Making circular edge loops in a 3D modelling tool

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One of the things you’ll commonly have to do in any 3d application is making round edge loops in a mesh. Traditionally we’ve learned to create a circle shape, put it above the mesh where you want the circle, and cut it in manually (with the snapping tool set to vertices):

1

This is quite a cumbersome process, taking up a lot of time because you have to position the circle right and after you cut them in you still have to fix your mesh. (we’ll make all quads in this example, since this was a hi-poly model)

 

Earlier last year our 3d teacher casually showed us a new trick and it’s safe to say our class was mindblown alltogether.

To make perfect circles loops in a mesh we’ll use the chamfer tool. The chamfer tool will replace a vertex by a new face with its edges connected to that vertex. It will basically lacerate a vertex. That sounds a bit confusing if you haven’t done it before right? Just try it, it’s really fun, just select a vertex and use the chamfer tool. Below’s a screenshot of where the setting is located in 3DSMax’s vertex mode.

2You’ll notice that the face that gets added depends on the amount of edges connected to the selected vertex.  That’s great, because that means that if you connect 8 or more edges to that vertex, you’ll get a nice circle, with a really nice edge loop alltogether. It’s a really powerful feature, way better than cutting the circle in yourself and manually retopologizing your mesh so you have nice quads or tris. Below’s a small example.

3arrowssmallThis workflow is a real time-saver, and should work in many 3d applications.

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