Quad Remesher — an auto-retopologizer from the developer of ZBrush ZRemesher — is available for Blender, following 3ds Max, Maya and Modo.
This thread was initiated several months before Quad Remesher was released for Blender, so only later posts were written after the release, starting with this post.
Check out the Quad Remesher FAQ and tips below the link…
About the author of Quad Remesher (@Max33)
Maxime Rouca is the developer of Quad Remesher. He has worked for Pixologic, developing ZRemesher, UV Master and Decimation Master for ZBrush. He has posted a few times in this thread, but as Quad Remesher is available for multiple 3D editors (3ds Max, Maya, Modo, Blender and soon Houdini and Cinema 4D), Maxime has to divide his time between multiple communities, and spend the rest of his time on further development.
About the author of this thread (@Metin_Seven)
I’ve been a fan of the impressive ZRemesher auto-retopologizer ever since I bought ZBrush 4R7 in early 2015, and it’s always been one of the few tools that forced me to go back and forth between Blender and ZBrush. So when the news arrived that ZRemesher was available as a stand-alone tool called Quad Remesher I was very excited, and contacted Maxime to ask for a Blender version. He was interested, and once he had started development I became a beta-tester of the Blender version.
That’s why I know relatively much about it, and love to help as many Blender users as possible to discover this very useful, workflow-easing tool. No strings attached, no hidden agenda, just good old-fashioned enthusiasm.
Quad Remesher FAQ (unofficial, by @Metin_Seven)
Q: What’s the added value of Quad Remesher compared to the Voxel remesher and Quadriflow remesher in Blender 2.81 and up?
A: Quad Remesher is not an ordinary remesher that projects faces onto a surface, but a cutting-edge auto-retopologizer with smart placement of edge loops and singularities, resulting in a mesh that is suitable for smooth subdivision without artifacts, proper UV mapping, easy rigging, and forms an optimal quad-poly base mesh for Multiresolution sculpting.
Just download the trial version and compare the results to other remeshers.
Q: Will Quad Remesher also do a good job on a mesh that has a messy triangular topology?
A: Quad Remesher works on every kind of mesh topology. It looks at surface characteristics like concavity, convexity and branching, then strategically places edge loops and (as few as possible) singularities. In fact, I’ve found that a triangular source topology often gives slightly better results.
Q: I’ve bought Quad Remesher and encountered a problem after installing (e.g. something regarding license activation). What should I do?
A: For technical support it’s best to contact the Quad Remesher developer directly.
Q: I miss a Quad Remesher for the Linux version of Blender. Will it follow?
A: It is not known yet if there will be a Quad Remesher addon for Blender on Linux, but it is possible to run Quad Remesher using Wine. Blender Artists member @Belistner has created a Quad Remesher Python script hack to facilitate this.
Please note that this is an independent initiative, and is not supported by Quad Remesher developer Exoside.
Q: The site’s link to the Blender Quad Remesher add-on downloads a small zip file with just a Python script, instead of a full Quad Remesher installer.
A: Once installed in Blender, the python script will automatically download and install the Quad Remesher module when you first try to retopologize something.
Q: Why is my UV mapping not preserved?
A: This is a limitation of the current version, but UV preservation will be added in a future update.
In the meantime, if you keep the Quad Remesher Quad Count as low as possible, the resulting mesh should be easily UV mappable. You can also try the Data Transfer modifier to get some or all of the UVs back.
Q: There’s a Face Maps 2 Materials operator that converts facemaps to material slots, but there’s no way to just use the Face Maps directly. How come?
A: The reason for this is: Quad Remesher uses the FBX format to transfer mesh data, and FBX doesn’t yet support Face Maps. Solving this would require a rewrite of Quad Remesher, or Face Maps support in an update of the FBX format. Hence the converter is added as a bonus option for those who have already assigned Face Maps to a mesh.
Q: The polygon count of the remeshed result doesn’t equal the entered Quad Count value.
A: Uncheck the Adaptive Quad Count option. That should result in a quad polygon amount that better matches your input value (although it can still differ a bit, because the algorithm needs a little flexibility for a proper solution).
