Retopology Overview

Old Retopology Overview


Why Re Topologise?
Base meshes are extremely important for animation. There is just too much detail in million polygon meshes. These are lovely to sculpt but terrible to rig and animate. So we need to re do the mesh so that it works for animation. This is called retopologising.

Auto Retopology
There’s a few ways to do this. The most efficient method is to use automatic retopology tools found in Mudbox, ZBrush and 3d Coat. Then clean up the topology in Maya 2014 or Topogun.


Auto Retopology in Mudbox

Tweaking the Final Model
Once the topology is done I teach students to use hires model, usually the decimated/optimised version of the highres sculpt as a template in maya. Then we can compare the new topology to the original sculpt. If you put the hires model and key it’s visibility there’s a neat way of comparing your sculpted mesh with a subD smoothed mesh. Then you can model as per normal in Maya with it’s polygon modelling tools.

Unless the character/object has a lot of fine detail, very small wrinkles/warts/fine bumps we usually try to get the character to look as good as possible in maya without needing to use displacement mapping techniques.


Topogun is fantastic program for retopologising 5 stars! It’s only $100 to buy and comes with a 30 day free license (no save function). It is an easy package to learn. Digital Tutors has 2 video tutorial sessions on Topogun. Only 3hrs total to get your head around the program.

Getting started with Topogun is extremely Easy. It’s by far the easiest program to teach. Here’s my Quickstart Notes with a lot of videos teaching how to get started quickly and my workflows.

Topogun Course Videos

2 Topogun Paid Tutorials (Digital Tutors)

Getting Started with Topogun 1hr 41 mins

1. Overview
2. why the need for topology
3. Interface
4. Changing layouts
5. Files and how to work with them
6. simple create tool
7. simple edit tool
8. draw tool
9. bridge tool
10. modifying geo
11. viewing and selecting
12. working with symmetry
13. generating maps
14. using subdivision to retopo a hires geo to mudbox or zbrush
15. creating secondary geo

Topology Tools in Topogun 2 (54mins)

New tools in topogun 2. Making tubes is now extremely easy, extrude, brush tools, all very good to know about.
1. Overview
2. cylinders with draw
3. tube tool
4. extrude tool
5. brush tool
6. symmetry
7. Symmetry warps
8. Morpher

10 Step Character Creation Process by HazardousArts

Video 1.1: Retopogising An Imported Base Mesh-Topogun (8:06 mins)


Video Notes

Cleanup Retopology
Topogun has the best cleanup retopology tools. Maya 2014 has adequate retopology cleanup tools with quad draw in the Maya Modeling Toolbox.

Cleanup Retopology Using Topogun (tutorial)


Video 1.2: Retopology WithZRemesher and maya Modeling Toolkit (5:05 mins)


Video Notes

Cleanup Retopology
Cleanup Retopology Using Maya 2014 (speed demo)


Video 1.3: ZBrush 4R6:A Look At ZRemesher (8:06 mins)


Video Notes

We can automatically retopologise models in Mudbox, ZBrush and 3dCoat. I teach both the ZBrush and Mudbox methods. Either programs will be fine to use. So I will retopo in the program I sculpted.

Here’s an article comparing Mudbox and ZBrush’s automatic retopology by Robert Vignone

ZBrush (coming soon)

Video 1.4: Retopology with Maya & Mudbox 2014 (4:41 mins)


Video Notes

Mudbox (coming soon)

Video 1.5: NEX Quad Draw Tip Part 1/3 (6:01 mins)


Video Notes

Maya – Quad Draw Retopology

Quickstart Notes for the Quad Draw

Here’s an old demo of Quad Draw back when it was still a Nex Plugin pre 2014.

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