How many polys makes a model Low Poly

Discussion started by Continuum3D

What are the requirements to be labeled an Low Poly Model, ie how many polys are too many?


Posted about 1 year ago

thanks for the lengthy but informative answer!

It is (it seems) all a moving target - based on technology and computer speed,
but for the moment - May 2019, might I be safe in assuming that a good rule of thumb for a model that might be considered low poly would be one that is 10k to 20k polys

iterateCGI wrote
I would agree that is indeed truly low-poly and we are free to assume it but what end does the assumption serve? If you think producing models having less then 20k polygons going to be rightfully own label low-poly then the assumption is probably meaningless I would say. There are models here up to 250K poly’s and beyond having label low-poly, basically there is no separate category for real low-poly here. If your stuff is geared towards real-time application then there is only one button to let people know, in the end it actually makes no difference, people just use the poly count filter to get what they want if thy need something below 20k or 10K, etc.
Posted about 1 year ago

It's a problem with the use of languish, words are small labels that point to things, in this case Low-Poly points to something that can be subject to controversy because the word refers to a technicality (some amount of polygons suggesting to be low in this case), so whether or not the word is right label can be confusing if some model appears to have relatively high amount of polygons.

Keep in mind we just need to distinguish between models that are optimized for real-time application and models geared towards offline rendering.

Models for real-time application/games are usually triangulated and highly optimized, meaning every polygon needs to maximally count to define the overall shapes of most important model features, the finer details/smoothing usually gets stored in normal maps, etc. However, this does not mean polygon count needs to be below some threshold, it all depends on the use case and the total compute budged one is able to reserve to accomplish a certain outcome/goal. For example, suppose the game is geared towards the higher profile PC gamer and it involves some scene having a battle with pirate ships, the scene has only some distant mountains the rest is just water, in this case the pirate ships (if not to many of them) can probably use a budget up to 450k polygons or probably even more.

In offline rendering priority is more geared towards the quality of the rendering and lighting so usually the smooth shading is done with the polygons, if models appear less smooth then we just trow in more polygons (not so in games), also the use of normal maps to make things appear smooth is less common in offline rendering. The limits to the use of memory and compute budget is also less of a concern in this case.

The thing is, this marketplace makes use of the word Low-Poly to distinguish between models geared towards real-time application, but it has noting to do with the amount of polygons. For example models for mobile games are very low poly, but some scene elements in high profile PC games can actually contain up to 600k polygons, for example in star citizen there is one spaceship having over a million polygons.

In 2017 average polycount on a character was around 100K, some have reported over 30 million polygons visible in frame at some points (including instancing). Also keep in mind every two years new hardware comes up having twice compute power of previous generation, meaning compute power/budget now take gigantic leaps forward every two years (grows exponentially). If you make stock content you better take this into account.

Some online discussion here;

Posted about 1 year ago

Everything depends of the structure and complexity of the object, but mostly from 1k to 10-20k!

Posted about 1 year ago

It will definitely be more than 10k polys, I would say around 10k-15k but it really depends what you are modeling. For example a character may have more than 15k and still be considered lowpoly. Hope this helps.

Continuum3D wrote
Enzor - Thanks for that, I have come models (characters) that fall into that 12-18k range and I did not know how to classify them - now I do, big help, thanks

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