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Noob question - in ver 2.78 when I hit 'apply' on a boolean difference modifier the properties of that modification in the outliner disappear - it's as though there's no record of the modification. The default name can be changed from 'Boolean' to whatever but once applied it all just disappears. If one makes a mistake it can't be changed - except perhaps by 'undo-ing'. Am I missing something? What's the point?

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    $\begingroup$ The idea behind modifiers is to work with a non-destructive workflow. You can enable or disable modifiers at will if you change your mind or want to have the object be affected differently, but once you hit the apply button the transformation becomes permanent. Blender does not save a history of how the file changes other than a number of steps for "undo". Once you save, and re-open the file there is no way to trace back whatever steps happened on the previous session. $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Jan 31 '17 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks - I guess I'm too used to working in apps that have a history to recycle back through. $\endgroup$
    – BlackBooks
    Feb 1 '17 at 1:20
  • $\begingroup$ Ever worked with an image editor, like Photoshop? If you flatten the layers you can't edit them individually anymore. Applying modifiers is sort of like flattening layers. The effect they have becomes permanent. $\endgroup$
    – Mentalist
    Feb 1 '17 at 8:58
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The idea is that you don't apply a modifier until you need to (if at all). It is not uncommon to never apply the modifiers if you don't need to directly access their result in edit mode. You can leave modifiers in the modifier 'stack', which allows you to turn them on or off, re-order them and change their settings. Once you apply the modifier, any changes the modifier makes are written directly (and permanently) to the mesh.

As you say, the only way to undo the effects after applying a modifier is to undo, restore a previous version of the file (if you have one) or restore a previous version of the mesh (if you have one).

Because applying a modifier is 'destructive' (to the original object) it is not uncommon to either not apply the modifiers or to keep a copy of the original mesh on a spare layer if they do need to be applied.

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  • $\begingroup$ I didn't realize that modifiers didn't have to be applied "if at all" - I'm a little confused by that so I'll have to go back and practice to figure it out completely. I'm just a beginner :-) Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – BlackBooks
    Feb 1 '17 at 1:27
  • $\begingroup$ To temporarily disable modifiers please read: blender.stackexchange.com/a/70070/1853 $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Feb 1 '17 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still a little lost. I went back and found that if I create a helix using the screw modifier I get what I wanted without 'applying' the modification (i.e. the result of the modification - the helix - appeared). When I try to punch out a hole in a solid (e.g a cylinder through a cube) I don't get the result (ie no hole) unless I actually apply the modification (i.e no hole appears until I apply). Am I doing it wrong? $\endgroup$
    – BlackBooks
    Feb 2 '17 at 1:13
  • $\begingroup$ I think you're getting into the realm of needing to ask a new, separate question (as I think your initial question has been answered), preferably with images to illustrate the problem and maybe even a blend file uploaded to blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com $\endgroup$ Feb 2 '17 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ OK thanks for your help. I'll ask another question. $\endgroup$
    – BlackBooks
    Feb 3 '17 at 3:09

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