I've got a highly-detailed mesh of curtains, similar to what you'd find on a stage. The mesh currently has eight objects/materials (1 material per object), but in reality it only needs two - the large middle curtain and the gathered curtains on each side. The two side curtains use the same texture, and the four objects comprising the middle curtain all use the same texture.
What I'd like to do is merge the two side curtains into a single object (each side is currently 2 separate objects), then merge the middle curtain objects into a single object. After several google searches, I've found how to join objects but they're still appearing as separate objects.
Is there a way to combine multiple objects into a single one?
Also, is there a way to reduce the overall number of vertices and/or faces? The entire mesh currently has around 700k faces, and so far decimate can only get it down to around 350k before the mesh starts deforming.
BTW: Losing UVs isn't a big deal for me. Since we're only talking eight materials here, I can easily remap everything if I have to. My primary concern is that the exported mesh is as simple/optimized as possible while still looking good.
EDIT: If it will help, here's a link to the 3DS file I started with: Curtain Mesh