In 3D modeling, the term topology refers to a 3D model’s edge distribution and structure. Two models that look the same when rendered can have very different topologies.
The model on the left is constructed mostly with quads (four-sided polygons) while the model on the right is constructed with triangles (three-sided polygons), also known as tris. These models are said to have different topologies.
Topology affects many aspects of 3D modeling and rendering, including:
- How highlights react to the model
- How easy it is to edit the model’s shape
- How easy it is to apply or edit mapping. Unwrapped UVs are easier to manage with quad topology.
- How easy it is to rig and animate the model. Quad topology makes it much easier to rig and animate.