Low Poly and UV's - Side Table Legs

General / 20 May 2021

I thought I'd share the happy process of making low poly's and UV's with you. <3 It's really fun, if you enjoy pain like I do.

There's nothing new to learn here, just plain old whatever you learned in 3d school. Today we're doing the legs of my side table. 


  • Put on a calming soundtrack that you can loop 50 times without getting sick of it. I prefer this over multi-tasking with youtube tutorials or even music with lyrics... don't wanna distract myself with my tear-jerker sing-along of "Landslide".
  • I make a copy of my midpoly as my backup. Not doing so may later result in a desire to flip a table.
  • I take another copy of my midpoly and subdivide to make the high poly. I put that that into a layer in Layer Editor and hide it away. I find that having my highpoly in my layers helps me toggle the visibility and bring up the wireframes very quickly.
  • Then, I take yet another copy of my midpoly for my low poly and delete three other legs and keep just one because the thought of UV'ing three other legs crushes my spirit.

Low Poly rough list of steps I do. 

  1. Delete faces where necessary. In my case, the faces that intersect the tabletop and the cross stretcher.
  2. Delete edges where necessary. Edge loops or too many edges on the sides of cylinders, or edges that could make your tris into quads, like in the caps of cylinders.
  3. Check size and corners of low poly against high poly (using both shaded and wireframe views) and resize as necessary.  
  4. Soften all edges.
  5. Tie up edges where a cylinder meets a cube (target weld the verts - if you have a graphics tablet, use the pen to drag the verts, saves your wrist). If the edge is properly tied up,  where an edge is a "triangle", you might be able to delete an entire edge loop by double clicking the edge.
  6. Check again to see if there are any more edges I can delete. I promise myself a chicken nugget for every polygon I can cut. 
  7. Harden edges where necessary.


Hot tip: If there's a lag when moving the UV shells around the UV editor in Maya like it's choking, I find that deleting history on the geo clears this up.

My preferences  for this unwrap:

  1. Cylinder caps and other "cap-like" surfaces: Planar
  2. Cylinder sides: Cylindrical projection
  3. Cube: Automatic
  4. Ensure seams are in an inconspicuous area and that seams are cut where there are hard edges
  5. Unfold and straighten as necessary
  6. Set to correct texel density
  7. Preliminarily arrange UV shells


  • Mirror the table legs so they can share UV's.
  • Once I'm done UV'ing the rest of the table, I'll assign materials.
  • I'll then finalize the arrangement of the UV shells, including moving shared UV's one grid over
  • If I'm feeling spicy, I will move shared UV's back to 0-1 and place them uniquely so they can have individualized textures especially if they can be seen in the same view. I do this in order of what would look most obviously repeating.
  • Test bake and tweak as necessary until you get to about low poly version 21 which is the perfect version ready to texture.
  • Buy a whole cheesecake for myself.

Test bake and red steel test material in Substance Painter


 Olivia blogs every Thursday here on Artstation.

Follow Olivia also on instagram at @oliviaongai.

See you next week!!!! <3