Detail now or later

Hey all :slight_smile:

I’ve been modeling this dragon for almost a week now and I’ve hit a frustrating point and need some advice. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I know I have more work to do before moving forward, but I’m getting to the point where I just don’t know where to go. I have the basic shape of what I want, but how do I know when to start adding detail, and how?

I’ve got a mirror modifier and subsurf right now. Do I apply one or both, and then begin adding detail with all of those polys? That could get chaotic. Do I continue to add as much detail I can with such a simple mesh before applying any modifiers?

Any advice on how I should proceed would be greatly appreciated :slight_smile: Thanks!

what people mostly do these days at some point, is to make a copy of the mesh, then sculpt it using multi-res or dynatopo, then bake the normals of the high poly mesh onto the low poly one, giving it an illusion of fine detail without all the extra polygons. to do this you need to learn a) UV mapping b) render baking ( normals baking ), and c) sculpting.
( edit ) another thing you could do is to retopo ( use surface snapping to create a new mesh on top of your current one ) your mesh, and work with the flow of how you expect the details to lay out. then when you are finished retopo’ing it’s all set up for making the details.
( edit ) also, when retopo-ing, it’s not always necessary to do the whole mesh if you’re only going to add detail in certain areas. you just have to plan a little so you can connect things up easily when you’re ready to join the ‘patches’ with the original mesh.
( edit ) it can help the process to start by duplicating an existing edge and then seperate like you did with the mouth.
( edit ) another thing people do is to duplicate then sculpt the original, then retopo the sculpted mesh, then bake the normals of the sculpted mesh, onto the new one they made with retopo, and discard the original altogether.

Thanks Modron! Of all the ideas you mentioned I think I’ll be going down a retop/sculpt sort of path which means I have a lot to learn about both sculpting and retopology haha Also, the normals baking sounds like a fine idea… definitely something I’ll need to try once I get detail actually sculpted in.

Once again, thanks :slight_smile: