how many polygons can a 16GB worth of RAM handles?

I’m sculpting a really skinny wrinkly old guy… and are modeling a tons of other stuff too…
I was wondering how much polygon could a 16gb worth of RAM handles? I’m modeling on my laptop right now which only has 2GB… yeah… it’s not gonna cut it. so I’m planning on getting a 16GB worth of ram… and after that I’m going to pick a graphic card that is going to handle all those polygons on the 3d viewport smoothly.

It’s not just polygon count that stresses RAM, particularly when rendering. For BI, you also have to consider scene lighting (Is it all raytraced? Are you using sampled illumination like Environmental Lighting? How soft are your shadows? etc) and such “special effects” as particle systems physics sims, and the like. So naming a specific poly count that your RAM-packed system could handle is not really possible.

It’s always better imo to approach the question as “How few polygons can I use to effectively model my subject?” rather than assuming that hardware will handle anything if it’s given enough RAM.

so really, how few pollygons can I use to effectively model my subject?

with sculpt mode i know it can go to a few millions

but in normal mode don’t think it can do more then 1 or 2 millions verts before becoming sluggish !
but not certain for 64 bits machines

but you could use the big render script to get bigger render size !

happy 2.6

Your graphic card and its driver level of “friendliness” with OpenGL can too make a huge difference, not just memory.
As sculpting with VBO on by example (File -> User Preferences -> System ) can make a -huge- difference in performance if your graphic card+its driver is good with OpenGL, if it’s not that good with OpenGL, it would make no difference.

If your current sculpt is becoming unworkable at the face count you’re needing, maybe you should give a try to Sculptris, due to the “add faces only where needed” system Sculptris is using, it will allow you to actually put the same details that need 3 or 4 millions of faces in Blender Sculpt mode into “only” a 500k faces in Sculptris.

After that, a 500k face model should eat much less ressources of your computer when rendering (or even when trying to bake normals/ao on a retopo) than a 3 or 4 millions faces one, Cycles eat more ressources than Blender Internal too, so very high polycount can crash when trying to render with Cycle while you may be able to render them in BI.

thanks for the advice.(I’ve already downloaded sculptris a few month ago )
P.S, how much polygon does it take for your Darkseid avatar pic?

If you have Sculptris and your system can handle it well enough, it’s a good alternative to sculpting in Blender because it gives you many more options for optimizing polygon count in the model. Scupltris models can be brought into Blender directly via one of the export/import paths (consult the documentation about those), or if your model is right for the process, you may be better off using the Sculptris model to bake a normal map to apply to a much lower polygon model in Blender. This is a common approach for both game models and some kinds of “high-end render-to-file” projects (aka movies ;)) as well. A “skinny wrinkly old guy” sounds like a good subject for normal-mapping your detail rather than doing the sculpt to its finest detail in Blender.

P.S, how much polygon does it take for your Darkseid avatar pic?

1 face for the background (just a plane with a texture) , 42000 faces (triangles, as the head was directly imported from Sculptris without retopo) for the head, 2800 faces for helmet (made in blender only)

Details like the stone “wrinkles” were made with a normal map (obtained from using the GIMP normal map plugin on a rock texture)
test rendering of the character with BI, with Yafaray to see more of how the normal map improve the detailling of the face (without adding to the polycount)

sculptris it is :slight_smile: I haven’t play around with it much but I guess I’ll give it a try.
thanks for the solution. you just saved me a couple of dollars :wink:

thanks for explaining in detail. it seems that everyone is importing and exporting out of sculptris? this time I’ll really give the software a go.

It’s really an excellent sculpting program, some really amazing work can be done with it.
See this nice timelapse as an example.

indeed :slight_smile:
I’m excited!

By sheer memory consumption I would think around 100 Million polygons will fit into 16GB of ram.

Around 20-30 million (takes around 3GB) is theoretically “workable” although it’ll be sluggish far sooner than that.

nice info. thank you for sharing.
one question:
why would it become slugish? does a slow gpu got anything to do with it at all? theoretically it’s the same with games right? the more poly’s the slower the frame rate becomes… but a faster card can fix it right up no?