Low poly models

Low poly models DEFAULT

What is High & Low Poly in 3D Modeling?

Tips3DWritten by Thomas DenhamDisclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you buy something we get a small commission at no extra cost to you(learn more)

The main difference between high and low polygon modeling is exactly what the name implies: whether you use a high number of polygons in your model, or a low number.

However there are other things to take into consideration when deciding the detail and poly level of each model. Most notably the textures you use in your materials.

This article will go into the differences, the pros, and the cons of each type and why you should decide which technique you wish to use before you start modelling!

Should I Use High or Low Poly?

The answer to this question is highly dependent on how you intend to use your model once it’s done.

If you are making a model that you intend to use in a game, or render in a real time engine such as Unreal or Unity, then you need to be heavily using low poly modeling.

Low poly models tend to use less computational power to render, so they are more suited for these kinds of engines that need to rapidly calculate how your model reacts in the virtual environment.

Unity3D game low poly

However if you’re producing a high quality render, maybe for marketing reasons, then you will often use high poly modeling.

If you are producing still shots or even a video, the amount of time it takes to render a frame is more or less irrelevant. Because of this you can produce models that are more difficult for your computer to calculate, because the end result does not need to calculate any more once it’s completed.

Pros & Cons Of Each Style

The main strength of low poly modeling was briefly touched upon in the last section: ease of use. The lightweight size of these models can make them easier to work with if you’re doing a lot of on-the-fly rendering(common with game development).

This counts for both you and your workstation too. Low poly models can be a lot easier to load, view, and edit on your machine. This also generally leads to quicker render times.

Low Poly game tutorial screenshot preview

These models can also be easier to work on from a modeling perspective as well. It’s generally easier to make edits to a less complicated mesh, compared to a mesh with millions of polygons.

The downside of low polygonal meshes is that it’s difficult to achieve the high level of detail you may want in your finished product. Because you are using fewer polygons, you have less geometry that you can manipulate into certain shapes. This means things like creases on clothes cannot be made in the mesh.

However there is a way around this. Using normal maps and height (or displacement) maps can simulate the way light behaves on the object in the render. This can give the illusion of details being on the model directly.

If done correctly, this can look just as good as modeling in detail.

The final thing you need to consider when making a low poly model is the texture you use, such as normal maps, but just as importantly the diffuse maps you use to add color to your finished mesh.

The size and number of images you’re using in your texture maps just add more resources that your PC needs to calculate. And remember, low poly is great specifically because it can be less resource-heavy!

Lowpoly digital cyberpunk cityscape example 3D modelled

For this reason you will rarely want to use images larger than 4096×4096 in your low poly models, and may want to condense multiple maps into a single texture sheet (a single image that contains all of you maps that will fit onto a UV unwrapped model).

This is especially important if you are making a game for a mobile phone, as they have much less computational power compared to consoles or gaming PC rigs.

A further benefit of low poly modeling is it helps you practice your optimization skills, so even if you choose to specialize in high poly modeling instead, low-poly techniques can still benefit you throughout your career.

High poly modeling has its own pros and cons too. And they can be easily summarized as the opposite of low poly models!

You can get far more detail in your base mesh, which can allow for far nicer models in the final render, at the cost of renders taking hours to complete.

They can also be harder to work with. If your workstation is using older hardware then working on the model can become a chore. Moving around the viewport becomes a slow process and making edits can take a long time due to the density of the mesh.

You can also use images at very high resolution. And use as many images as you want for your materials, which can make texturing slightly easier and give higher fidelity results.

Zbrush and Substance Painter high poly model

On the whole, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with both of these modelling styles as they both have their uses.

Even in the case of low poly modeling, an increasingly popular way to produce them is modeling the low poly base mesh, then making a clone that you add high poly detail onto.

From there you can use software such as Substance Painter to bake the high poly mesh detail onto the low poly mesh as a normal map. The more you do this, the easier it gets.

This gives you a result that is comparable to the high poly model, but with all the benefits of a low poly model! Just note this requires proficiency in both modeling methods, and that’s one big reason why you should consider practicing both.

Author: Thomas Denham

Thomas is a 3D creative working with both high and low poly modelling for still renders or real time engines. He is currently working freelance after spending 4 years at a multi-national VR company. To see Thomas' work and learn more, feel free to look at his personal site.

