Using the B-Mesh for architectural modeling in Blender 3D
A new system to manage the way Blender 3D deals with Mesh objects is in development right now, and it`s called B-Mesh. Besides the control options that this new system will introduce to Blender, when it`s fully implemented, one of the highlights of the system will be the support for N-Gons. If you don`t know what an N-Gon is, a simple definition is that an N-Gon is a face with more than four sides. In Blender we can only use faces with either three or four sides for Mesh objects.
For some artists this is a real annoying limitation, because it makes the whole modeling process a bit harder. Every time a cut or division is made, to a face connected to other quad faces, it may result in triangular faces. In my opinion, with no N-Gon support we have to improve our skills as modelers and end out with more organized topology for all our models. With the support for N-Gons I fear that all new users will end up by creating a messy topology for most of their projects.
If you want to take a look on how B-Mesh works, there is a test build available at graphicall.org, the build is Windows only, and it is already using the Blender 2.50 core. Before you try to use it, there are a few important things to remember:
- It`s not possible yet to model in Blender 2.50
- The short cut keys are different for B-Mesh (here is a list of the keys for B-Mesh)
- Create a model in Blender 3D 2.49 and open it in the B-Mesh build, but don`t use important files, since it`s a test build there is a risk that the file is damaged.
How B-Mesh and the support for N-Gons can help architectural visualization artists?
To show how the support for N-Gons can change the way we create models for architecture, I have created a simple wall model and we will compare the representation in Blender 2.49 and with the B-Mesh System.
This is the model represented only with quad faces in Blender 2.49. Notice that we have to keep the mesh organized, in order to only use quads:
Now, the same model with the face converted to use N-Gons. This is a single Mesh and we have now two big faces using N-Gons. It will end up by creating a clean mesh with fewer edges.
To convert faces to N-Gons, just select the faces and press the X key and choose Dissolve and the faces will be converted to N-Gons.
What about you? Do you think that N-Gons will add value to the Blender 3D modeling system? I do believe that it will make Blender friendlier to artists used to work on other 3d packages. If you want to know more about the project, visit the B-Mesh development blog.