The example demonstrates how to optimize low-poly cylinders, including a bent cylinder and cylinder cap with an inner hole, by reducing edges while preserving the silhouette.
Optimize Low-Poly Bent Cylinders
In the first case, you can see the bent cylinders. The first one is not optimized, with 336 triangles.
First, we optimize the inner radius, as it doesn’t require as many edges to maintain a clear silhouette. We weld some points and create triangles on the sides of the cylinder.
The second step involves optimizing the cylinder caps by making quads and triangulating them. The optimized cylinder now has 232 triangles, resulting in a 37% reduction in triangles!
Optimizing Cylinder Caps with Holes
The second case showcases a cylinder with an inner hole. Here, we use the same tactics by welding points to create triangles and follow a uniform reduction of the cylinder edges.
This means that the length of the outer edge should be about the same as the length of the inner edge. For instance, if the outer radius has 24 edges, you can halve the count of the inner radius edges to 12 edges, etc. (the next example demonstrates how to use this technique). We reduced the cap from 48 to 36 triangles (-29%).
This method can be particularly useful for creating weapon muzzles, pipes, etc.
Uniform Edge Reduction for Multi-Level Cylinders
The third example shows how to deal with multi-level cylinders, reducing each next inner radius while preserving the visual proportions.
The outer radius has 24 edges, and for the next radius, we reduce it to 12 edges, and for the subsequent one, we reduce it to 6 edges.
This is an extreme reduction to illustrate the main principle. If the model will be close to the camera, it’s advisable to start with more edges, such as 64, to ensure better silhouette.
Before optimization, the detail has 240 triangles, but after the optimization, it consists of just 138 tris, resulting in a reduction of more than half of its weight (-54%).
If your project involves many cylinders, you should optimize low-poly cylinders to improve your low-poly meshes.
By using these simple techniques, you can optimize low-poly cylinders and significantly reduce the polygon count of your mesh by thousands of triangles!