Sours: https://conceptartempire.com/high-vs-low-poly-modeling/

7 reasons to learn low-poly modeling

Mondlicht Studios CEO David Schäfer takes a look at low-poly modeling and explains why it is an essential skill that all modelers should learn…

Mondlicht Studios' Website


Low-poly modeling does not necessarily mean to do what you usually do, but just in a lower resolution. Depending on the task, there are different areas, quality needs, and specifications to think about. The rendering power of our technology is advancing every day, but the less data we use, the more we can use. To find out how low-poly modeling could benefit you in your career we talked to low poly expert and CEO of Mondlicht Studios, David Schäfer.


AR/VR is becoming more and more popular, and demand in the industry is rising. There is no secret that the less data you use, the better performance you get. Unfortunately, nowadays there is no option to get very heavy, high-poly models working on a high framerate. The reduction of data without worsening the final result is a very difficult, challenging, and exciting task. And that is why low-poly modeling is so popular. Using the right workflow, you can achieve both outstanding quality and high performance.

sports car 3d cgi

Brabham Unreal Demo: a passionate personal project to demonstrate the high quality rendering power of Unreal Engine

Multi-purpose use

Created models can be used in any 3D application, but low-poly models can be used in real-time applications pretty well too. This means that the amount of projects you can work on will be much broader. Moreover, high demand for low-poly experts will allow you to work on very interesting projects challenging the boundaries of what’s possible.

Also, you can easily share the model with the client online, for example, using webGL technology or Google Sketchfab. You can also create beautiful and very complex configurations with a minimal amount of data.

“For over three years, Maksym and I were working on several automotive low-poly car configurations and data prep. We have developed tools and workflows to create nice low-poly models from CAD data. We do not crunch or reduce the data, we completely recreate every part of the car in every available combination. Now the smart car configuration is online, and it works very smoothly, that wouldn’t be possible without the low-poly workflow we developed”

-          David Schäfer

David Schäfer telling about the creation of the smart car configuration

It improves your modeling skills

Even if you already possess excellent skills in high-poly modeling, improving your low-poly modeling will enhance your skills further and challenge you to think more outside the comfort zone of your modeling. Thinking about meshes with the priority on the lowest possible resolution versus the best visually possible result, you will inevitably face new challenges.

Things you would just create as high detail can be achieved by creating a nice texture too. Creating and using normal maps is one thing, achieving great visual results with a very limited shader is another.

“For some productions, you don't care how you get the result, as long as you get it. In the low-poly process, you take a lot of care of how you get the results”

-          David Schäfer

It's fun!

It is a bit like crafting models with your bare hands when you create textures and make a low-resolution model “come to life.” Further, creating good meshes sometimes is like solving puzzles. It might seem like a technical task, but your creativity will be challenged a lot in the process too.

One step to high-res model

Smooth your low-poly model, and you have a pretty high-res model too. If you start right away with a high-poly model, you will only have one final result, and starting there to make it low-poly means a lot of work all over again. It is very common to create a lower resolution version and work with subdivision surfaces or smoothing.

panasonic camera lens cgi
panasonic camera 3d model
virtual product studio panasonic 3d model

New skills

During your low-poly studies, you’ll necessarily learn baking. It is a cool technique that will also be very helpful for a high-res workflow as well. Understanding this technique will make you a more efficient specialist. Having proper UV sets and using UDIM is another perk that will be yours.


The industry demands more and more low-poly models for real-time and XR apps. The market is increasingly looking for “VR/AR engineers” ready to handle challenging and creative tasks. Good news: there is much less competition than in traditional modeling, so if your skills are good enough, you won’t sit without a job. Another nice thing – low-poly models could be used in very diverse spheres, so you’ll be working on very different projects.

Sours: https://3dtotal.com/news/inspiration/7-reasons-to-learn-low-poly-modeling
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High-Poly Models vs Low-Poly Models

With 3D modeling, manufacturers and marketers got plenty of new opportunities for product promo instead of prototyping and old-school photography. See for yourself, 3D models can be used for any CG service — static rendering, 3D configurators, animation and even interactive VR/AR applications. The only difference is that you need high-poly models for certain tasks and low-poly ones for others. 

Thankfully, a multidisciplinary 3D modeling company can deliver any type of 3D model equally quickly and professionally and save them in universal 3D formats like obj, max, fbx, blend, mtl, etc. Moreover, client managers are always online to consult clients on CG services and help to choose the right type of modeling. 

