New to modelling and need some help with this!

Hello everyone!

I have just started using Blender and am trying to create stylised assets for an indie horror game. I do not know the required poly count for creating assets but I do understand it has to be low; but how low?

I am currently modelling a cardboard box and need some tips, tricks and guidance to put me in the right direction for modelling stylised 3D assets. I want the assets to be detailed but lower poly for possibly either mobile but most likely PC and console.

Thanks for any help in advance, I do appreciate it! :slight_smile:

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A model for real time rendering (game) should be as low as possible. Max polycount should be 100k triangles. The the model in the picture looks low enough, should be less than 1k.

You can model as much as you want, even millions of polys, then use the Decimate modifier to lower it to desirable levels. You can also create LOD models that way by duplicating the original model and using the same modifier.


Hey Blutag, thanks for the reply and advice! So if I were to use this in a game, this would be a “desirable” amount?

The main goal of my modelling journey is to design high detailed assets within Blender > then either sculpt them in Blender or ZBrush > Retopologise back in blender to create a low poly version > UV Unwrap > then use either Blender or Substance painter for the texturing and material editing. I am not entirely sure this is the correct process?

I want that unique stylised look without straying too far away from reality if that makes sense haha.

I am doing this all on my own so it’s very difficult and time-consuming. Anything else that would help me with this would be of great appreciation.

Thanks for the help anyway! :smiley:

Yes that is basically the process, you missed out «bake normal map from the high poly to the low poly model» after UV unwrap.

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Yep, that’s pretty much the process. An alternative to texture painting is baking textures: you can use any number of textures and materials to make your model look as good as possible, then bake the final texture (and normal map) to use in game (everything is rendered on a single texture using the UV unwrap).

You should also look into unwrapping techniques, spreading all faces like that is usually not a good idea.

If you want to have modular assets, you can split an object into more objects so that you can work with them easier and compose new objects in-game, then you can make them use individual textures or share the same one.

The model in the picture is very low poly, should be more than ok. You can use a lot more polys if the object is unique as it will be managed by the game engine. Oh, and keep an eye on polycount when sculpting, it can grow exponentially.

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Hey DNorman, thanks for the heads up, I’ll have a look at how to bake the normal map information onto the low poly model. What if the high poly model has extra information for example; a crumpled corner that doesn’t fit with the overall low poly model, would I have to retopologise the low poly model for instance? also I’m guessing you would have to UV Unwrap the low poly not the high because here would be too many faces etc.

Ah right okay, so if I wanted to have different materials applied to one object, with this example of a cardboard box, there would be Sellotape on the top and sides, how would I make the cardboard look rough and then the Sellotape look shiny and reflect light?

I have also included a screenshot of my UV unwrapping so far, is this correct? Is there too much distortion, also, there are some areas which are red and others which are blue, the red areas are smaller parts of the UV which won’t be noticeable to the player unless they really looked closely at the object, is there a way around this?

What are modular assets? Can they be changed and altered?

Apologies for the number of questions, I am just keen to learn haha


Materials are carried over when exporting a model (at least their names lol), so in something like Unity/Unreal you can adjust what to shine etc. So use different material for everything that looks different (although they can still share the same texture).

UV stuff: once you disable UV Sync Selection (near the vertex selection button), you can select, move, scale and rotate entire islands to optimally use the texture space.

Modular stuff: instead of making 10 complete doors, you make only one base and a bunch of ornaments, doorknobs etc, then you combine them to get dozens of door types in the game with minimum work.

You should check out tutorials on Youtube, they cover more than a forum answer. Here’s some to get you started:

Good luck!

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Yes you unwrap the low poly, For the crumpled corner it is best to have a rough representation in your low poly object.
The whole process is quite long to explain check out the videos that Blutag has sent you.
I recommend the last one as Jayanam has a series of videos (1-6) that cover the whole process of «high poly to Low poly workflow» from start to end and explains very well. Although it is for 2.79 the basic concepts are still the same.

