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This is a Q&A so I answer it myself. I searched for an answer to this question for ages and didn't find anything so I'll add this here if anybody else struggles with the same issue.

So, how can I merge two edge loops to one? I do not want to connect them (I have seen many answers that suggest to just bridge the edge loops), nor do I want to merge each vertex by hand. I just want each vertex to be merged with the closest opposing vertex.

Also, I find it highly unpractical and in most situations useless to remove doubles after moving the vertices to overlap each other by scaling and moving the edge loops. This is another common suggested answer.

An example situation

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you have a really simple case where both loops are the same size and have the same number of edges, aligned on a common axis, like this: cherry case then you can use the scale function to close the gap to zero.

In the case of the situation shown:

Start by selecting your edge loops (ALT+Right Click on a loop edge)

Set your pivot center to Median Pointmedian point

Enter SZ and "0"

after scaling and pull up the Vertices menu CTRL+V and do 'remove doubles.' This will give you a single mesh with a loop at the equator of the two merged edge loops

-but I suspect you're looking for a procedure for less than optimzed conditions. Something like this:

less than optimal conditions In this case, the only constraint you really need to be sure of is that you have the same number of vertices in both loops.

Assuming you want to merge the two loops at their interpolated center:

Connect the two loops using an edge bridge brige_edges

I know you really didn't want to hear, "bridge edge loops", but bear with me-you will get the results you've described

Add a loop cut (CTRL+R) to the bridge. The loop will be created at the equator of the bridge (right-click to exit) loop cut.

loop cut

Next, select the loops on either end of the bridge and from the delete menu (x ,) select "Edge Loops":edge loops

The result will be that the open edges are merged at the loop cut. interpolated result

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I find the Remove Doubles method to be highly unpractical. The cylinder case that is in the question is just an example and I originally wanted to use this to reduce the quality of a complicated model by merging the edge loops in it. I mentioned that I don't want to hear Bridge Edge Loops as the solution, but combined with a way to actually merge the original edge loops it's acceptable. I just find many people saying that you should bridge the edge loops and that's it. –  Finnboy11 Aug 7 at 9:08
    
Your loop cut method is great because it allows you to better define where the resulting loop will be. I actually didn't know that you can just delete edge loops so that the two nearest loops automatically connect. –  Finnboy11 Aug 7 at 9:13

Both of the solutions below work even when the edge loops are already connected and you just want to merge them.

Solution 1 works only if the amount of vertices in both loops is exactly the same.

  1. Select vertices in both edge loops (*)
  2. Press Ctrl+E and select Bridge Edge Loops
  3. On the bottom of the toolbar (press T if not visible), enable Merge

Solution 2 is easier if the edge loops have an equal vertex count. If edge loops are already connected, skip the steps 1 and 2.

  1. Select vertices in both edge loops (*)
  2. Press Ctrl+E and select Bridge Edge Loops
  3. If there are only quads between the edge loops (vertex counts match), select one of the edges between the edge loops, press Ctrl+E and select Edge Rings. If there are any triangles, manually select the edges between those vertices that you want to be merged together (see the image below).
  4. Press Alt+M and select Collapse

Edge selecting example

(*) To select all vertices in an edge loop, first select a single edge from it. Then press Ctrl+E and select Edge Loops. This works as long as the vertices in your loop don't have more than 4 edges connected to them.

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1  
To select edge loops you can also use Alt+RMB –  cegaton Aug 6 at 16:34
    
Thank you for pointing that out and thank you for correcting my grammar too! –  Finnboy11 Aug 6 at 16:45
    
;) Vertex (singular), vertices (plural) –  cegaton Aug 6 at 16:48

The bridge tool now has a merge toggle. You can enable this after performing the bridge.

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I mentioned this in my own answer to the subject but it's good to have your simple note here. By the way, that doesn't work if the loops don't have an equal amount of vertices. –  Finnboy11 Aug 14 at 21:17
    
As a sidenote, this also works if the edge loops are already connected. –  Finnboy11 Aug 14 at 21:19

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