How important are edge loops and avoiding N-gons in inorganic models

In case the title gets cut off it’s How important are edge loops and avoiding N-gons in inorganic models

This is something that has been bothering me for a bit. I’m not sure if a smooth edgeflow is important when dealing with non-organic models. Please take a look at the first and second models and tell me which one will work better as a low poly model.

For some reason the attached images didn’t get attached. This has been fixed.


As I understand it, edge loops are used primarily for character animation. If no parts of your model will flex, then edge loops really are not needed. To answer the question, both models look good, but the tank is the better low-poly model. There are quite a few polys that can be combined on the aircraft… ship… thing… :smiley: Both models look great, BTW! If this is for a game, as it appears to be, triangulate the mesh. Quads are needed for the subsurface modifier, which I doubt you’ll be needing and your game engine will require triangles.

If you’re not using the subsurf modifier, then you’re all right. You’ll need to take some care of your topology if you plan on normal mapping your models, though - the original normals always have an impact on the normal maps and long faces or sharp edges will result in some really ugly artifacts.

It should be noted that game engines only support triangulated models - so while you can use anything else (not that Blender supports ngons, but whatever) while modeling, it’s good practice to triangulate manually and fix any errors before exporting.

Thanks for your help. I’m aiming for something with the same poly count as this.

Here’s what the fighter looks like now. Do you think I’m going in the right direction?


imo i think the wing things are too high poly

Edge loops are useful whenever you have shapes that “flow” into one another (organic looking). They are most noticeable in deformation because things will stretch in unpredictable ways without good edge loops.
If you won’t be deforming the object, good edge loops can still be useful in making the most efficient use of your polygons.
Both of the models you showed don’t look like they would benefit from good edgeloops.

Your example3.jpg is an improvement over your first model.
The starfox sample you linked to looks like it actually has a lot of polygons… especially the wheels.

Again, is this for a game? If it is, then poly count is really irrelevant. What is more important is vertex count. The updated fighter looks much better, though you’ll still need to triangulate the mesh. Even that might not be important depending on the file format you’re exporting to.

It’s not for a game, but rather for my portfolio. I’m aiming for something that’s as well detailed as the example provided. Also, I’m still open to sujestions on how to improve it. For example, do you think I should get rid of those three indentations?

I’d have to see it with textures to give you areas for improvement. The model itself looks fine, but without knowing what is supposed to be where, it is kind of hard to critique. Are the indentations windows?

No, it the time that I put them in I hadn’t really decided what they were. I suppose you could think of them as heatsinks.
In the latest version I’ve removed them, making the point moot.

Here’s the current look.

Oh, but the way, does anybody know where the shell modifier is? I can’t seem to find it.