What is 'low poly'? All you need to know!

13/03/2023
Qué es el low poly

What does the term low poly mean?

Low poly is a 3D modeling and visual styling technique that consists of creating figures with few polygons, resulting in a stylized and minimalistic geometric look. In this article we will explore the history of low poly, its current applications, benefits and some tips for creating your own polygonal pieces.

History of low poly

The low poly was originated in the 1970s, when computer graphics began to develop and its processing power was limited. To create complex 3D models without overloading the system, designers were forced to simplify their designs by reducing the number of polygons used, thus optimizing performance and reducing rendering times.

Later, in the 1990s, low poly aesthetics became popular thanks to video games such as Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Tomb Raider, where low resolution three-dimensional models were used to create immersive worlds and charming characters that ended up conquering several generations.

Over time, technological advances in hardware and graphics processing allowed games to use more detailed 3D models, moving from low poly to high poly. Despite this, low poly has remained a common choice in the creation of video games and animations, remaining relevant for decades and becoming an element of retro graphic style.

Current applications of the low poly technique

Nowadays, low poly is still popular in the gaming industry, but it has also spread to other fields, such as:

  • Graphic design: in illustrations and posters, through colorful and abstract images.
  • Architecture: in models of buildings and structures with a reduced level of detail, allowing a fast and efficient visualization.
  • Virtual Reality: in the creation of VR worlds and experiences, due to its processing efficiency and attractive visual appearance.
  • Digital art: in the form of accessories or 3D sculptures, to create works of art with a unique and striking style.

Benefits of low poly style

One of the key benefits of low poly modeling is its versatility. Low-geometry models can be used for everything from video game design to architectural visualization, and provide an affordable and efficient solution for graphic designers and developers alike. In addition, this style allows artists and designers to create minimalist, modern 2D and 3D work without sacrificing performance or complexity.

In general, designing with few polygons has numerous advantages, from improved performance and reduced file sizes to simpler designs with unique aesthetics. As technology advances and demands for faster loading times increase, this approach may continue to gain popularity in various industries.

How to create low poly art in 3D

If you are interested in creating low poly art, you must first choose a suitable design software: There are many 3D design programs available, but some are more suitable for creating low poly art than others. Blender is a popular free option that has specific tools for creating low-resolution models. Other programs such as Autodesk Maya or Cinema 4D are also quite well known.

Once you have set up the software, start by creating a base mesh for the object or character. Then try to reduce the number of polygons of the rendered model while maintaining its overall shape. This can be done manually or with the tools provided by the chosen software.

When you're satisfied with the level of detail in your model, add color and texture to give it depth and interest. Low poly art is often characterized by bright colors and bold shapes, so experiment with different color schemes until you find one that works well for your project. With practice and patience, anyone can learn to create stunning pieces of art - low resolution - that are both visually appealing and artistically satisfying.

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