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Okay wow, thanks guys for the help! just a quick one, is the model and UV unwrapping of my cardboard box okay or does it need fixing somehow with the distortion and such?

I’ll be sure to check out these videos and see how they do it to get me started. I thought making models would be easier instead of coding but they are both just as hard haha


The model looks fine. The unwrapping… that depends.

If your plan is to be baking normal maps, you really should:

  1. Separate every steep break of surface into its own UV island,
  2. As much as possible, keep the edges of UV islands straight vertical, horizontal, or as the last resort 45 degree diagonal. Even if it comes at the cost of some texture distortion. In hard surface, edges are your number 1 detail - they catch light, define and break up the silhouette. If you have them crooked or at an arbitrary angle in UV space, you’re going to get aliased bake (i.e. stair step pattern), which looks horrendous with a normal map.
  3. Devise a “direction”, a flow to your UVs, for much the same reason as (2). Right now your box is laid out diagonally, which means that you’ll have a hard time putting any texture detail on there without aliasing artifacts.
  4. Use as much of UV space as possible. Break the UVs off and pack them better, tighter. This again ties in with (3) - the “cross” layout you have now prohibits you from using much of that UV space (just by eye, the main shape is utilizing something like a third of the available space). Remember that in practice you won’t have a glorious 4K texture for such a small box, you’d have maybe at most 1K, or even smaller, so texels will be larger, and so will be any artifacts.
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What do you mean by steep break?

Yeah the UV islands being straight makes sense because of aliasing and when baking the normal maps will create artefacts with shading and lighting within the engine.

Whenever I try to make each island “average” with the tool in the UV editor it just makes them smaller again which doesn’t utilise the space as well.

There are some shapes on the UV layout which are not quads; is this an issue? Does this create problems later down the line when texturing/ sculpting. Should I make all of the geometry into quads - what about tris and they are hard to make into quads?

I am very new to this so I honestly get confused when making something haha

Thanks for the help though, I will research all of this when I have time.

“Steep” as opposed to “smooth”. For example, looking at the 3D view of your box, there’s almost 90 degree transition from the sides to the bottom of the box. I do see you have a couple polygons there for curvature, but that’s just two polygons for 90 degrees, so on average 45 degrees per polygon. Compare that to the sides that are flipped open - the transition is longer, and smoother thanks to extra polygons for curvature. So, each side (together with the two bottom transition polygons) can be its own island (well, two, for inside and outside surface), and bottom - its own.

Don’t just rely on single-click tools to do everything for you. If you average everything, it’s going to rescale everything. You have some pieces that you say are small and would rarely be seen - don’t include those into averaging. Just pull them aside, position and scale your main shape to give it as much room as possible, then move those smaller pieces back into available spots in the UV space.

Non-quads can indeed be an issue. Quads can be as well, if they’re concave. Both for unwrapping, and for subdivision/sculpting etc.

The thing is, if you’re considering sculpting, there’s a good chance that you wouldn’t want to use your low poly as base, at least not as is. For sculpting, ideally, you should use even square quads. Anything else would lend to stretched detail.

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Right, I see. I have fixed the UV unwrapping of the box and hopefully, it is better than what it was. Whenever I scale the small UV islands, they start to go a different colour; probably indicating stretching - I suppose this doesn’t matter considering they’re very small details of the overall object and no one would notice. I thought that scaling it up wouldn’t affect it as they’re only being enlargened not skewed?

I would like to learn how to scuplt and then bake the hi-poly information onto a low poly model as this would create a detailed look without the information being present and slowing the game engine down when rendering.

Box Model Base > Model Hi-Poly > Subdivide > Scuplt areas of imperfection > bake the Hi-Poly information onto a normal map > UV Unwrap the Base Model > apply the baked information as a texture and then create different textures for the model.

What if I want the 2 normal maps: One for the height information and another for the texture information - is this possible to do? Would it be possible to do all of this all in one texture rather than having loads of different ones attached to the model.

Thanks :slight_smile: