Select Smartly

Hey there! Today I thought I'd share with you a little technique I use when selecting stuffs.

The basic idea is that you can cut down on the mouse movements (that are generally slower than key presses) and replace most of them with instantaneous and almost reflexive hotkey pushes. Most of it is based on “convert selection” functionality. Here's what I mean:

To select this thing you'd generally waste around 2-3 seconds. You could do 6 mouse clicks, go and toggle planar selection or just drag a rectangular marquee given that you have “toggle back facing” checked.
I usually do it like this:

1 mouse click and 2 buttons => ~1 second. Ok, maybe this is not the best the best example since the selection is pretty simple, but what would you say about this:

That's a lot of clicking. Here's the same approach applied here:

Just 3 clicks! And how about this one:

Eventually you start to see selection patterns and selecting all kinds of stuff takes you around a second if you have all the necessary hotkeys set up:

Here's how my hotkeys are arranged to make selection as streamlined as possible:

Ctrl+1 – Convert Selection To Vertex
Ctrl+2 – Convert Selection To Edges
Ctrl+4 – Convert Selection To Polys
Alt+R – Select Edge Ring
Alt+F – Select Edge Loop(not entirely logical letter wise, but insures you don't move your hands around the keybord - just fingers)
Alt+E –Expand/Grow Selection

I think it's pretty obvious that it's hardly a proper tutorial. It's more of a kick start to get your brain working in that direction. Combine this technique with all the other basic selection stuff and eventually you'll develop a workflow more suitable for you. And most importantly save yourself some time to do proper art instead of just clicking on stuff.
Here's a couple more examples for you:

Or even:

I didn't go through different selection modes and buttons and what they do but I highly recommend that you get very familiar and even intimate with your tools on your own if you don't want to waste your time.
And just in case you're curious: a second of saved time per minute amounts to 3.2 hours per month or 38.4 hours a year, which is almost a whole non-crunch week.



All text and artwork (c) Andrew Maximov unless stated otherwise.