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enter image description here

As the question asks really. I'm wanting to 3D print this design, but having applied a subdivision surface modifier to smooth out any faceting, I've ended up with a staggering 2 million faces. Obviously, I assume this is way beyond what I can feasibly expect my printer to handle.

As you can see,there are several complex shapes which need the modifier to increase quality. I've tried a decimate/un-subdivide modifier - but while this does lower the poly count, it just takes me right back to before I added subdivide surface. Kind of pointless.

Given the countless excellent 3D print files out there (made using Blender too), there has to be a better way that I'm missing?

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  • $\begingroup$ To be honest, I've printed models with more than 2 million polys... Not sure if it's ideal, but you can do it Also how big is the model going to be, and are there any overlapping sections? You model should be only a single integral mesh, otherwise you'll jBs print errors. Alternatively, seperate out sections, and print the individually. If you use the decimate modification, and use the collapse or planar methods instead of the un-subdivide method, this might help a bit too $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ That's at least comforting that it's perhaps possible. Most of the detail on the shield face is floating - I was hoping a remesh might combined the whole lot. But it's closely matched that (from what I've read) a resin printer will effectively glue the separate meshes together. My main issue is the file size is circa 277mb, and I'd read 100mb is just about the max it can handle. $\endgroup$
    – Aethon
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ A resin printer won't like having floating sections, as it still has to slice your mesh $\endgroup$
    – James
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ The assumption about your printer not being able to handle it might not be correct. There is no reason for that. The 3d model is sliced in slicer software and converted to a series of commands for the printer. Vast majority of 3d printers only execute commands and have nothing to do with the 3d model. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ The general answer of how to reduce poly count but retain quality is, care about topology. That's why a remesh isn't a great idea: you already have better topo than a not-very-smart algorithm will give you. For it to match your quality, a simple algorithm will have to use more verts than you do. We can see on your pic that some areas have very high vertex density-- too high for us to make out the topology on these sections. The topology in these places can probably be improved, but we can't say how without seeing what it is. Pics of the unsubdivided wire would be of some use. $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Commented Mar 16 at 21:48

2 Answers 2

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Maybe try the Remesh tool (in the Object Data panel). Try first the Quad option, click on QuadriFlow Remesh and in the pop-up window choose the amount of faces you want to end up with. It may take time to calculate:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for pointing this tool out! It hasn't quite solved my problem, but it's far better than the remesh modifier I had been fiddling with! It seems when I use this tool, it comes out with quite a few deformations - in fact, the low-poly shape before the sub-surf modifier is higher quality. And that was me trying to reduce 44,000 down to 22,000. Is there something I'm missing regarding the algorithm keeping the shape intact? $\endgroup$
    – Aethon
    Commented Aug 19, 2021 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ did you keep a version before applying the Subdivision Surface modifier? You should always. Also, I would try un-subdivide as you did. X > Limited Dissolve may give good result for some objects but I doubt it will be good in your case, it will give bad topology... $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ Oh yes - I'm careful to keep multiple saves for just this reason. The lower poly version is adequate, but has facets along the shield rim that I wanted to smooth out. I can appreciate that a balance has to be struck between poly count and detail - I just can't seem to find it. I've tried limited dissolve, but as you say it ends up with some janky topology. $\endgroup$
    – Aethon
    Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 12:09
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Your object has some components with much higher density than others, but this is all one object. So you might have to control your selection for Unsubdivide, for example.

If these are separate mesh islands, you can select one vert on a component and press Ctrl + L and Blender will Select Linked and should select only the current mesh island.

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