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Chapter 6. Formats > Subdivision Surfaces

Subdivision Surfaces

The smooth surfaces of NURBS are highly appealing, but so is the flexible topology of polygons. Subdivision surfaces offer both of these characteristics, providing an innovative mix of technologies.

Flexible Topology Plus Hierarchy

The basic rules for polygon mesh topology also apply to subdivision surface mesh topology. Subdivision meshes must avoid being nonmanifold, having lamina topology (faces glued on top of each other), having inconsistent normals, and so on (as described on the first page of the “Polygonal Modeling” section of the online Maya documentation). Essentially, the mesh must be consistently oriented and free of superfluous data. This is somewhat more restrictive than the requirements of polygonal meshes, but only in ways that produce a mesh with higher integrity.


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