meshes. It’s always important to get your topology right as any irregularities in the topology will affect the smoothness of your final image. 

To make your image finer, run cleanups on your final model and omit any intersecting surfaces. By doing so, you’ll also be enhancing the artwork and making it more realistic. To understand the topological topic better, you may also:

  • Improve your skills in using the common mesh tools for 3D modelling;
  • Know when to use N-gons, triangles, and quads;
  • Understand the edge flow;
  • Use MatCaps;
  • Know when to use creases and when to hold edges;
  • Keep it simple; and
  • Beware of duplicates.

With these tips, you can make a smooth, blending topology for your final image surface. 


3D modelling isn’t the easiest of endeavours. But if you’re familiar with the basics of 3D, you can build on from that level and grasp recommended tips to design a good model. And with time, you may also grow to be a modelling guru.

Through constant training, you can avoid common pitfalls such as mesh errors, excessive subdivisions early in your modelling, choosing wrong proportions, and misunderstanding your topology. Also, make use of sophisticated modelling software, as well as a cybersecurity management tool, that can detect these errors and rectify them accordingly.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.

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