Creating low-poly from high-poly hunting rifle

Hello. I’m using Blender for about a year. Now I’m working on a hunting rifle model from an old CG Masters tutorial. My high-poly mesh is finished and now I need to create a low-poly version of it, so I can bake normals in Substance Painter. I’ve heard about some LOD techniques which can lower the geometry if the camera is far from this mesh, so the object looks good, but renders faster. Of course, it doesn’t work in the opposite direction (making your mesh more high-poly), so if I’ll need a close-up shot of the low-poly model edges will be noticeable, like in this example

Is this a good idea to create mid-poly(maybe unsubdivided version with some adjustments) instead of low-poly and then use LOD to decrease polycount?

Please write your opinion about this situation

Wouldn’t it work to use the low-poly model, and subdivide it as needed on close-ups to smooth it out? Sure, you might get undesirably large displacements of the surface is some cases, but for the mesh in the image it shouldn’t be much of an issue. And setting crease also gives additional control to deal with sharp angles.

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My thoughts:
If you want to use it as a first person weapon mainly spare yourself the pain of creating LODS (most unpleasant aspect of gameart imo).
Goal of low poly is to capture curvature. Your mesh on the the left has unnessecary loops for game mesh but captures curvature badly. So it is not good at all for game usage. Understand and respect principles for game art creation, but dont be too stingy with polygons. It is 2019 after all.

Another thing: You would most likley get a better result for game use from blasting the hipoly through ZRemesher than continue with your current approach.

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this video helped me when I first started creating low poly assets.

If I remember correctly, this were the major things I learned from it:

  • Keep everything that is needed to maintain the silhouette.
  • Think about what parts will be visible the most/closes and distribute the geometry according to that
  • Don’t be afraid of using triangles, they work pretty well when baking normal maps.
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Thanks for the replies, guys. Sometimes the understanding of what are you doing is matter the most.