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Reduce Vertex count of a model?

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I have 5 to 6 models with number of vertices greater than 3000. It takes up a lot of size in my map so I'm asking how can I reduce the vertex count. Do I have to Weld Vertices manually or is there an easier way (like using a software)?

I tried using Neodex and 3ds max Optimize in the Modifier List but when I exported it, the model only reduces by about 100 vertex and broke the animation of the model.
 
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Multi Resolution generally works better than Optimize but it usually leaves a very messy topology, but keeps the UVW.
Second way would be to use vertex weld with larger treshold (to weld dense areas) but it fucks up the UVW and sometimes the topology.

The best way is to go and manually remove edge loops/vertices (with backspace) in the polygonal modeling tools. It keeps the UVW and shouldn't break the animations but if your model has shitty topo to begin with it won't be of much use.
 
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Poly modeling in max and other programs (edit poly modifier in max) allows you to remove vertices and edges by selecting them and hitting backspace.
This doesn't delete the part of geometry, but attempts to remove it in respect to the surrounding topology.

This is an edge loop, you can remove all those edges and vertices without affecting the topology much. So if your model is neatly modeled you should be able to add/remove edges like this fairly easily and it shouldn't affect the uvws (unless that edge is the edge of an uvw isle) or animations.
Though it is tough, depending on the model it may be less or more likely that removing too many vertices won't be very possible.
Still 3k vertices sounds like a whole lot, I would make sure if faces aren't duplicated somewhere, if it is a rip chances are they may be.

edge_loops_sphere.png
 
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As I said, select the edges (black lines) that you want to remove while in an edit poly modifier and hit backspace. Then go and select leftover vertices and hit backspace while having them selected as well.

This will make the program attempt to remove the selected geometry without affecting the surrounding geometry or UVWs.

Some edges/vertices will be impossible to remove because the program won't be able to find a way to remove them without breaking the topology.

Not sure how well it will work with animated models, but definitely worth a try.
 
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As I said, select the edges (black lines) that you want to remove while in an edit poly modifier and hit backspace. Then go and select leftover vertices and hit backspace while having them selected as well.

This will make the program attempt to remove the selected geometry without affecting the surrounding geometry or UVWs.

Some edges/vertices will be impossible to remove because the program won't be able to find a way to remove them without breaking the topology.

Not sure how well it will work with animated models, but definitely worth a try.

Ohh, now I finally get what you mean. The model will automatically adjust with the removed edge loop.
 
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