In Art Spotlight, we invite Sketchfab artists to talk about one of their designs. Today’s Art Spotlight comes from freelance 3D artist Osama Deep.
Low poly is an effect that you can use in 3D or 2D art. When I talk about low poly design, I don’t mean the way that you reduce the polygon count to transfer your model to game engine. I am talking about triangular design like this:
If we take a close look at the previous image, we will find that the design mainly contains a lot of triangles. That means that there is no smoothing group between closed polygons, because the normal of each polygon has a different angle from the other polygons beside it. While this effect has a name (low poly), it is a new effect that has come up over the last few years. This effect works not only on 3D art, but on 2D designs too, and can be achieved using power tools like Photoshop (using a triangulator because the triangle is the base unit in this effect).
Now that you know about the theory, here are some tips you can use to give your 3D models a low poly effect. I will use 3ds Max for my demonstration, but you can use any 3D tools if you follow the steps below. I will demonstrate with my 3D model that got staff picked on Sketchfab and was chosen as a model of the week for It’s Art Magazine.
1. Try to start with a triangle or quad primitive polygon:
It’s standard pipeline to start your modeling with basic primitives to keep the loops correct throughout the process. If you start like this, you will get clean model at the end. Try to relax all the polygons in-between to prevent stretches on your model like in this image that shows how a landscape was made:
2. Clear smoothing group:
You need to make sure that the final model has no smoothing group at all on the polygons. You should get something like the left object in the following image:
Add light as needed in your design. With my previous model, I used main direct light to simulate a sun source, and 8 ambient lights to prevent dark areas. You can use Global Illumination for a better result, or advanced plugins like vray.
4. High polygon to low polygon:
Here, you can turn your high polygon model into triangle low poly using some modifiers or presets in 3Ds max, like MultiRes and ProOptimizer. Check out the result on my model:
5. Baking your texture:
It’s an optional step, but you can back your texture if you use advanced plugins (in 3Ds max i used vray to get better results). You don’t need to unwrap your model perfectly – just do a quick triangle automatic unwrapping and you will get something like this:
Finally, I hope you got some useful tips here. If you like my previous model, please like it on Sketchfab and hit follow to get notifications about my new uploads.
I thank Sketchfab a lot for providing a great way to view my 3D models and adding some great post processing effects.
See you later.
– Osama Deep