Where to start: If I want create PS1 style game art?

First, hopefully this is the correct sub-forum.

Second, lets assume I know absolutely nothing about 3d modeling, except that it exists.

I want to create PS1 style 3D models. I have Blender, and a Blender book for learning Blender.

Besides learning blender, (assuming that’s the best option), what are some good resources?

For example, tutorials on PS1 style game art.

*** Probably important to note: I am not dead set on exactly recreating PS1 style art. A little modern flare would be just fine, especially if it means I can same some time.

I am more interested in keeping the blocky, triangle, low poly look.

Hopefully this all makes sense, I find it hard to ask these questions, when I am not entirely sure exactly what I am looking for.

Thanks in advance!

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Look at polycount low poly thread and study low poly game, there is some tut on low poly graphics too. Basically it’s just regular 3d, with, depending on how close you want to be:

  • low number of bones (6 per characters at best)
  • low number of polygon (500 is being generous per character, 3000 for the whole scene ON SCREEN (entire scene can have more), DS games have 2048 hard limit as a reference)
  • low texture resolution (32 max) unfiltered (jaggy, no bilinear interpolation, no mipmap)
  • no perspective correction on texture
  • low vertices position precision (wobbly movement)
  • 1 vertex per bones
  • low memory and computation, ie low number of texture and active elements.
  • low screen resolution (320x200 or something close).

Now you can pick and choose these elements to make your own vision.

  • Bone, texture and polygon per object is straightforward
  • Polygon per view is more difficult, as you must monitor what’s on screen at any moment.
  • low vertices precision is easy, you intercept the shader than do:
    o.vertex = UnityObjectToClipPos(v.vertex);
    and you cast it to a lower precision structure (ie: half instead of float, hasn’t checked which precision)
  • Low visual memory is as easy as limiting the resolution and number of texture, overall memory is more difficult to get similar
  • low compute is a bit harder to limit consciously, aside from plausible number of objects
  • I have no idea for texture perspective correction

Also you use keijiro low hardware SRP proof of concept:


Your biggest pain points will be joints:

Look for low poly joints

Also don’t be fool by your memory, some people has become over the time VERY good at exploting the limit of low poly to make amazing works:

lots of dead links :frowning: LOW-POLY ART — polycount

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Keijiro’s Retro3D is actually worse than the real PS1.
This project is a little more faithful to the actual limitations of the PS1 but is probably swinging a little far the other way and is a bit better than the real PS1.

Either way, @neoshaman ’s nice long list is great. Beyond that, focus on faking details and shapes with the texture. The model exists to be only the most basic silhouette of the intended object.


Also no compression. Modern GPU texture compression is designed around high resolution textures, not pixel art. The PSX textures were compressed, but using 16 or 256 color textures and texture palettes (like a gif), but no modern GPU supports this kind of compression.

Really PS1 style art comes down to being incredibly sparing and fastidious with where and how you use your polygon and texture detail. After that it’s just about getting good at it.

Thanks for the help! I will research the things you 2 mentioned some more.

I forgot about palette :hushed:
You can emulate palette with grayscale + ramp texture, which is actually a nice way to reuse and compress even today (as long as you have point filtered texture). Also dithering, banding artefact to emulate less color depth (16 bits I think, I'm not too sure about the psx's).

Eventually you could use "tiling" too to emulate saturn type of 3d, with another texture that reference a texture atlas of "sprite part". Or a fictious 3d psx that never was :smile:, still in point filtering.

I leave out compression due to not be visual in the most part, though the artefact might be :roll_eyes:

You certainly can emulate a palettized texture by using two textures, but a 32x32 uncompressed RGB texture with no mips is 24k and can “emulate” it just fine if you just limit the source art’s palette. Unless you’re looking to do palette swaps, or trying to precisely limit your entire pipeline to as close to the original hardware as possible, it’s kind of overkill.

Especially if you’re only trying to emulate the aesthetic and not hardware limitations explicitly.

That’s exactly what I’m looking for. I have no need to have the exact specifications of the PS1. I just want the models to look like they are from that era.

Yeah the “hardware limitation” talk is basically just here for context anyway.

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If you look at something like Tekken 3 for the PS1 it has quite high poly characters (for the time) and detailed backgrounds. But the backgrounds are a cheat, it's effectively a flat scrolling texture. Only the floor and the characters are using polygons, and it's roughly a total of 2000 polygons (specifically triangles) for both characters, the floor, and any fx.

These days Unity's default skybox is over 3000 polygons by itself.

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Another fun facts, the number of average authorized polygon per character for a game is the entire polygon budget of the earlier generation for a single scene. 3000 was a hard limit on psx and n64, more or less, by ps2 characters in a typical game was 3000, fighting game as much as 8000 because there is not a lot more. when ps3 happen character in ninja gaiden was 50 000 poly, which was the budget for entire scene in ps2 era, that’s not enough for ps4 era character, the face of the character might sink that whole number. In France a video games journalist (Moulinex in joystick mag) had a saying: today’s cinematic are the real time of tomorrow.

Just found an interesting project that maybe related to the topic here.




Thanks zwcloud, I think this is the best shader out there, it looks very much like PS1 graphics and is very customizable :slight_smile:

In need to learn how to make a character model in blender but no good tutorials on YouTube most ones i watched kind of are time-lapse’s are legit tutorials that don’t even let you see what tool their using they just say “now do this and it should look like this” they don’t show what they click on! I’m losing my mind i just need to make a ps1 style person for my game

I’m sure there are tons of good tutorials out there for blender, you just have to know what you want to know.
For beginning I would recommend you to watch the glorious Blender donut tutorial by Blender Guru over here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjEaoINr3zgEq0u2MzVgAaHEBt--xLB6U.
It consists of 24 videos covering the most crucial parts of blender work flow and are very beginner friendly.
Check out his other videos too if you want, he’s got tons of cool stuff.
Once you get to know the naming of different methods used in 3d modelling, you can easily Google them up if you forget precisely how to use them in Blender.
Good luck modelling! :wink:

@SebDev1 and @jforrest1980
Check out this cool tut guys.

I didn't find one on ps1 characters yet, but I'll try and look for a good one.

Edit: @SebDev1

Okay, I found one on the same youtube channel. Enjoy!


Is this style perhaps closer to what you were looking for?