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Box Modeling: The 3D Modeling Technique

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Box Modeling is a technique that is most popular with beginners. It can help you created detailed models in an organized and structured manner. Box modeling can also be a great way to sketch out and try ideas early on. This is mainly because box modeling is really quick and efficient. Box Modeling works by starting out with a cube and blocking out the overall shape and form of the thing you want to model in box-like shapes. The reason for choosing cubes (or box-like) shapes is because cubes are easy to manipulate. They only have 8 vertices in total and it’s generally easier to create box-like shapes than rounded circular shapes. Box modeling mostly utilizes tools such as extrusion and loop cuts.

You first block out the overall shape and form of the object you want to model. You start with a cube and extrude faces out. You then reshape these faces to fit the shape of the thing you want to model. Reshaping can involve changing the location, rotation and scale of the vertices/edges/faces.

Once you have your “blocky” object created, you then refine the model and get it looking closer to your desired object. Remember, the more detailed your object is, the more vertices it’s going to need. You can do this via extrusion or loop cuts. Loop cuts can be an effective way to add detail and help further shape your object.

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Box Modeling stages            

Don’t ever feel the need to purposely add in more vertices in the hope that it will give you super detailed eye-catching models. It simply won’t. Only add the amount of vertices that are necessary for your model. A highly detailed character for a movie would need far more vertices than a simple table for instance. A simple table would not look like a super table if you throw in thousands more vertices at it.

So that is basically the process of box modeling. You start out with a cube and block out the main shape and form as if you were working with a lego set. Then, you go and refine the blocky lego model by adding loop cuts, extrusions and reshaping them accordingly. Finally, you may add modifiers like the SubSurf modifiers to smooth things out and create more detailed renders.

Box modeling is best used to make hard surfaced objects like desks, doors, TV screens, sofas, furniture, buildings, and so on. You can model cars, houses, streets and so on.

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You can also use box modeling to create more complex objects like animals and humans. Both are the same thing, I know. However, things can get complicated if you want to animate them, since topology becomes important. You can learn about topology here.

That’s it! I hope this post has helped you. Later on, I will add some more tutorials to this site which utilize box modeling so that you get hands-on experience as a box modeller!