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I've just made a set of armor by using a male body mesh model I downloaded and selecting certain faces from the model and duplicating them to create viable armor pieces.

Since the pieces are just duplicated from the same mesh male model, then it's still part of the same object.

How do I separate the armor piece from the model to make the pieces separate?

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Press P> Selection to separate the selection into a new object:

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From the manual:

Options

Selected
This option separates the selection to a new object.

By Loose Parts
Separates the mesh in its unconnected parts.

By Material
Creates separate mesh objects for each material.

Note that if there are no disconnected parts of the mesh besides the armor, using the By Loose Parts option might be faster.

Also note that you can select linked geometry by:

  • Pressing L with your mouse over geometry will select all geometry connected to the element below your cursor.

  • Pressing CtrlL will select all geometry connected to any selected element(s).

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