Quad Remesher tips ‘n’ tricks
People who are not familiar with ZBrush ZRemesher tend to increase the polygon count a lot, figuring there should be enough polygons to capture all the details, but I advise the common ZBrush ZRemesher workflow for QuadRemesher in Blender:
- Set desired settings (e.g. symmetry).
- Run QuadRemesher with a relatively low Quad Count value, making Quad Remesher capture the global structure and surface flow of the source mesh.
The default value of 5000 is okay in many cases. Increase the Quad Count for highly detailed meshes. I usually don’t go beyond 12000.
- A copy of your source mesh will be made automatically, and made invisible.
- Add a Shrinkwrap modifier to the QuadRemeshed object, and assign the hidden source mesh to it.
Sometimes it works better to change the Shrinkwrap projection method to Project and check both the Negative and Positive checkboxes.
- Add a Subdivision modifier with one subdivision iteration.
- If necessary, repeat steps 4 and 5 to increase the level of detail derived from the source mesh.
This workflow is actually even better than ZBrush Project All, because it’s non-destructive. If you change something to the source mesh, it will automatically be reprojected to the QuadRemeshed mesh, then subdivided.
The low-poly base mesh + progressive subdivision approach is also ideal for a Multiresolution modifier sculpting workflow (although some work needs to be done on the Multiresolution modifier in Blender 2.81 at the time of writing).
There’s no tool yet in the current version to indicate a custom edge flow, like the ZRemesher Guide brush in ZBrush, but there are several ways to guide Quad Remesher in determining the new topology:
Activate the ‘Detect Hard Edges by angle’ option to make Quad Remesher automatically recognize hard edges, and place edge loops across those edges. This is very useful when you’ve used Boolean operations to combine primitives with hard edges.
You can assign materials to a mesh to guide Quad Remesher’s edge loop placement. This is comparable to the Keep (poly)Groups option in ZBrush ZRemesher. It tells the Quad Remesher algorithm to place edge loops across the boundaries of the materials, and the rest of the topology will converge to those edge loops.
Your source mesh doesn’t always have proper topology to assign materials. In that case you can use Edit Mode’s Knife tool (K) in Cut Through mode (Z after K) to slice clean cuts through a mesh where you want edge loops, then assign materials.
Alternatively or additionally, you can assign normals to groups of faces to retain existing edge loops.
Last but not least, you can use vertex paint to assign more polygon detail to specific areas, such as a mouth, and less polygon detail in other areas, such as the back of a head.
Try Triangulate + Beautify Faces to change the polygon structure into only triangles (no ngons) with a balanced structure. This makes the Quad Remesher algorithm more effective.
The Detect Hard Edges By Angle option auto-assigns Sharp edges as a guide for the algorithm. Sometimes it’s better to deactivate the option, especially if you already make use of other options, like the Use Materials option.
To use sharp edges, turn on Blender’s Object Data Properties ➔ Normals ➔ Auto Smooth, and set the angle to 180 so that non-sharp edges don’t get split. Instead of the hard edges option, use the Normals Splitting option in Quad Remesher. QR will then use the normal breaks that happen at sharp edges.
The scale of your mesh can sometimes make a difference. You can try running Quad Remesher on a few different sizes of your mesh and see which one yields the best result.
If you add a slight bevel to sharp corners, you guide Quad Remesher to form better edge loops.
A quick ‘n’ dirty example shape, Quad-Remeshed with a Quad Count of 1000:
To avoid the edge loop spiraling that sometimes occurs, divide a mesh into a few key sections. You can use Edit Mode’s Knife tool (K key) in Cut Through mode (Z key when Knife mode is active). Then assign materials to each part and activate the Quad Remesher materials option, similar to ‘Keep (poly)Groups’ when using ZBrush ZRemesher.
The spiraling shouldn’t cause artifacts / issues when subdividing though.
Quad Remesher’s neat topology flow is very suitable for use with the Bézier Mesh Shaper add-on. You can alternate Bézier Mesh Shaper editing and Quad Remesher retopology to progressively shape a mesh.