Low and High Polygon 3D Modeling Techniques


7 minute read

Today, various polygon modeling techniques have penetrated into the feature film industry. It is also used in the production of video games. The objects developed using this technique is composed of flat tiny surfaces and the size of the polygons are small. This prevents their edges from looking faceted. This indicates, that when the size of the object increases, thousands of polygons need to be created, in order to maintain a high resolution in the object. Here, you will come to know about the different techniques of polygonal 3D modeling, which can enhance the presentation of 3D models.

polygon 3D modeling techniques

Basics of polygon modeling

Three different areas of an object can be integrated with these polygon modeling techniques. These are the vertices, faces and edges. You can select these in the Edit Mode, which you will find at the bottom of the screen.

  • Vertex : These points are present at the end of Edges.
  • Face : Face is the surface, located between 3 or more vertices.
  • Edge : These are lines connecting two vertices and keeps the faces surrounded

Generally, triangles, or three-sided polygons and quadrilaterals with four sides are used in three dimensional modeling. The designers should know the polygon modeling tips and tricks in maya and they can create polygons having more than four sides.

Different techniques of 3D polygon model

Have a look at the different polygon 3D modeling techniques, used to develop polygons.

  • Extrusion

    Most of the 3D modeling software comes with the extruder tool. Modelers use this tool to start shaping the polygons. You can apply this to a set of faces or a single face to create new faces of similar size. The modelers can use extrusion in manipulating a mash in two ways. They may either extrude the face outwards or collapse it within itself. Different 3D modeling techniques can be used to extrude a geometric shape like pyramid or cube.

    Extruding a pyramid: A pyramid with a base consisting of four edges can be transformed into a complex shape when the base is extruded downwards in the Y (negative) direction. Eventually, new vertical faces are created between the cap and base of the model. For instance, while modeling table legs or house, this process can be implemented.

    Extrusion of edges: The modelers need to duplicate the edge, so that they can further rotate or pull it in any direction, along with a polygonal face that is automatically created, connecting the two edges. The experts use advanced polygon modeling software to extrude the edges in contour modeling.

  • Subdivision

    As a 3D artist, you would strive to create smooth surfaces in the three dimensional models you develop. The process begins with the basic geometric shapes, like triangles and cubes. These are usually of low resolution and the number of edges is low. It is assumed that each face will be divided into smaller ones. As a result of this subdivision, the 3D model gets a higher resolution. You can have a look at the 3D modeling software for beginners and explore these features.

    You can apply subdivision to the 3D model selectively or uniformly.

    The entire surface of the 3D model is divided by a uniform subdivision. It is reasonable to use uniform subdivisions on a linear scale, which indicates that they will divide the face of the polygon into four faces. This helps in smoothening the edges of the model.

    You can apply selective subdivision to certain parts of the surface. It is necessary to place additional edge loops in this type of subdivision. You can add this loop to a particular set of faces, without altering the other meshes. The modelers generally apply selective subdivision to elements like lips and eyes, that carry a high amount of details and need a high resolution. The use of 3D modeling in the film industry has been increasing over the years, as the modelers can integrate the fine details in the objects.

    Well, another way to enhance the surface of the model without making it to smooth is to integrate both the subdivision methods. You can prepare a surface using edge loops, before uniform subdivision is used. You may also leave certain edges sharp by placing the edge loop before subdivision on one of the sides of the edge

  • Chamfers or bevels

    In the initial stages, the looks of the 3D model are not natural and the edges are not sharp. Using chamfers or bevels, you can create realistic 3D models with smooth surfaces. Usually, two polygon edges have a 90-degree angle between them. Bevelling the edges enables the modeler to create a 45-degree angle. You can also create other angles between these edges using bevel. The roundness and length can be changed, according to the requirement.

However, chamfers and bevels are not the same. These are different in the following ways:

  • Usually, bevels extend from one of the faces to another. Chamfer extends partially to the far face
  • A bevel can meet another line or surface at any angle, except 90-degrees. A chamfer connects two lines and it is a bevelled edge. If the surfaces make 90-degree angles, the chamfer will be at 45 degree, creating symmetry

What is High Poly and Low Poly 3D Modeling?

High poly modeling is a type of modeling technique in which more polygons are used in the model. High poly models are mainly used for marketing purposes. For example, if you are creating high-quality renders, be it still images or videos.

Similarly, low poly modeling is a 3D modeling technique where a relatively less number of polygons are used in the model. Low ploy models are more often used in games and real-time rendering.

Difference between High Poly and Low Poly 3D Modeling

As their name suggests, the main difference between these two 3D modeling techniques is the number of polygons they use. However, check out the points below to find out their other differences.

  • Low poly models use less computational power than high poly models.
  • The size of low poly models is light-weight and is easy to work with. You can easily load, view, and edit them in the software. However, with high poly meshes, it can be a little hard.
  • Render times are quicker with low poly models as compared to the high poly ones.
  • When it comes to achieving a higher level of detailing, it is better achieved with high poly models than the low poly ones.
  • High poly models use polygons to find out the surface detail of an object. However, low poly models use texture filtering for finding out the pixel size of the models or objects.


To summarize, polygonal 3D modeling utilizes edges, faces, and vertexes to form a model. This approach to 3D modeling is somewhat more complex than NURBS or surface modeling. Mainly in the way the polygons are calculated and composed by the software.

Therefore, the polygonal modeling approach may seem challenging. However, with constant practice and enough time given to it, one can hone their skills in this approach. Moreover, the tips mentioned above can also significantly improve the workflow for a 3D modeler. The trick is to strike a perfect balance in the number of polygons used for high and low poly models.

Keep following these tips and practice. Soon you can achieve the level of perfection you desire. Alternatively, if this seems a lot for you, contact any expert 3D modeling service providers. Offshoring some of your critical polygonal modeling projects will ensure the best quality and repeat customers for your business!