An Introduction To 3D with Lyndon Daniels

Part 5: High Resolution Models

High Resolution Surface Modeling

Modelling a high resolution surface will often require a particular set of tools. These tools can be specific to a unique surface type or they can be more generic, in thier application, by permitting usage across various surface types. Nonetheless, whatever tools are available to you for modelling high resolution surfaces one of the fundemental components your 3D application will provide is the ability to switch your model between different resolutions with varying levels of detail that can be directly or indirectly edited.
This modeling technique is often used in conjunction with realtime low resolution models and thier conversion to high definition models for pre-rendered visual sequences that would be output for television, cinema, dvd etc.

But before we get started on the conversion process, let's recap on our progress thus far,
  • 1We first started off with a cube.
  • 2This cube we extruded, pushed and pulled components and ultimately reshaped it into a realtime low resolution model of our head.
  • 3We then proceeded to lay out our models UV's and assign a texture to it.
  • 4Following these steps has subsequenlty brought us to the current phase of our project. At this stage and depending on how your 3D software works, it might be of interest to you to save your current work in progress (i.e. your low resolution model) for safety sake and work on a duplicate of the model for high resolution modelling. This will leave us with two seperate files which can both be used to achieve our final output.

When working in 3D with high resolution models due to the sheer volume of compuations that need to be processed your computer might tend to lag as performance drops. A high resolution model can have millions of polygons that need to be updated regularly, therefore the faster your computer the less likely you are to experience substantial lagging (this is also relative to the complexity of your model).
However, no matter how fast your computer is sometimes we have to deal with high definition scenes consisting of several characters and props that all need to act and react with each other. The vast majority of computers at present would not be able to compute all this information in real-time. The solution is to use a proxy or stand in object.