What are low-poly and high-poly models? Both terms come from polygon modeling that is based on building 3D models from polygons. Those are small closed geometric shapes that are combined into one mesh that works as a surface of 3D objects. So, logically, high-poly models are made of many polygons while low-poly contain fewer of them.

In this article, we explain the 5 basic differences between high-poly models and low-poly objects so you could figure it all out in advance. Read on!

#1. Static and Motion Usage


First, let’s get into the appliance of 3D models because their structure directly depends on it. High-poly models, in particular, work great for static HR renders — lifestyle images, silo renders, close-ups, cut-outs, as well as for featured animation with zoom effect. Those are CGI of the highest quality so such models should be very detailed and meticulously made.

As for low-poly ones, they are used for motion CG imagery, such as interactive 360° views, 3D configurators, games, and AR/VR imagery. These models must effectively work with rendering and gaming engines. Therefore, they should consist of a small number of polygons so that any app can process them in no time.

#2. The Complexity of the Geometry

  • Before-Product 3d modeling
    After-Product 3d modeling
    High poly 3d modelProduct 3d modelingLow poly 3d model

The geometry of high-poly models is very complex as it consists of many polygons of different shapes, especially, when it comes to curved objects. In this case, CG artists carefully build the geometry and check it several times to avoid errors in high-poly modeling, such as, chipping, visible seams, holes in the surface, etc.

Low-poly models are simpler in geometry and have fewer polygons in them. This property of such 3D objects allows them to work in apps and on all digital platforms. For that, 3D modelers additionally optimize the geometry by doing retopology.

To put it simply, 3d Max retopology means reducing the number of polygons in the mesh. The average-sized 3D object is made of thousands of polygons, i.e. vertices and faces that form a mesh. Such a surface is very complex for texturing and rendering. Retopology makes 3D models smooth and light so that visually the object remains highly detailed but works perfectly for CG motion solutions.

#3. Detalization

  • Before-3d Roomset
    After-3d Roomset
    3d room grid3d Roomset3d room rendering

Thanks to advanced geometry, high-poly models can be very meticulously detailed with various ornaments, additional decor, intricate design elements, etc. Naturally, such a 3D model looks more realistic, hence, exquisite. Precise detailing is especially important for complex 3D models for your furniture with inlay, forging, carvings, etc. With such complex objects, CG specialists always do retopology even for high-poly 3D models for static CGI. 

As for low-poly objects, they can’t be hyper-detailed. Otherwise, their size will be too large and the engine won’t be able to render them in real time. If your furniture has lots of details and fittings but you need it for a 360° view or a 3D configurator, CG artists have to additionally retopologize a 3D model. 

#4. Texture Quality

A Screenshot of a Process of Applying Complex Textures to a High-Poly Model of a Chair

Texturing high-poly models is a tricky process as it includes using various texture maps for realistic results. If you need high-poly 3D objects, provide CG artists with HD photos of texture samples. The latter, in turn, can create a texture from scratch or find similar material in their library. Regardless of making custom textures or using ready samples, the resulting textures will look perfect even in HR render images.

Materials and textures for low-poly objects can’t be that complex, otherwise, they will take too long to render. So, usually, CG modelers “record” or “bake” textures to preserve the visual aspects of the material while reducing the number of texture maps to a minimum. This way low-poly 3D models will be lightweight but realistic at the same time.

#5. Processing/Rendering Time

A 3D Scene with Plenty of High-Poly 3D Models

Of course, high-poly models take longer to render than low-poly models due to complex geometry, textures, and details. The thing is, the rendering engine has to calculate the light refraction from every surface and all edges of the high-poly 3D object. Therefore, making a final image may take time but the result will be highly photorealistic. 

To accelerate the process, CG artists often use render-farms, especially, for product animation or a huge number of images. Render-farms, being clusters of connected computers, allow for rendering to go many times faster. Some CG studios, like ours, have their own render-farms so your large-scale projects can be done literally in a day or two.

Low-poly models are optimized for quick or even real-time rendering, so all of their components are simple and light. Thereby, they can be instantly processed by game engines, various VR/AR applications, etc. Surely, the creation of such models depends on the design of the product but the average turnaround time is one working day. Consider contacting managers to know the precise TAT of your project.

Examine case-studies of CGI projects to see real examples of using 3D technology for marketing purposes.

