In the following article you shall find several ‘tips and tricks’ that I consider useful for texturing lowpoly 3d models, in a bunch. Namely, 1k texture with a 1k polycount per model. The software used are 3DCoat and Adobe Photoshop. The models are the property of Renderbot.
Choosing the color scheme for lowpoly 3d models
Color theory is an in-depth topic. Hope our readers are already familiar with the basics. If you are barren for ideas, there are handy sites, such color.adobe.com or paletton.com, that allow you to create a random palette. Next are several rules of thumb, for choosing most advantageous color schemes for lowpoly 3d models.
The colors should look nice on a small scale
To ensure it, color values should have a nice range gap between them. This way, it helps to maintain a good contrast between the different elements of 3d model. You can check your values by turning your diffuse map black and white. And making sure that you use a complementary color in your scheme.
Unified colors and general consistency
In my experience the best color scheme for small lowpoly 3d models is an analogous color scheme. Analogous scheme includes colors with position next to each other on the color wheel. Two of them are primary colors, while the third is a mix of the two. Even better is to choose an accent complimentary color, primary to your dominant one, as an accent color. Vary hue and saturation of your colors to achieve a refined palette.
Once you are done, add a layer atop, filled with a solid color (mode: overlay, opacity: around 13%). The color choice dictates by whether your palette is warm or cold (i.e a warm palette = an orange color). It will help to unify the colors further, for the idea is similar to glazing that painters use.
Such adjustments as Photo Filter or Color Lookup provide the same effect, if you have difficulty in picking the color on the go. Do so for several models, and you will achieve consistency throughout all your color schemes. Thusly, the finished models shall look good side by side.
Diversity in colors of lowpoly 3d models
It is not an easy puzzle to come up with 30+ different palettes in a short amount of time. It is highly advisable to use references to refresh imagination.
Another handy tip is to take a palette of a lowpoly 3d model that you are already satisfied with and apply hue/saturation adjustment to it, moving the hue slider until the result sparks a new eye-catching option. Sometimes, it is beneficial to change only certain elements. For example, if your models are casually dressed, many are likely to wear jeans. Leave jeans color the same on a few models, but choose different colors for T-shirts.
You can also use the same color scheme on several models (a slight hue change is advisable), but apply colors in different proportions. Or, for instance, use several identical skin tones, but vary hair-colors. Such an approach also helps unification – this way, your models will look like they belong in the same “world”.
Read some more experiments with texturing of 3d models.