What's the benefit of using higher degree curves?

As an architect I work mostly with polylines and degree 3 curves.

I have never tried to use higher degrees and not sure what I can use them for?

Many times I need to rebuild curves but I don’t want to have too many control points and yet I don’t want the deviation to be too big, I wonder if using higher degree curves can help with that…

Also I have noticed that for lofts operations, tweens, etc having curves with matching number of control points works best…but… most times curves have different lengths, so rebuilding to same control point count is sometimes not ideal as a short curve will have too many and a long curve will have too few.

Higher degrees are mathematically “smoother,” the way degree 3 is smoother than degree 2 and 2 smoother than 1.

Long story short unless you’re using extremely precise manufacturing processes the increased smoothness is academic.


Interesting… I frequently work with curves that create surfaces or extrude and I need them to look smooth on a screen and renders. Those mostly get remeshesd anyways so not sure if using higher degrees would actually help? Will have to try…

I wonder if the control point edition is the same with higher degrees? Or does it progressively become less intuitive?

There’s a section in the Level 1 or 2 training that goes over all of this. As you go up in degree each point edit affects a wider area of the curve–that’s why it’s smoother. At the maximum degree you can do of 11 the points are almost disconnected from the curve. I max out my stuff at Degree 5.

Probably not if the number of control points is kept the same as the degree is increased, particularly with the current Rebuild command. (If the degree is increased and the number of control points remains constant then the number of spans decreases.) The current Rebuild command is based on interpolation. Interpolated curves tend to have oscillations as the degree increases.

The number of control points needed for a curve depends on the shape of the curve only, and is not related to the length of the curve.

Curvature continuity is usually sufficient for surfaces to appear smooth, and degee 3 curves and surfaces have curvature continuity between spans.

There is an approach to surfacing, frequently referred to as “Class A”, which calls for the use of single span surfaces only, with the degee increased to provide more control points as needed. The primary advantage of this approach is it can result in nominally perfect position continuity between the edges of adjacent surfaces.