Polygon and spline modeling are two of the most commonly used approaches to creating 3D objects like a 3D configurator. Both options are capable of creating high-quality three-dimensional models, but what are the differences between them?

In the following article we would like to give you a better understanding of the process of developing digital elements. Before we begin, a few small things.

polygon modeling NURBS

First, it is important to understand that 3D models are first created as surfaces and are more about numbers than artistry. They can be created automatically by scanning real objects with a 3D scanner, by converting a 2D image to a 3D object (the CAD method), or manually. Polygon modeling is a way of not automatically creating a three-dimensional element that consists of connecting points in space, called nodes, into a 2D surface and then combining and moving the surfaces into an “envelope”. Spline (or NURBS) modeling creates contours of objects with mathematically precise and complex curves, similar to pitching pegs for a tent, and then creates surfaces around them. And finally, there are 3D sculptures – a new method of creating three-dimensional objects in which solid digital geometric shapes are formed into objects such as clay.

Once created using 3D modeling software, the model can be used in a variety of ways: creating video games, CGI film production, 3D printing, or simply visualizing ideas. When 3D objects are used in motion, their texture quality must be lower to reduce CPU memory consumption. In static product rendering, quality will be at its best. The main difference between polygon and spline modeling is that the former is used because of its flexibility in creating video games and the latter because of the level of detail it achieves in movies, architecture, and product design. By explaining the basics of 3D modeling and the differences between the ways to avoid it, we come to the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Polygon Modeling.


  • Detailed surfaces can only be achieved with thousands of polygons.
  • Paint FX cannot be used with single polygons

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  • Easy to use, move and combine.
  • Polygons have technically infinite sides, so it is possible to produce surfaces of any size.
  • Supplied with texture maps for easier editing.
  • Many polygons can be modeled as a single surface.

Spline modeling.


  • Meshes have only four sides to work with.
  • Surfaces cannot be fixed.
  • Has no texture maps.


  • The resulting models are smoother than polygon modeling analogues.
  • Can be used in conjunction with Paint FX.
  • Requires less data storage space.
  • Easier to translate into different programs.
  • Can be used to create patches for models, resulting in more organic, detailed, and realistic objects.

We hope that this explanation was instructive. Neither approach is superior to the other – what is ultimately good for you depends on what your company produces. Since we specialize in 3D product visualization, we are happy to provide you with high-quality promotional materials for your products.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this topic, please feel free to contact our experts in our forum.

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