When modeling in Blender, models can sometimes have too many polygons, gobbling computer memory and adding an undesirable level of complexity. In this article, we show you how to reduce polygons in Blender.
Object modifiers in Blender are properties that can be applied to an object. What makes them different from a tool or an add-on is that they change objects without permanently modifying them. That’s because a modifer acts as a feature on top of the base mesh. Then you can either delete the modifer to remove the changes or apply it to integrate the changes into the mesh.
For example, in the animation above, the modifiers tab — the one with the wrench icon — is already selected in the properties editor. With the monkey mesh selected, a modifier is added (subdivision surface, in this case) to change the object. Subdivision surface increases the poly count, smoothening the object.
Notice that the object can still be edited and viewed in the new state, though the modifier has not been applied. Indeed, the modifier is instead deleted, thus the object goes back to its original state.
Well, that’s how to increase the poly count. But how does one, in Blender, reduce polygons? Let’s take a look!
The easiest and most common way of lowering an object’s poly count is using the decimate modifier.
In this example, we’ll use a properties toolbox to the right of a 3D editor. Next, we have to add the modifier.
Now we’re ready to start changing the values. Using the decimate modifier, there are two methods in Blender to reduce polygons in a mesh: edge collapsing or un-subdividing.
Edge collapsing works by selecting edges (where each edge is a line between two vertices) and converting them into vertices. Blender does this automatically by calculating which lines it can turn into points without changing the shape of the object too much.
This method is the best if your main goal is to get rid of extra polygons on a complex object. However, it’s not the best way to keep the object’s original shape.
This is perhaps the easiest method to reduce polygons in Blender, due to its one and only control: the iteration count.
As the name implies, this is the opposite of subdividing. Put simply, un-subdividing does two things: It deletes an edge between two faces, and then it makes a new face where the previous two used to be. Because Blender simultaneously performs several other operations to keep the shape of the object, this method works best if you want to keep the initial shape as accurately as possible, but with less faces and edges.
On the other hand, this method does not effectively reduce vertices, if at all. If that’s your goal, use the previous method, preferably with the triangulate option enabled.
After you’ve used either method, and you’re content with the result, simply click Apply on the left-hand side of the modifier.
This rebuilds the mesh, using the settings you customized, and deletes the old mesh. As shown in the example, once the apply button is clicked, the modifier disappears, because the changes are integrated into the object. Of course, if you hit Apply accidentally, or if you change your mind, the “Undo” command will still work, provided you didn’t do anything in Blender after clicking Apply.
If you decide that you don’t like the results of your object before you apply the modifier, you can simply click the “X” in the top-right corner of the modifier to delete it. This removes the modifier without applying it, so your object goes back to the way it was before.
Presto! Now you have an object with less polygons to fool around with, allowing you do more with the object in a more simple way. Plus, it takes up less storage space and RAM. A win-win situation, both for you and your computer!
License: The text of "Blender – How to Reduce Polygons" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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