Edge Loops are a 3-D modeling concept that allows relatively little geometry to convey relatively large amounts of spatial information in a given mesh object. This determines the “flow” of geometry over a surface, and usually has an influence over the placement of surface detail and direction of the object’s contours.
The concept behind edge loops began originally as a requirement of low-polygonal objects created on computer based programs as early as the 1980s. Since then, computer graphics (CG) pioneers such as Discreet-Autodesk (3D Studio Max) and Alias-Wavefront (Maya) have pushed modeling even further, making edge loops more of a method of intelligent design and optimization rather than a hard and fast requirement of the industry.
In the future, it is believed that edge-loops will no longer be required at all. As computers steadily ramp-up the number of polygons per object created, the evidence of edge loops declines.