Modelling without the Subdivision Modifier [BLENDER]

Hey there!

I am SharkingAround but you can call me Shark.

I am here to teach you how to make high detail and low poly models without using the subdivision modifier (and achieve similar results) in blender.

So why not use the subdivision modifier?

For starters, the subdivision modifier can bring unwanted triangles into your model/s.
for example here:
(image of an old model I have created)

Why Triangles are undesirable

When creating a ‘skinned mesh’ rig/model, deformations will usually look a bit awkward and wrong when tris are present on joints. When creating a ‘skinned mesh’ character quads are most preferable as they A: provide a much smoother deformation and B: promote better topology for easier and cleaner UV unwraps/shading.

Model with triangles


Model with no triangles

The subdivision modifier not only presents the issue of unwanted triangles but also disallows complete control of your model as your manipulation of vertices will not have a full influence on the model.

Model with subdivision modifier

Model without subdivision modifier

As you can see; you have a greater influence on the model and its vertices without using the subdivision modifier.

So how do we achieve similar results without it?
Subdividing and loopcutting

Subdividing and loop cutting are crucial parts of the no-subdivision workflow as they provide you and your model with more geometry to work with and help out greatly with the next step of the tutorial.


to subdivide your model, you will want to enter ‘edit mode’ on your model by pressing TAB on your keyboard. Once you have entered ‘edit mode’ you will want to select the vertices you want to subdivide.

Image of selected vertices

tip: press CTRL + A to select all the vertices on your model

Once you have selected the vertices you want to subdivide, you will want to right-click click with your mouse and select ‘subdivide’

image of subdivide ui

Once you have done that, your model will have an increased amount of vertices and should look similar to this:

Loop cutting

To loop cut your model, you will want to enter ‘edit mode’ on your model by pressing TAB on your keyboard. Once you have entered ‘edit mode’ you will want to press CTRL + R on your keyboard and a yellow line will appear on your model.


Move your mouse to different points on the model until the yellow line is at a desirable location



Use the scroll wheel on your mouse to add/subtract the amount of loops you want to be cut.

once at a desirable location, left click and drag the newly formed loop to a desirable position.

Once in a desirable position, left click on your mouse again and the loop will remain there.

Smooth vertices

The smooth vertices feature in blender is a major part of the no subdivision modifier workflow. When using the smooth vertex feature in blender, your currently selected vertices will be smoothed out and spread evenly across your mesh.

Using the smooth vertex feature

To use the smooth vertex feature; first, you must select the vertices you want to be smoothed

Example of selecting vertecies

Then you press CTRL+V and then select the ‘smooth vertices’ button or you navigate to ‘vertex’ on the hot bar and select 'smooth vertices


UI that pops up when pressing CTRL + V

UI that pops up when you navigate through the Hotbar

once you have selected ‘smooth vertices’ you will notice this has happened to your mesh:

If this has happened then: congratulations, you have made your first steps towards getting rid of the subdivision modifier

Alternatively, if this hasn’t happened to your mesh, you may want to repeat the steps above.

So what now?

Now… lets go practice medicin- (sorry, tf2 reference)

But really, put these newly learnt skills into practice, create models from scratch and never give up!

Thanks for your time, Shark <3

(Keep in mind this is my first tutorial)