What is Level of Detail (LOD) in 3D Modeling


What is Level of Detail (LOD) in 3D Modeling?

Mai K. Sosa

In the world of 3D modeling, striking the optimal balance between visual realism and computational efficiency is an ongoing challenge. This challenge is met using a technique known as Level of Detail (LOD).

LOD is a crucial concept that is used in a variety of sectors, including video games, architectural visualization, virtual reality, and computer-aided design (CAD).

In this article, we will delve into what LOD is and how it is employed to enhance 3D models while optimizing performance.

What is 3D Modeling?

3D modeling is the process of creating a computer-generated object or character that is represented in 3D space, often known as a model or an asset.

3D models are used in a variety of films and games for a variety of objectives. They can be rigged and animated, put in a scene as a stationary item, merged with other objects to create a set/environment, summed or destroyed, and utilized as shadows or holdouts.

What is LOD (Level of Detail)?

LOD is an abbreviation for a level of detail, and it refers to the process of creating less detailed versions of your models for viewing when they are further away from the camera.

This reduces the pressure on the computer, allowing it to render more objects at a faster frame rate.

What is Level of Detail (LOD) in 3D Modeling

In general, two sections of the model are optimized for LOD. The geometry (polygon count) and texture resolution (lower resolution textures = reduced file size) are the two.

LODs are typically assigned numbers within the real-time engine that you utilize. LOD0 is the full-detail model shown closest to the camera. LOD1 is a lower-detail version, followed by LOD2, and so on.

Software You Need to Create LOD Models

Here are three 3D modeling software packages for producing LOD models:

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine includes the ability to automatically generate LODs from the textures you use, which saves a significant amount of effort. Set up and specify your LOD groups in the options menu before employing their automated LODs. You can manually set your LODs depending on LOD group presets (LOD0, LOD1, LOD2, etc.) for better versatility.


Maya allows you to build various versions of characters and objects that will be put in your scene based on predefined threshold values. This can be determined by the group’s proximity to the camera or by a proportion of the screen’s height.


Using the PolyReduce SOP, Houdini can also be used to automatically produce several LODS. These versions are determined by the object’s proximity to the camera (the viewer).

Advantages of LOD

When adopting BIM without specifying LODs or assigning the correct individuals to operate the tools, unnecessary field changes are fairly typical. There are several advantages to employing Levels of Development in a BIM model. Let us investigate some of these:

  • It assists all project stakeholders in staying on the same page so that there are no contradictions that jeopardize the project’s chances. Communication and collaboration become easier and faster when all stakeholders are on the same page.
  • Designers can provide guidance and data for employees working downstream to ensure zero lapses in execution and maintenance by using standardized specifications and detailed information about all the elements.
  • LOD enables design managers to better describe the needs of a 3D model to teams at various stages of the design process.
  • LOD also facilitates the definition of a standard for contractors who must oversee BIM execution.

How to Become a 3D Modeler?

If you want to become a 3D modeler, you should first become familiar with the VFX pipeline and/or the video game process, and you should be proficient in 3D modeling tools such as the ones listed above.

What is Level of Detail (LOD) in 3D Modeling

Employers and recruiters will typically require applicants to submit a portfolio or showreel that demonstrates their understanding of relevant tools as well as their aesthetic vision. You must also understand how to work to a brief, which includes receiving, understanding, and implementing feedback on your work.

Also, CheckWhat is Digital illustration? A Comprehensive Guide!

Directly learning from 3D modelers with first-hand expertise in visual effects, animation, and games is an excellent approach to getting the necessary abilities.

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