Tried my hand at a fantastic concept from R. Hodri (id software), but now I'm stuck

Hi all, my current objective is to learn how to make high quality videogame assets.
This is my first experiment, and I tried my hand with a fantastic concept (…of a scifi wc trashcan) from Robert Hodri (here’s the original).
I’m quite happy with the modeling phase result:

Now I have to bring the model to a lower polycount (I think maybe 1-2k polygons would be good), in order to proceed with normals baking and texturing.

The problem is that I’ve tried decimate but it looks horrendous. Then I tried an automatic tool (Instant Meshes) and it just doesn’t work well with this model.
I finally resorted to manual retopology (never done before), and it took me the whole morning just for the base piece, and it looks bad too:

What am I doing wrong? How should I approach the low-poly model creation? How do professionals make their retopologies look orderly without spending days ordering each vertex?

Any help would be very appreciated!

PS: I don’t know if this is the correct place for this post, but no other subforums felt more correct.

No expert, but high quality doesn’t mean high poly count, what you have there is a nice beveled box with a cutout,
start again with basic shape either boolean or subd modelling, then bevel required edges.

If you want to recover what you have, there are a few ways, one is you could try decimate- planar to make flat surfaces ngons, to remove unnecessary lines and line dissolve anything that misses, then custom smooth shading, the auto smooth under object data should do it :slight_smile:

Lot of options, this is just one.

Awesome, you got the highpoly down spectacularly,
now make a lowpoly version then bake the details of the highpoly on top of it in a normal map.

This is how we make game assets in 2016.

But the highpoly is nice and smooth.
Pretty good for a guy who didn’t know what baking is tbh.
Keep it up.


For this addons also search for tutorials in Youtube:

Shrinkwrap Smooth (and some of these others tools) could be useful:

Thank you very much for the encouragement!
I was afraid I was doing it in the wrong order. I saw some people making the low-poly first, then adding details with sculpt and whatnot. But I guess it’s a subjective thing.
With a little more exercise I was able to make a slightly less terrible retopo:

Now I have to figure out how to bake :slight_smile:

Thanks for the links! Very interesting. Some things I already knew, some not.
I found a very good tool in Retopoflow, in fact I just learned the purpose of its tweak tool, and hence the slightly better retopo as you can see up.
But still, I have a long way to go. :slight_smile:

Ok, I finally got a decent lowpoly with retopology:

Sadly, after dozens of bakes both in blender and xnormal (I found xnormal a little bit better), this is the best result…:

Can anyone point me where I’m doing wrong? Is it the UVs? I’ve put a seam on every hard edge the low-poly has, I’ve separated each island to avoid bleeding, and I’ve tried tons of different settings in both programs… don’t know what else to try.

PS: the only thing I haven’t tried is baking with a cage. This is because of the inward space on one of the model’s sides:

Inflating a duplicate of the low-poly doesn’t work with this part, because it ends up intersecting the other models. To properly incapsulate them I should inflate everything and decrease only that part, but xnormal specifically says that the cage has to have the exact topology as the low-poly model. I’m clueless.