See our case studies

product rendering price

In fact, there is no competition between high-poly models and low-poly ones, it is just that each type of 3D model serves a different purpose. High-poly objects are complex in terms of geometry, details, and textures. Therefore, they work great for HR product renders for catalogs, adverts, listings, and such. As for low-poly models, CG artists use them for motion CG solutions, VR/AR apps, and games as they are lightweight and require less processing time.

Need 3D models for your promo and marketing? Contact us right now for 3D modeling services, and our CG artists will make quality high-poly or low-poly models for any type of product!

Irene Lewis

Content Writer

Irene is a content writer. She previously worked for interior and chess magazines. When not writing articles, Irene finds great pleasure in collecting Star Trek memorabilia, reading Medieval poetry and playing banjo.

Sours: https://cgifurniture.com/high-poly-models-vs-low-poly-ones/

Low poly

This polygon mesh representing a dolphin would be considered low poly by modern standards

Low poly is a polygon mesh in 3D computer graphics that has a relatively small number of polygons. Low poly meshes occur in real-time applications (e.g. games) as contrast with high-poly meshes in animated movies and special effects of the same era. The term low poly is used in both a technical and a descriptive sense; the number of polygons in a mesh is an important factor to optimize for performance but can give an undesirable appearance to the resulting graphics.[1]

Necessity for low poly meshes[edit]

Polygon meshes are one of the major methods of modelling a 3D object for display by a computer. Polygons can, in theory, have any number of sides but are commonly broken down into triangles for display. In general the more triangles in a mesh the more detailed the object is, but the more computationally intensive it is to display. In order to decrease render times (i.e. increase frame rate) the number of triangles in the scene must be reduced, by using low poly meshes.[2]

Computer graphics techniques such as normal and bump mapping have been designed to compensate for the decrease of polygons by making a low poly object appear to contain more detail than it does. This is done by altering the shading of polygons to contain internal detail which is not in the mesh.[3]

Polygon budget[edit]

An example of normal mapping used to add detail to a low poly (500 triangle) mesh

A combination of the game engine or rendering method and the computer being used defines the polygon budget; the number of polygons which can appear in a scene and still be rendered at an acceptable frame rate. Therefore, the use of low poly meshes are mostly confined to computer games and other software a user must manipulate 3D objects in real time because processing power is limited to that of a typical personal computer or games console and the frame rate must be high.[4]Computer generated imagery, for example, for films or still images have a higher polygon budget because rendering does not need to be done in real-time, which requires higher frame rates. In addition, computer processing power in these situations is typically less limited, often using a large network of computers or what is known as a render farm. Each frame can take hours to create, despite the enormous computer power involved. A common example of the difference this makes is full motion video sequences in computer games which, because they can be pre-rendered, look much smoother than the games themselves.[citation needed]


3D model consisting of 220 polygons

Models that are said to be low poly often appear blocky and simple while still maintaining the basic shape of what they are meant to represent. With computer graphics getting more powerful, it has become increasingly computationally cheap to render low poly graphics. Some artists use the resulting low-detail from a low polygon count as an aesthetic rather than as an optimization technique.[5] They are often used by indie developers due to being faster and cheaper to create. In addition, there is an element of nostalgia to low poly styles, hearkening to older video game consoles such as the Nintendo 64 or the PlayStation. Since they often achieve a certain retro style, serving as a 3-Dimensional analog to the 2-Dimensional pixel art.[citation needed]


Low poly as a relative term[edit]

There is no defined threshold for a mesh to be low poly; low poly is always a relative term and depends on (amongst other factors):[citation needed]

  • The time the meshes were designed and for what hardware
  • The detail required in the final mesh
  • The shape and properties of the object in question

As computing power inevitably increases, the number of polygons that can be used increases too. For example, Super Mario 64 would be considered low poly today, but was considered a stunning achievement when it was released in 1996. Similarly, in 2018, using hundreds of polygons on a leaf in the background of a scene would be considered high poly, but using that many polygons on the main character would be considered low poly. In this way, there is a relativism between the importance of objects and their graphical quality. More important objects such as Non-player characters usually contain a higher amount of detail than less important objects, which are often small or in the background, like a blade of grass. This relativism is subverted when low-poly is used as an intentional aesthetic style: every object shares the simplicity that a low number of polygons brings, making the distinction between important features and unimportant features less clear.[citation needed]

