Using the gun model I created in class, I'll show the steps for applying smoothing groups. The same principles are used for Organic modeling to transition from more angular areas to softer areas. For this assignment, Smoothing groups will be more important to your hard surface model than the stuffed animal. On the bunny, I modeled on the previous page, there is only 1 smoothing group assigned but to define say the eyes or seams a bit more I might mess with smoothing groups to break it up.
You can see the cylinder I attached to the gun receiver has faceting, which I want to look smooth like a gun barrel, but without adding anymore polygons to the shape.
Smoothing Group Menu
Working in polygon sub-object, scroll down to the menu for Smoothing groups in the Command Panel. You can assign many different groups of Polygons to individual smoothing groups.
Select the Polygons that are to be smoothed.
Click on a smoothing group number, I assigned it to number 2 as the rest of the model is assigned to group 1. Remove group 1 from those polygons by click on it. The result is the barrel with a smooth surface. The Front polygons are assigned to a different smoothing groups so that the edge loop retains its hard edge.
I've selected some other Polygons and assigned them Smoothing groups as well.
Using the steps above I have removed most of faceting on my model. Ultimately this saves on polygons but gives a more realistic look to the receiver.