Creating amazing 3D Models for Low Poly Style Games

For 3 years now I am accidentally involved in Game development. I am working with Blender 11 years, at first more like a hobby, and then as a contributor to image agencies.
During the past 3 years, I learned a lot about creating models for a game it is just another thing than doing 3D models just for fun or still renders. 

As fun (not) it would be to describe the whole process as text, I’m going to show you images of the process. I use a simple model of a Palm tree, one of my upcoming 3D-Assets for Game engines like Unity or Unreal.
To create my 3D Models and doing the Texture-Painting I am using Blender and BPainter as texture paint AddOn. If you do painting on a computer you should really use a tablet. I am using a Wacom tablet Intous Pro Medium, not the newest one but it does its job.

So let’s begin with the first steps, modeling the main parts of the Palm tree, the stem, and the foliage. 

Because this model is a Low-Poly Style Model I do not use that much Polygons.

Why Low-Poly Style and not Low-Poly, that’s is because out there are some really polygon minimalist fanatics saying.” No Sir there are still too many Polygons”. 

After the modeling and before I am going to unwrap these models I always do “Apply Rotation and Scale”.

After applying the rotation and scale I am going to join the models to unwrap them to make the models ready for Texture-Painting.
After joining the models I unwrap these models and placing them on the UV-Map so that there is no UV overlapping happening.

After the UV mapping is done I switch to Texture-Painting. For Texture-Painting I am using the amazing tool BPainter. The first step I create a Layer for the base color. 

After bringing in the base color I am starting to bring in the features of the foliage.

The main feature here is the middle of the foliage, just draw with a really dark green a “not so straight” line in the middle of the foliage and paint with a brighter color and lower the opacity of your brush. Use a soft falloff to get soft transitions between the colors.
The next step is to bring some more color onto the foliage. For this step, I use a new layer.

So let’s call that finish and turn over to the stem elements.

For the stem, I repeat the same steps but different… hmm yes… different.

As you can see the same steps but like I said before, different 😉

Because I have joined all together there is only one object instead of six. To get a good workflow and to not destroy our Texture painting I am going to separate all the objects so that I can work with single objects. 

Before I do that and because I am a little bit paranoid I always create copies in separate Collection to have the chance to go back when needed.
To be able to handle the separated models in a better way I move the point of origin to a logical position.

Right after moving the Cursor, I bring the Point of Origin to the Cursor position.

The next step is to repeat this for every object. Sometimes 3D modeling has a lot to do with repeating tasks.

Before we come to the fun part and putting all together I have to give the foliage some curvy look. So let’s do that.
By using the proportional editing feature I can bend the foliage by increase the influenced area of the tool with the mouse wheel and dragging the selected Vertices up.

To pronounce the foliage a little bit more I am bringing the complete center of the foliage a little bit down to help the painted center to be more realistic.

The next step is to do that for every foliage. 

As you can see every foliage has a different bend shape.
Now it is time to assemble the whole thing. At first, I am going to put the stem together by using our stem parts. Sure it would be possible to create that by using a curve and the curve modifier, but I prefer here the manual method.

As you can see the stem is looking pretty good. I created the stem by using the 3 stem parts I created earlier. And by scaling, duplicating, rotating and repositioning the parts it is pretty easy to create a good looking stem.

For the foliage I am using the same scaling, duplicating and rotation and while distributing the foliage I am bending the foliage again by using the proportional editing.

It looks Ok and it is ready to add maybe here and there some coconuts, but that is maybe a topic for another Post.