Low Polygon (lo poly) Modeling

  • Games and Virtual Environments (with various LOD –levels of detail)
  • Interactive online and mobile 3d content
  • Substitute for hi-rez models during stages of 3d animation production: "stand-in" geometry in previsualization and layout, realtime compositing and augmented reality film production, rigging component, such as wrap deformer or a chip set. High resolution models are often replaced with medium or low resolution ones with normal, displacement and other texture maps creating the appearance of complex surface.
  • A stage in modeling a hi-rez model. Low-poly structure allows to determine general proportions of a high-rez object and surface flow in the most efficient way, by using the minimal amount of faces.

Helpful Form Analysis Steps

Every polygon model can be reduced to a simplified low poly structure. One can mimics the approach to drawing, from blocking out broad proportions to refining details. The model is broken down into progressively smaller chunks that reflect changes in surface curvature.

The amount of detail refinement depends on the desired polycount. For most low poly models polycount can go up to 5000 triangular faces (2500 quads, ie realistic human character). For high resolution digitally sculpted models the number of faces can go up to 1-2 million. Such models are very bulky and not easy to interact with, so an average high resolution model for animation in Maya should be made to fit a count of about 200-500K triangular faces in the entire scene.

1. In Y:\Courses\2017-2018\AC7001_VitaAU17\Resources\Polygons

FormAndShape.pdf and Forshortening.pdf

2. Looking at Form and Structure

3. Cross Contour Sketching

4. Cross Contours = Object Wireframe Simplified Cross Contours = Low Poly

5. Digital Tutors: Breaking Down Your Modeling Project video

Modeling Concepts:

Low poly, primitive-up modeling principle.

Mirroring geometry.

Triangulation and Optimization

When modeling static low polygon props it is helpful to triangulate the model in order to see where it can be optimized.

reducing face count


Low Poly Modeling "Happiness" Figure and Birds

Modeling the bird element:

  1. Start by reviewing Forshortening.pdf and FormAndShape.pdf in Y:\Courses\2017-2018\AC7001_VitaAU17\Resources\Polygons.
  2. In Photoshop practice drawing a forshortening plan for the bird modeling steps.


Beginner tutorial for simple low poly bird. from vita berezina-blackburn on Vimeo.



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