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Thoughts on Boolean Modeling?

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I'm watching this video by Game Institute about using the Boolean modifier to objects in 3ds Max. Which seems really cool, but as he mentions, a ton of errors have to be fixed. now he was doing this example with a box and a cylinder, which is a fairly simple example. But in real life modeling for work, it would be much more advanced, correct? And yet, if it's more advanced, then it means time has to be dedicated to fixing those polys vertex by vertex. So do you guys use Boolean when you are modeling or do stay away from it's dark arcane? 

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If you intent to use the Boolean you should use it in the early stages of the mesh, when it's still only a few polygons and is easy to clean.

This means modeling the parts that have holes in them first or as a separate piece then attaching it to the rest.

 

It's also important to constantly clean the mesh as you progress, otherwise you wouldn't be able to build complex models as the amount of loop cuts keep increasing.

 

 

You won't be using the Boolean as much as you think, once you know what the structure of a hole looks like it will be faster to make them yourself than using tools to make it.

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If you intent to use the Boolean you should use it in the early stages of the mesh, when it's still only a few polygons and is easy to clean.

This means modeling the parts that have holes in them first or as a separate piece then attaching it to the rest.

 

It's also important to constantly clean the mesh as you progress, otherwise you wouldn't be able to build complex models as the amount of loop cuts keep increasing.

 

 

You won't be using the Boolean as much as you think, once you know what the structure of a hole looks like it will be faster to make them yourself than using tools to make it.

Interesting; so you don't recommend the vertex cleaner script that Airborn_Studios was referring to? It looked fairly cool.

Also, why don't you use them in advanced models? Surely it has more need than just base meshs. 

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From what I hear, 3DS kinda sucks at booleans (as you've already mentioned), but there's other tools around which are much better at them. One artist that I worked with was recently gushing over Modo, due to it's boolean tools.

 

A quick google turned up this plugin, which does watertight/clean booleans on subdiv models smile.png A tool like that lets you perform quite advanced operations while maintaining a clean surface, and then exporting it to a watertight polygonal mesh right at the end:

https://vimeo.com/82778571

 

Level editing for Quake-derived and Unreal-derived games (that includes COD's and Half-Life's!) have often used boolean modelling to create the world geometry within their own level editing tools... However, the Quake-derived level compilers were usually limited to boolean additions/unions, and did not support boolean subtraction (Some editors added support as a destructive operator, but were usually unreliable and required a lot of clean-up).

Edited by Hodgman

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The only direct use as part of a final model I would think would be something static, which is easy to create textures for(maybe single color, or simple stuff, as the UVs would be ugly.  It can also be something to consider when the model itself isn't the final product, rather some sort of render is, and if the model needs to be made quickly, and you are pretty sure it won't get any re-use.  Otherwise, quality geometry is more important.

 

Now, boolean as used "during" the modelling process(not to get the final result) is useful at times.  It could be used for example to smash together some primitives with speed in mind to get the shape you want, regardless of quality and poly count, and then retopo that yourself with the quality and polys you want.  This is of course similar to the manual work that others speak of when they refer to fixing boolean results, but it can come in handy with models that are built of several primitives attached together.

 

One thing to consider, even if it may be considered a sort of "taboo."  Not all models, and not all game engines require models to be water tight.  Most render engines no longer require it.  And some models, especially the ones that aren't animated, can get away with having self-intersecting geometry.  The cases where you would need to avoid it is anything that would cause z-fighting, but that is to be avoided even with separate objects that aren't part of the same model.

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we use them day in and day out on our productions such as the latest halo, in various stages of the workflow, blockout, basemesh, detailing, you name it.

Some times you need a certain amount of geometry to properly use it, especially sharp cuts into curved surfaces.

 

Sometimes bools are the right solution, some times they are not, it is really case dependent, just play with them, learn how they work :)

 

mesh fusion might look good at first glance, once you have to work further with it, especially outside of modo you are screwed, while classical polygeometry stays flexible from start to finish. yes it takes a little longer initially but it is easy to mainain as it is way simpler geometry.

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Interesting; so you don't recommend the vertex cleaner script that Airborn_Studios was referring to? It looked fairly cool.

Yes, even a expert will create extra vertices with out knowing. Having a script like the one above will allow for fast cleaning, just don't delete some of your work.

 


Also, why don't you use them in advanced models? Surely it has more need than just base meshs. 

If you added a Boolean into a complex piece with many loop cuts, didn't contain the mesh with the proper topology, you would create hundreds of new vertices at the points where the two meshes intersected.

 

However it isn't like it's never used on advanced meshes, it's just not recommended.

In hard-edge modeling you could use the Boolean to create holes on flat surfaces where topology doesn't matter. If you isolated the correct mesh for holes on a complex model you could still use Boolean with out much cleanup.

 

It's often simpler to just create a hole rather than using a Boolean tool. However if you prefer the Boolean tool use it, having some kind of edge that sets you apart from other modelers isn't a bad idea.

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If you added a Boolean into a complex piece with many loop cuts, didn't contain the mesh with the proper topology, you would create hundreds of new vertices at the points where the two meshes intersected.

 

proper topology, thats the key here, the extra vertices are easily cleaned away, by script or by hand.

Booleans are not bound to simple meshes, and there are much more complex cases than just holes you can use them on.

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