The main optimization is now complete. Before we find out how we are doing as far as the polygon count is concerned, let's look at the appearance of our character. Figure 5.53 shows our model of Kila before and after optimizationcan you tell which is which?
Figure 5.53. Character model comparison. Which is the optimized version?
If you look closely, there are subtle differences now. The main difference, however, is that one version has 1054 more polygons. You can see from this example that removing polygons does not mean you have to sacrifice the detail or even the shape of a character. What it does mean is that you have a well-constructed and efficient model that doesn't eat up lots of processing power because it has 1000 polygons in an ear that the player never sees. It pays to be ruthless!
So where are we now with Kila? Remembering that our limit is 4500, let's see how many polygons she currently holds. Select all the geometry, and go to Polygons > Triangulate and read the onscreen display. Our current polygon count is 4802. Hmmm, not badbut we're still 302 over our limit. There's one remaining area where we can reduce to pare down these faces a little more: the hands.
Remember to undo (Z/Cmd+Z) the triangulation before you proceed.
Kila's hands at this point do house a lot of detail, so reducing them by 151 polygons each should not significantly reduce their quality. We should be able to have all five fingers articulated, without having to resort to a mitten hand or one with frozen fingers.
So what's available for optimization? We can start by removing the fingernails. Here we have to remember that when working on the fingers, if we alter one we must do the same on the other four. They all have to match or they will look odd.
The main hand area is now done, but we can reduce it even further by optimizing the fingers.
This operation not only removes the side-finger divisions but also reduces the number of mesh divisions on the underside of each knuckle from 3 to 1.
We will leave the bottom curve of the fingers intact. This will provide a little more shape than they would have if we reduced them to cubes.
Once all the digits have been done, the hand is finished (Figure 5.63).
Figure 5.63. Final optimized hand model