How do I achieve this really nice visual effect / style for my meshes?

I’m working with my team to try and get the visual style of the graphics right. The intended effect I have in mind is similar to these low-poly assets - even though they’re really low-poly, they still look really good.

I don’t have a lot of experience in 3D graphics, and have a couple of questions:

  • is there any name for this particular style? or if you had to refer to it in words, what would you describe it as?
  • what are the techniques/strategies to achieve this kind of look? we’ve come up with two ideas so far:
  1. using point lights to make parts of the mesh slightly brighter. the concern with this method is performance implications of having a bunch of point lights for every mesh in the scene
  2. using textures to achieve the same effect (currently our meshes are very simple and have no textures).
    the concern with this method is the increased asset size that clients will need to download (and also the reference images below look like they potentially don’t utilise any textures at all)
  • are there any other ways to achieve this look that we may be missing? whether it be any modelling techniques eg. material properties, or some other application of lighting / different types of lighting?

Has anyone tried to do anything similar to this with Babylon before? If anyone has, or knows of any demos or existing projects out there that do something similar, please let me know so I can have a look, many thanks in advance.

The secret is definitely in proper lighting, shadowing and ambient occlusion. That together with really good low-poly models.

You can see that all of those above are pretty well lit.

Using PBR materials will allow you to achieve impressive lighting results.

Alternative would be to bake lighting and ambient occlusion into textures. Some people still bake into vertices, but for very low-poly that is hard to reach good results.

I am a programmer, though, so artists might come with other/better advices and tricks.


in addition to what @imerso said, you could use a VrayEdge Texture (in case u work with Vray) in the bump channel to bake this little chamferEffects of the corners in the normal. That looks always very good - but it’s just detail.