Modelling environments - low or hi-poly?

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  03 March 2014
Modelling environments - low or hi-poly?

This is a really rudimentary question, but when modelling environments should everything be smoothed? Or would smaller objects, or those in the background, just be bevelled as they take up minimal screen space?

My environment has a lot of long wooden beams, so I'm breaking up the straight lines and hard edges to create a bit of wear and tear. I seem to get an effect I'm happy with just by softening/hardening the edges, but all of the environment tutorials I've done (mainly on DT) have everything smoothed. Both seem to get similar results, but is it purely at my discretion which method I choose to use? And would either/both be used in the TV/film industry?

Just thought I'd get some clarification on whether I'm on the right track before I get too far into my scene; thanks in advance.
  04 April 2014
I don't really think there are any solid rules for something like this. Generally I apply a principle of "whatever gets the job done". And that includes not killing yourself with really high polygon counts. If you start turbo-smoothing everything in an environment, the polys are going to shoot up fast.

Work smarter - How big is the render? How far away is a specific object from camera? What can I get away with?

  04 April 2014
Guess I was showing a bit of naivety but I think I was on the right track - difference in poly count between the smoothed/unsmoothed beams is about 2-4k, multiplied by however many I need and it's sure to jump up considerably.

Think I just need to work smart like you say - thanks for getting back to me.
  04 April 2014
Thanks for getting back to me - I'm a bit naive with anything like that as I'm self-taught with no professional experience. I'll continue as I've started I think, like you said no point killing myself with high poly counts and worrying about details on things that will be tiny in the final render.
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