What is Polygonal Modeling?

Updated on: May 31, 2023

3D Design

7 minute read

Polygonal modeling technique
Polygonal Modeling

Marketers often don’t realize whether they should be opting for low-poly 3D models or high-poly models and so companies delivering professional 3D services should guide them on the selection of the options available to them so that they can make the most out of what polygon modeling has to offer in terms of product promotions.

Unfortunately, many marketers are not aware of what polygonal modeling exactly means and how the 3D modeling technology actually works, which make them end up choosing the wrong type of polygonal model for their projects. This would make their investments deliver low returns as the models won’t be of any use to them.

Polygonal Modeling Definition

In 3D technology and 3D computer graphics, polygonal modeling is a certain modeling approach or technique that generates a 3D model utilizing smaller components like edges, faces, vertices, triangles (tris), or polygons (polys). Polygon (meaning many sides) is just a 2D shape made up of at least three straight sides. Polygonal modeling is the most commonly employed technique for creating organic models, such as humans and animals, that have accurate proportions. Usually, animation studios and video game development companies use polygonal modeling.

6 Facts That You Should Know About Polygonal Modeling

In order to help marketers choose the right polygonal models, we have dedicated this article to defining and describing 3D polygonal models from five different aspects. Enjoy reading this article as we point out the 5 vital facts that you should know about polygonal modeling.

  1. Polygons Are the Foundational Constituents of a 3D Model

    The geometry of a polygon includes vertices and straight edges. The ‘face’ is a plane having a three-sided geometry.

    This is a triangular polygon. Polygons can have four-sided quads having several vertices. Every polygon is connected to one another and this creates a polygonal mesh, which is actually a 3D model. So in simple terms, polygons are the components of a 3D model.

    The poly-count is the number of polygons present in a 3D model whose resolution is defined by the polygon density. Models of fittings, décor items, and handles, which require high detailing, typically have a high resolution.

    On the other hand, cabinets or tabletops or anything having flat surfaces will have a low-poly count.

  2. Multiple Shapes Can Be Created Using Polygon 3D Modeling

    Now that you are aware of what polygons really are, you need to know the degree of creativity that you can enjoy while performing this type of modeling.

    The polygonal mesh may have diverse shapes. Using polygons, a mesh consisting of triangles can be created while n-gones can be used to create an object’s shape.

    This way, you can create advanced furniture designs featuring carvings and curved surfaces. This approach offers flexibility, but 3D modelers still prefer to avoid creating highly complex meshes where the poly-count runs in billions. They can instead create intricately-detailed 3D objects having a smaller poly-count.

    This helps them to prevent polygon protrusion or mesh knots. If any flaw occurs during the 3D modeling stage, the same would get reflected during the 3D rendering stage and this is the reason why 3D artists aim to keep the geometry as simplified as possible.

  3. Easy Modification is Possible on Each Polygon and Polygon Mesh

    Once the mesh gets completed, 3D artists can modify its polygons and alter it, if needed. For instance, a polygon’s face can be extruded or split and the mesh can be extended by stretching out the edge or the vertex.

    Artists can easily use the common shapes such as spheres, cubes, and cylinders as a foundation. The vertices can be tweaked and different shapes can be created from them.

    Only experienced 3D modelers can develop objects of proper proportions.

  4. Models Can Be High-poly and Low-poly

    High-poly models consist of a large number of polygons and are used in objects that are noted for quality and detailing. High-poly models are used to create photorealistic 3D renders and lifestyle imageries. High-poly models are typically used in print media advertising or even in banners, billboards, city lights, and other forms of advertising.

    Low-poly models are used in interactive images, AR/VR functionalities, 360 degree views, games, and 3D product configurators. 3D objects having lesser number of polygons can be rendered very quickly. These objects not only appear realistic, but they function smoothly on the engine/ app.

  5. Retopology is Sometimes Required to Optimize 3D Models

    3D model retopology plays a very important role in determining model quality. Retopology is the process by which 3D artists decrease the mesh’s poly count and convert high-poly models into low-poly models. This is the method by which high-quality models can be made compatible for apps, 3D product configurators, and game engines.

    Product manufacturers need both high-poly and low-poly models for different purposes. High-poly renders and 3D animation are combined to produce effective product demonstrations. Artists would then retopologize the outcome to convert it into easily-renderable 3D models that can be used on apps.

  6. Polygonal Modeling Has Both Advantages and Disadvantages

    Polygonal models are created from smaller components, so artists find it easier to deform and animate them in a natural manner. A major disadvantage of polygonal modeling is that it proves to be a very time-consuming process especially when it comes to creation of intricately-detailed designs.

Construction of Polygonal mesh

In simple terms, a polygonal mesh is the construction of the vertices, edges, and faces that define the shape and surface of a 3D object. Let us learn about the three types of mesh construction:

  1. Box Modeling
  2. Extrusion Modeling
  3. Common Primitives
  1. Box Modeling

    Box modeling is one of the most popular methods in 3D visualization, as it allows you to create the basic shapes of your model. Then, with that rough draft, you can sculpt out your object's final, detailed framework.

  2. Extrusion Modeling

    The extrusion modeling process starts with the primitives (basic shapes like cubes, cylinders, pyramids, etc.), allowing you to add geometry to begin shaping a mesh. Using this technique, a modeler can create a 2D image that can be transformed into 3D objects.

  3. Common primitives

    Primitives can be used as the foundation for creating three-dimensional objects. The basic forms of primitives are cubes, cylinders, pyramids, spheres, cones, etc. Using this approach, it is possible to create complex 3D objects.

Advantages of Polygonal Mesh

  • Polygonal models are highly efficient and easy to render, as you can easily visualize them in the modeling software.
  • Polygonal modeling allows the designers to create a unique design compared to other modeling techniques.
  • It requires fewer polygons to create several ranges of shapes, from simple to complex objects.
  • It is widely used in the animation industry as it can be animated and malformed more easily.
  • Polygonal meshes are highly scalable, as they are used to create 3D printing models of any size, animations, and other simulations.

By now, we hope that you have got an idea of what polygonal modeling is and what you actually need for your upcoming project. So now what things should you consider while selecting a 3D modeling service provider? Well, you should ask for samples and reference images for 3D modeling.

You should contact the company’s previous clients to know what their experiences were while working with the 3D modeling company. Check if they agree for a free trial.

This would give you an idea of the outcome quality that you can expect from them. And we are happy to tell you that we, at ThePro3DStudio, are all ready to serve you with your specific 3D modeling requirements. Call us for a quote if you have a project that you can trust us with.

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Sushmita Roy

A seasoned 3D professional with a creative focused, and a knack for diverse 3D designs, software and the technology. She's associated with ThePro3DStudio for long enough to prove her mettle and make every 3D projects successful. When she’s not busy working for a new project, she shares valuable insights from her own experience.