Ngon vs Quad

Ngons vs Quads in Blender – The Endless Debate

It won’t take long in your blender-learning journey before you come across the question – Which is better, mesh made of ngons, quads, and Tris or mesh made of purely of quads only?

Four identical shapes. Which has a better mesh? Answer: It Depends!

A brief search on the web reveals hundreds of good articles propounding one or the other. I list here three articles which I think have great value:

The Argument for Quads

Wayne Maxwell – CG Obsession.com

The Argument for Ngons

Josh Gambrell – Blenderbros.com

The Definitive Argument

Gleb Alexandrov – Creativeshrimp.com

And what does ScruffyFluffy say?

First of all, I would never dream of disputing anything that these three imminent teachers have to say. I agree with all of them. Which of course doesn’t help anyone! I would simply say:

  • When professionals in the industry sometimes respond to this debate, the majority prefer a workflow that produces a mesh made of quads. I would not presume to guess whether this is because the “big boys” learned their trade a while ago when Ngons were not handled very gracefully by the dominant 3D software applications or whether it is a hard-won bitter experience.
  • It depends on your end objective. Modelling for games, for example, usually requires a low-poly mesh and a high-poly mesh used for texture baking. That low-poly mesh should not have Ngons in it, or you are looking for trouble. The modelling of primarily flat surfaces like architectural modelling, on the other hand, can usually happily be made of Ngons.
  • I would suggest a workflow which combines the advantages of both:

Here is an approach with the added advantage of a mesh quality cross-check. Create your mesh with Ngons, Quads, and Tris. Good modelling is an art form. Until you get good at modelling, just make sure it looks as good as you can get it. It obviously shouldn’t have any errors like overlapping vertices and unnecessary duplicate faces. If you have used Booleans with Ngons, you need to apply modifiers periodically and fix the resulting errors and artefacts. Then you want to convert the mesh into quads

A Re-mesh addon

Once the object is complete (or you think it is), you convert it into quads using a re-mesher addon. There are quite a few available. I suggest Quad Remesh (paid addon) or Instant mesh (free but older). A re-mesher will analyse the mesh and will convert the entire mesh into quads. Any errors and problems in your mesh will immediately show up. Undo the re-mesh and fix the problem. Then re-mesh it with the least number of polygons possible without affecting the shape, and there you have a quad mesh that can be exported with confidence.

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