[U] Converting Hi-poly Models to Low-poly Models

Hi guys! Have you ever had a High-Poly model and wished it was Low-Poly? Well, you may not know what polys are, so lets define it. If you look up Polygon in the dictionary, you might find this:

polygon – a closed plane figure bounded by straight sides

This may not be the definition we want in this case and context. A poly is a closed face. Whether it has four sides, or 23 sides, it’s a poly.

Some people say a low poly count is better. Others say that more polys are better. In my opinion, use only as many polys as you need (without having an outrageous, unused and unneeded amount). Just as I advise, I prefer to use as few polys as possible. Now let’s list the Pros and Cons of High and Low poly models.

High Poly Models


• Better quality
• Smoother edges
• More realism
• Easier posing


• Lag – higher polys creates lag in both the modeling and video game applications
• Larger model file size

Low-Poly Models


  • Smaller model file size
  • Less lag


  • Lower quality
  • Sharper edges
  • Less realism
  • Harder posing

Low-Poly models are not all bad news. Today, I am going to help you to lower the number of polys on most objects. I have this outrageously high poly mug. It doesn’t have to be high poly, but for example purposes, I have made it really high poly.

Decimate Modifier

The Decimate modifier will reduce poly count, if your model is built right. Some models are “not manifold”, according to the modifier. (NOTE: Please read below to see how to solve this problem.) If you have a complex mesh, you may need to split parts of it into models before using the Decimate modifier. To do this, go to Edit Mode, select some vertices and press ‘P’ and click the first option.

Tris to Quads

Now, let’s convert Tris to Quads. A Tri is short for a Triangle. Basically, its a face with 3 sides.
A Quad is short for a Quadrilateral. It is a face with Four sides.

Select all by pressing ‘A’. Press Alt+J to convert Tris to Quads.

NOTE: This Method may not work on all meshes.

By now, your model should be lower poly than when you started! 😀

If your model now looks a bit nasty, we can fix that! Press ‘T’ and add Smooth Shading. Then under the Properties window, in the Modifiers tab, add Edge Split. Now adjust the level of edge split so it makes it look good.



A simple way to solve errors of the Decimate modifier is to add an Edge Split above Decimate. After you Decimate your model where you want it, apply the Edge Split then apply the Decimate. Remove Doubles in the model, and you’ve got it! 😀




3 thoughts on “[U] Converting Hi-poly Models to Low-poly Models

  1. Nice tutorial. I love how you went through the pros and cons of high and low poly. i also have a question. I am making a model that i want to look as realistic as possible and while i am satisfied with what i have i don’t like the method i am using to acheive it. the method i am using is after i am done model my mesh i am applying the subdivsion surface modifier and while this gives me the result i want it also makes my model really high poly when applied. So my question is should i just leave the modifier unapplied or would the method you talked about here work for making my model low poly? Hope this isn’t to hard or confusing. Thanks Zaxzax12

    • I understand completely. 🙂

      You don’t have to apply modifiers for them to work. But to lower the polys, here’s an Idea.

      Use the Subsurf. Then apply it and add Decimate (if you have a “non manifold mesh”, you need to split the model in various places, use Decimate and apply and join the models and Remove Doubles) then set smooth shading and Edge Split. 🙂

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