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I put a volume shader on a low poly model

And why low poly has 2 meanings

The Blend.

Become a better low poly artist in 5 minutes each week.

By Samuel Sullins

The Blend


Well not that big. Not bigger than the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon or anything.

It’s the first video of a new series I’m doing. In each one, i’ll interview a different REAL 3D artist.

Today, it’s Menno Van Roon.

  • ✅ Learn Menno’s theory on how details should be used in renders

  • 🎨 See me unveil a brand-new artwork…and watch Menno critique it

  • ✅ Watch us talk about the Low Poly Pick from last week’s Blend

  • ➕ More: Menno’s tips on backgrounds…does smooth shading make sense?…how to add interest with strategic bevels…

It really is worth watching.

Now back to the regular Blend:

I just finished this render:

It’s my first time using volumetric materials on low poly models. It works, but…

…it doesn’t look low poly anymore.

Will need to work on that problem. Still, the volume shader does make a very nice tornado.

I did the shattered ground in 2 steps: first, I used Geometry Nodes to randomize the ground mesh, along a curve.

Then I used the cell fracture add-on to shatter the road mesh, and positioned some of the pieces by hand. (The rest of the road is the original, un-fractured road.)

The grass is using a simple Voronoi material.

Today’s Technique

I’ve finally decided:

“Low poly” has 2 meanings.

  1. A mesh with fewer polygons.

  2. A simplistic art style.

When you’re working in that “simplistic art style,” you don’t have to use flat-shaded, few-polygon meshes. But it should seem like you do.

That means…

Try to stay low poly. But if you need something smooth, or all the polygons are making it all look too busy, smooth stuff helps.

If you’re confused, keep reading (it won’t clear things up, but it might distract you.)

1 Low Poly Pick

Your new favorite render, by Glen Johnston of Ammonite.

It’s amazing because he literally modeled the motion blur.

So many things are just sublime in this render.

  • The colors: nothing clashing.

  • The composition: bright on dark. Always works.

  • The motion: you can tell it’s moving. It’s like a video, paused.

  • The simple vs. detail: Glen makes everything as simple as possible (but still models the dancer’s facial features.)

  • The effects: the floating pieces add a sense of motion blur, but it’s stylized: it could be flames or dust, too.

Glen also uses a technique I’ve never seen in any other low poly art:

Empty space to add separation. You see it in the arms and the legs. They’re not connected, not even touching. It’s a sneaky way to add a “line” without adding anything.

Which is cool.

Can't think what to blend?

Try something burning. A wooden water tower, or a fireplace.

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