What to aim for when creating a high-poly model and what to keep in mind?


Quite soon I will most likely order a highly detailed model of a car from a 3d-artist.
However… I have no idea of what to aim for and even less if there is any specific instructions I should be giving the artist…
So… is there any good reading regarding creating high-detailed models for UE4, and also… is there any reading of how in general to create models for UE4?
My biggest concern is that this artist usually creates models for photo-realistic content for “still images”… so basically he has “no” poly-budget when doing so…
so most of the time the poly count gets way over 6 million, which is abit to high for using it in a game engine :)… so what should one aim for?
My other concern is lightning… as far as I know… if you create a nice unwrapped UV-map you will be “fine”… but is there anything more to keep in mind?


When talking to an artist, the biggest thing is being able to describe what you want. Concept art or reference images are golden. Get together some reference photos, such as “I like the headlights on this car, but with a body similar to this other car.”

A lot of artists for games use extremely high polycount models to model all the small detailed parts. After creating the high poly model, they create a low poly version that will be used in the game. Most 3D applications allow you to “bake” the detail from the highpoly mesh into textures for the low poly mesh. This allows for really high detail without killing performance with high poly counts.

Ah, thanks alot for your feedback… I will definitely keep that in mind :)!
Regarding this model that I will order, the artist already has high poly model of the exact same car… so his aware of how the car is supposed to “look”.
However… I dont think his very aware of the technical best practice for creating a model for UE4 (and neither am I for that matter :))… so it would be great to get pointed in the right direction…
for instance to some docs, or any guidence regarding poly count(concider the scene to be completely empty except the car and the machine to be running a 980GTX) or if there is any other things to keep in concideration as far as performance goes…

FBX best practices: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Content/FBX/BestPractices/index.html

Static Mesh Workflow

“Export the mesh to an FBX file from your 3D application.
Common export settings used by artists at Epic include:
Smoothing Groups enabled
Tangents and Binormals disabled
Preserve Edge Orientation enabled”

Also here’s an old thread asking about best practices: https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?14582-Best-practices-for-3d-asset-modeling-suggestions

I just lightly skimmed it so I’m not sure how relevant it still is. Other advise is if the modeler uses the Substance tools they should definitely install the engine themselves and the Substance painter plugin. You don’t want it to take forever for them to make refinements because they are rendering it in their modeling programs native rendering view, resulting in it looking completely different for you in UE leading to a lot of back and forth. You likely don’t have to worry too much as you don’t really have to build models for UE in some radically different way.

Link regarding the high poly baking: Normal map - polycount