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I'm new to blender and digital modeling, and am trying to get a feel for the sweet spot for how many edges I need in a mesh. If my understanding is correct, I need edges only when defining a boundary between separate faces. I've attached a screenshot below (part of a simple sword mesh), in which I've highlighted a few edges that seem unnecessary. Is there any advantage to keeping these edges or can they simply be discarded?

It seems there's a disadvantage in that with excess edges, things like smoothing faces become unnecessarily complicated.

enter image description here

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Don't blindly erase edges just because they seem useless, you should instead be focusing on overall topology.

A good mesh will maintain a predominantly quad based flow with 4 sided faces as much as possible.

Triangles and NGons are to be avoided above all, they are bad for animations and cause trouble with texturing.

This good topology guide may help.

Bottom line is: You can never get away with just vertices, edges are there for a reason, and only erase them in the process of modeling, never in the process of forced cleanup.

EDIT: About Edges D,E,F, those yes, should be erased, but again you should not be focusing on the edges themselves but the internal geometry.

Those are non manifold faces, (could not be constructed in a real world model) and the edges belong to more than two faces at a time. That whole loop of faces should be removed entirely.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, I'll take a look at the article you linked. How about edges D, E, and F, which are internal and aren't bound any faces? $\endgroup$ – CaptainStiggz Mar 28 '17 at 3:19
  • $\begingroup$ Missed that detail about your image, yes, those should be removed, however not just the edges but the whole face loop. Answer updated above. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Mar 28 '17 at 3:35

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