Where should the details be, in the model or in the texture?

Another noob question from me.

Yesterday i wanted to make something simple (didnt work because i was up very early for work and very sleepy :smile: )
I wanted to try a simple empty dungeon cell like the beginning of darksouls where lights gets in through the doorway. I wanted to add a stone stairs and was wondering. Should i add detail in the material with bump map or on the model.
Tried looking up some tutorials but some add all detail in material, for instance found a tutorial where a guy made a cobble stone material that you can just add to a plane and voila, looks beautiful, almost all details are in the material. Other tutorials do the opposite, where a guy used modeling to scrape the stones to get the details and added a fairly simple material. I spend 2 hours looking up the best approach instead of trying to model it, i’m fairly fast distraced sometimes :blush: . Since i’m just beginning i don’t want to learn myself an inneficient way. What is your tought on this?

extra: I would think the first is the way to go, but i need alot more practice is substance designer, although my free trial ends soon, and i find blender node system a bit harder to get results. Also tried the free texture sites out there but didnt find what I was looking for for now. I’d still like to hear the thoughts of people with experience and their approach.

Lots of love,

It depends… for example in a racing game you doesn’t need to model cobblestones… (you might even don’t need any normalmap for this). Of course you can do model a 3 millions polygon statue and import it into the new Unreal 5 gameengine to see it for 3 seconds in the demo… :rofl:

Both methods you refer to have pros and cons depending on many factors.

How is your final model being used? If it is a small part of a large scene then materials on a plane with a simple node setup may be more than adequate. Check out some of the work created in Blender by Ian Hubert. I used to be on his patreon page and he had heaps of cool tutorials and detailed demos of some of his projects, which include lots of scenes made up of lots of images on planes. I use this method a lot because it suits my needs.

If the model is meant to be viewed close up and from different angles, lighting etc then modelling the details may be more appropriate. How much detail you sculpt into the model will again depend on how it is being used.

As Okidoki said, “it depends”. Depending on your goals, skills, available time and finances, pc resources etc your choices may sway one way or the other. If you are just starting out you will probably find learning a combination of both may be the most efficient.

My advice is to firstly consider what you want to model and how you will use it. Have some sort of goal for your work even it is a vague goal or some airy fairy dream. There are many facets to 3d modelling and trying to master them all from the start is a recipe for frustration as it sounds you have already noticed.

Pick a path that leads to your goal, be it gaming, 2d rendering, animations, special effects or the many others. Find tutorials more specific to your choice and model something(even something basic) that fits within the genre. DO NOT keep working on one object until it is “perfect” as it will never be perfect in your eyes.

Bit by bit build out other parts of a scene. Each new object you build WILL be better than the last. As you progress you will keep looking for and learning which of the methods in your question are the best fit for your work. Efficiency will come from using the right tools and methods to achieve your goals.

Don’t try to learn everything or listen to everyone. Learn what you need to know, when you need to know it.

Good luck and above all else, HAVE FUN

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Hank you for answering. My goals is dark fantasy scenes. Think dark souls 3 irythil dungeon as an example. So I don’t know what suits my need. I found a dungeon tutorial that I’ll follow to the end. Hope to find some more. Seems like focus is more on bump maps and added with model changes to not make it look bland. To get a touch of details. For I will follow this. Do love the answers though about detail in the far end. I’m to focused on the same lvl of details everywhere in the scene. Could probably save a lot on render.