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Box modeling is a technique in 3D modeling where the model is created by modifying primitive shapes in a way to create a "rough draft" of the final model. This is in contrast with the edge modeling method, where the modeler edits individual vertices. While a primary function of box modeling involves extruding and scaling the flat planes that make up a model, called faces, another, more prominent feature of this art style gives it a second, less rudimentary name of subdivision modeling.

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Subdivision

Subdivision modeling is derived from the idea that as a work is progressed, should the artist want to make his work appear less sharp, or "blocky", each face would be divided up into smaller, more detailed faces (usually into sets of four). However, more experienced box modelers manage to create their model without subdividing the faces of the model. Basically, box modeling is broken down into the very basic concept of polygonal management.

Quads

Quadrilateral faces, commonly named "quads", are the fundamental entity in box modeling. Obviously, if an artist were to start with a cube, the artist would have six quad faces to work with before extrusion. While most applications for three-dimensional art provide abilities for faces up to any size, results are often more predictable and consistent when working with quads. This is so because of the fact if you were to draw an X connecting the corner vertices of a quad, the surface normal is nearly always the same. We say nearly because, when a quad is something other than a perfect parallelogram (such as a rhombus or trapezoid), the surface normal would be different. Also, a quad subdivides into two or four triangles cleanly, making it easier to prepare the model for software that can only handle triangles.

Advantages and disadvantages

Box modeling is a modeling method that is quick and easy to learn. It is also appreciably faster than placing each point individually. However, it is difficult to add high amounts of detail to models created using this technique without practice.

Box modeling in web design

Box modeling is also a technique used in web design to lay out the various elements of a web page before the design is implemented in HTML or XHTML.

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