Example of using low poly stylistically

Emergence as an aesthetic style[edit]

Low poly graphics emerged around late 2013 as a specific style when content creators began to redefine the difference between high-poly and low-poly. Instead of using a low number of polygons as a necessity, creators like Timothy J. Reynolds recognized how the usage of fewer polygons sharpens the focus on essential artistic elements like form, lighting, and texture.[6] The emergence of the style is somewhat similar to earlier artistic movements where artists like Paul Cézanne tried to decompose objects into geometric shapes. The low poly style seeks to highlight the idea that the world can be represented by a composition of shapes, which makes it a self aware style that is intentionally vague.[citation needed]

Popularity in video games and other mediums[edit]

Although it has gained some traction in the art world, low-poly is a much more established style in video games, since it serves the dual purpose of reducing development time and giving the game a unique aesthetic style. The oldest game on the popular game distribution site Steam with the tag "low-poly" is Mirror Moon EP, a space-themed exploration game with an emphasis on the low-poly style, which was released in September 2013. In 2014, Richard Whitelock published Into this Wylde Abyss, a short, story driven survival game with a similarly low-poly style. From that point on, the genre expanded quickly. From 2014 to 2018, there were 244 titles published on Steam with a low poly tag. Some of the most notable titles include Superhot, Necropolis, and Grow Up.

Low poly meshes in physics engines[edit]

Physics engines have presented a new role for low poly meshes. Since the display of computer graphics has become very efficient, allowing the display of tens to hundreds of thousands of polygons at 25 frames per second on a desktop computer, low-poly has been almost universally phased out of games by limitation, giving rise to the emergence of low poly as an artistic choice instead of a practical one.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_poly

Models low poly

Learn about this computer graphics art used in video game design and other creative fields

Low poly art is one of the most attractive contemporary styles used in video game design, animation, and illustration. You can create cool and simple-looking objects using blocky polygons.

This modeling technique has been used to create low-res 3D models, thanks to the simplicity in which you can create basic objects and the fact that the rendering process is in turn reduced. What is low poly exactly? What does the term mean and what are its main features? Art director and 3D modeling expert Daniel Gutiérrez (@danielgutierrez) explains more.

What is low poly?

As the term suggests, it is a modeling technique that uses the lowest possible number of polygons to create a 3D model. The objects created have few faces and few vertices. If we think of it through the idea of resolution: the higher the resolution, the higher the level of detail, the lower the resolution, the lower the level of detail. The aim of this aesthetic is to favor abstraction over detailed design.

Why is low poly a trend?

Despite its minimalist appearance, low poly modeling requires a high degree of creativity, as you need to make the most of limited resources to create complex compositions. It has the power of simplicity. It is a style in its own right: many artists have adopted this technique for its aesthetics, and its unique colors and shapes. It is a trend because it is not exclusive to 3D and is found in posters, sculptures, and also tattoo art. It is an optimization technique because you can work on your objects quicker digitally, due to the limited polygons.

What are the advantages of low poly?

The advantage of low poly is being able to apply it to different mediums, from the popular animal sculptures made from concrete, plastic, or paper to illustration and video games. It allows you to play with textures, shapes, and colors. Furthermore, thanks to the multiple faces of the polygons, you can play with light and textures and achieve some interesting effects.

What is the most important thing when creating low poly objects?

It is important to bear in mind that low poly objects have less definition and are made with fewer polygons, spheres, cylinders, or cubes. By using flat lighting, the models will get the desired flat-shaded blocky look.

Daniel recommends Blender as the best software for working in low poly. It is a solid choice of software that brings excellent results and has AAA classification. Furthermore, it is free, high quality, and used by a large community.

Daniel Gutiérrez teaches the Domestika courses Low Poly Character Modeling for Video Games, in which you will learn to design, 3D model, and texture a videogame character in low poly, and Low Poly Set Modeling for Video Games, in which you will learn to design, 3D model and texture in Blender a background in the same style to integrate into the video game development platform Unity.

You may also be interested in:

- Introduction to 3D Design and Modeling with Blender, a course by Luis Arizaga.
- Introduction to Unity for 3D Video Games, a course by Álvaro Arranz.

Sours: https://www.domestika.org/en/blog/6206-what-is-low-poly-learn-about-polygon-art-for-video-games-and-more
Blender MMORPG Game Character creation

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