How much is low, mid, and high poly?

It’s not that I have problem with my polygon count, but, completely out of curiosity, how many triangle would an average low, mid and high poly object have? How many triangles would a character have? What about just a standard decoration?

That will depend on the model. If you have a painting for the wall it would be a different amount from a glass and different from a plant model. There’s no such thing as standard decoration.

It’s impossible to give you an answer based on this.

1 Like

Indeed some great points there.

For example games, to my knowledge there are poly - triangle count budgets dependent on various factors including commercial or inhouse IDE (Intergrated Development Environment) engine, target platform, scope, genre, discipline alongside others typically used as a general guide.

More info here via Polycount’s site Wiki - Polygon Count

1 Like

Unfortunately, these days people seem to just slap a “low poly” label on everything short of a high poly sculpt. The term mid poly has sadly fallen out of favor, so even though we logically should be differentiating between <1K low poly models and detailed game resolution characters and objects it all gets called low poly even though they are FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT. Games haven’t been remotely low poly in over a decade, but everyone’s retopologized meshes are now “low poly.”

Thus I’ve seen 100k+ poly characters labeled “low poly” despite not being remotely low poly. And anyone looking for genuine low poly work is going to have to sift through lots of mid poly work. But people have largely stopped using that term. Probably annoys me more than it should.

That said, exact poly budgets for works depend on the software render/engine, purpose and/or target hardware (cinematic characters poly budgets > realtime/game character budgets > mobile game character budgets), priorities (Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn was given a higher than typical poly budget to achieve that iconic hair because they wanted that hair), importance of the asset (hero asset budgets > bg assets), etc. etc.

1 Like

It is totally arbitrary. For in-Blender purposes, i’d say lowpoly will be something you hand-crafted poly by poly using well-structured edge loops (think “the least polycount that still looks good”), and highpoly - object made using wasteful methods, like unoptimized Dyntopo sculpt. For game engines, the better guideline will be looking for recommended polycount per frame/field of view (on a platform you’re targeting), and then divide it by the number of objects you plan to have. It is still not precise, as object with skinned mesh deformation will bigger more impact on performance than a static object

I think that’s due to “low poly” rolling off the tongue a little easier than “optimized geometry.”

I figured it was because Zbrush made millions of polys accessible to the common person,* that everything else seemed “low poly” in comparison, and legit “low poly” is a niche.

Does roll off the tongue easier than “optimized geometry” though. Still, mid-poly works too, and this is the hill I will die on.

* For the common person who could afford a Zbrush license anyway.

1 Like

In my opinion clearer expression would be “raw” or “optimized”.

1 Like

You question actually doesnt make too much sense until we speak about specific project.
But more of that… Even in specific project you almost always can find some models which was, let say “questionable” in terms of polycount, because its clearly what some object can have too low polycount, and others too much polycount. All in the one specific project and this is not the project which was done by amateurs.

I know its too “theoretical” so lets go to some numbers.
Leys say im the guy who pay you too make model. You desided how much polygons, i didnt provide you that info and rely on you expirience.
I told you what i need a props with: few bottles of pills, some nasal spray, drug blister and a dozen of pills laying around.
My game is third person. Asset is not “inspectionable”, i.e. it not hero asset thich player can closely look around and inspect.
How much polygons you will put on 1 capsule shaped (squished) drug pill?
How about 172 triangle per each? How about put 21 of them for total 3612k of triangles only for pills alone?
How we supposed to label this? Average polycount for lowpoly? Slightly excessive polycount?

Sorry, but it looks like you didnt even understand what is low, high and so called mid poly is all about. It was never about the polygon count in first place.

Scale in third person is easily too big that it is waste use any geometry in pills :slight_smile:

So what is the smallest and largest interacting thing in render layer? Character bones? Curtain?

It would be hard task to do if player picks up pills from desk, camera zooms smoothly in third person view to player hand and then character throws pills to curtain that react collision and move a bit. Size difference between objects is big, also scale changes from third person to close up.

Scale in third person view is that curtain is likely that the curtain is largest object and character bone smallest, and character can go behind that curtain to hide, or character hair moves or his clothes. Pills are totally different scale then.

Well, first of all:
Im personally disagree with that, bacause: what we supposed to do? Dont make pills at all? But they should be there. Make them with simply a normal map? And how we supposed to difine the silhouette of a pill lying on the table, by using masked/alpha clip shader? Make another masked shader simply for a pill? Doesnt sounds like a good idea to me at all. Also it will look bad.
And the second:
It wasnt theoretical question. 21 pills, 172 tri. each, 3612k tri in total for them, besides bottles. Mostly 12 sides cylinders with bevels, sometimes 3 loop bevels, i.e. 1 edge are split into 3 edge loops on the bottom cylinder cap and pills blisters.
Oh and i kept a bonus part: we cant know what developers was wanted to make with this models. Maybe they thinking about cpose-up shots? I dunno maybe. Did they plan to use those modela as “inspectable”? i dont think so taking into account polycount for inspectable models.
Whats in fact? In facts: those model are laying in place which approx 1,5-2meters from camera. Your camera will never reach it closer than that.
All of this in shipped game from well known company. PC, PS4, XBox. More than 9mil selled copys. Did the game have poor performance? Nope, it doesnt.
Did the modeler make its job wrong?

So how exactly we should make a chart with optimal approximated polygon count for small/mid/large size props in the game? Same for characters, small/large vehicle?
Taking a list of specific generation project, take similar assets, weight its polycount and take arithmetical mean as our answer?
It will not work.

I’m aware “low poly” and “mid poly” aren’t about precise poly counts, I was merely throwing out a number as an example. Low poly is about minimalism, mid poly is about optimization. There is a distinction there that is as meaningful as the one between raw sculpts and optimized meshes.

Unless you’re one of the people who considers anything retopologized or optimized for modern games low poly, in which case we’ll obviously have to agree to disagree on whether the term “low poly” should be reserved for actual low poly art with mid poly being the appropriate alternative for denser, yet still optimized meshes. Like I said, I recognize the term has fallen out of favor.

Sorry but you clearly have no idea what is low poly, what is high poly and what is mid poly.
Mid poly are doint absolutely nothing in terms of polygon count optimization.
Again: its NOT about polygon count at all.

Therminology like “low”, “mid” and “high” can only be used as context of comparisons the numbers for specific list of assets, and never as something which can be sticked to any universal measurement scale.

Mario character - are low poly.
Elly from TLOU2 - are low poly.
Deal with that.

“Mid poly” are specific term used for specific techniques with using ability to split vertex normals for approaching shading on the model which will make illusion what its contains more polygons than its really have.

If correct shading which will show all necessary details which artist have plan to show without messing with custom normals, and not with adding that much of polygons which will cleary enougth to achieve correct shading, which will make those model high poly, but by using baked normal maps - it will be low poly model despite the polygon count.
Its plain and simple.

And if we start to look at real shipped games we will clearly realize what there’s no such rules. No one measuring virtual assets to define any specific numbers to get “correct” polycount.
Any right rules are only exist (if exist at all) in specific studio with specific art director in contact with tech team where you finally get “model this with N polycount”. And then we look at final poroduct we can constantly ask question like: why those pills have THAT much of polygons?

So any try to craft some rules based on some logic like “2cm object should be equal to n polygons” will only work in a “deep vacum”, because any real project, not some imaginary model with optimal polycount which we want to figure out will have tons of additional excepts like: can player interact or not, if he can how important this model anyway (cause there can be dark, model can appear on the screen just for a few sec) and literally a tons of other things.
Its simply impossible to maintain any real rules which will work for polycount because there is too much of a variable involved.