High-Poly Models

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Source models for creating normal maps.

High-Poly Modelling Conventions

When you are making a complex high-detail model, try to work as sensibly as possible.

Model or scene files can get very cluttered, so here are a few things to keep in mind as you work:

  • If your application supports layers or groups, use them! Set up layers for each main part of your model so you can easily keep track of each section, and hide or show pieces quickly and easily.


Workflow Tips

  • "Float" small detail over the main surfaces of your high-poly model; as the trace for the normal map only cares about the normal of the polygon it hits, it doesn't matter if the surface is layered. This works for detailing indents as well protruding geometry.
  • Test the model in-game. When you are working, it's easy to get carried away adding tiny detail to high poly models. Testing the model in game as soon as possible allows you to run around it and decide where more detail needs to be added and where detail can be very basic. This is mostly dependant on what the player can see. having a solid test model all the way though the asset creation also means if something more important comes up you can easily and quickly finish work on this asset. It will also help you meet deadlines and allow more useful feedback.
  • Pixel density defines poly detail, make sure that you have a realistic idea about how your high poly detail will translate to the normal map. There's no need to use more than one polygon per normal-map pixel.
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