Right way for modelling game assets

Hello everyone, how are you doing? :slight_smile:

My desire with 3D-Modeling is to be able to model items for game development. Like, weapons (swords, axes, staves, etc.), “generic items”(potion bottles, rocks, lanterns, trees, etc.) and to be able to apply textures and materials to them. VFX is also in the scope hahaha :laughing:

I have been seeing some videos explaining a few things and also giving some tips. However, one tip made confuse. In the video, the person explains that we should create high-poly and low-poly models, so we can use the high-poly to bake textures in the low-poly. I understood that, and it makes a lot of sense.

However, what made me confused is that he (the one in the video) said that (at least, I understood it this way) we should first create the high-poly model and later create the low-poly model. Shouldn’t we do the other way around? Like, we first model the low-poly object (until we are satisfied with it), duplicate it and a start adding more details (thus creating the high-poly object).

In the video the author didn’t explain the order of things very well, resulting in this confusion of mine :confused:

Would someone be kind enough and explain the correct way for modelling game assets, as well as resolving my confusion?

Thank you! :+1:

1 Like

you can either:

  1. model a high-poly with sculpt, then retopologize to get a low-poly version, then bake the normals of the high-poly in order to have details on your low-poly

or:

  1. model a low-poly, duplicate to have a high-poly, sculpt a bit the duplication to give it details, bake the high-poly to get details

or:

  1. you can even only have a low-poly if you don’t want any detail and if it fits your style

I think solution #2 is the best one, at least when you begin: you learn how to model, you learn a bit of sculpting, and you can save the small details of your sculpting

2 Likes

Hey @moonboots, thanks for answering!

I have another question! I understand the usage of the high-poly / low-poly for performance gain, but, in the end, how does one differentiate from another? I will give an example/situation for better understanding.

Explanation:

  • I am modelling a shield and I want it to be round.
  • In the high-poly model I apply the subdivision surface, so it gets a high resolution and it’s really round. After this, I can work on the details.
  • Both the high-poly and low-poly models are finished. However, the low-poly model has some straight edges that gives the feel that the object is not completely round.
  • In order to make the low-poly object rounder, wouldn’t I need to apply a subdivision surface to it?

With the given explanation, wouldn’t I, in the end, work with a high-poly model instead of a low-poly one?

for games, you can’t keep any modifier, so yes you’ll probably need to apply the modifier, but try to keep your object as low-poly as possible. If your shield is not round enough, maybe you don’t need to subdivide it more though, try to add some edge loops and bend the shape to see if it helps to get the good shape.

Again, at the end, what counts is to keep your object as low poly as possible, that’s why normal map are very useful, they “fake” 3D details while actually there is no real 3D

1 Like

It can really depend on what type of geometry you’re working on. It’s typically useful to re-use the low-poly version as the game-poly version. It however becomes complicated when you have curved surfaces as you’d typically have a low-poly that doesn’t have enough detail to compensate the curved form you need. A good method is to keep the important hi-poly parts (curved forms) and combine it with your other low-poly parts that don’t need much details (straight forms.)

By your example of the shield I would approach it by keeping only the hi-poly round part (after applying the relevant modifiers) of the shield and combine it with the low-poly parts that are straight or somewhat straight. After that you can then tweak the geometry further until you have good balance of low geometry while keeping an acceptable silhouette.

You might also consider that it can be better to just work from a hi-poly (after applying subsurf for example) and then remove the details to be easier. This is not always the case as having to many geometry to work on can be too distracting and can take more work. Sometimes you will find it easier to make a completely new poly instead of modifying your hi-poly. This can vary on your modeling experience.

1 Like