Retopo like NEX (Maya)?

Maya has a set of Modeling tools which used to be a 3rd party plug-in but is now integrated in 2014 called NEX. There are a bunch of tools which make generating meshes very easy. Two things about it which are very handy are:
Quad tool - click to place vertex points (can constrain to existing mesh or snap to grid)
then you simply hold SHIFT to form a face between vertices

I feel very comfortable with Blender’s modeling workflow. I usually merge verts on a plane and then extrude the lone vertex point to make outlines, edges, and then fill with faces or bridge. But is there a way to snap points to an existing mesh surface (not verts) to make retopologizing easier like NEX?

Please don’t mistake my question as an insulting comparision between Maya and Blender. I feel like Blender must have something that works like this and I just don’t know it.

The main tools to help retopo (in no particular order):

  • Face snapping. 3D header. Ctrl+shift+tab to select snapping element, shift+tab to toggle on/off, ctrl to toggle while moving, header for other options
  • Bsurfaces addon. Draw lines with grease pencil, generate surface between.
  • Shrinkwrap modifier
  • Contours addon from cgcookie.

F2 addon helps to fill faces fast. New grid fill (ctrl+F -> grid fill) is handy too. Improved bridge (W -> bridge edge loops) can also do multiple cuts.

That’s a great list, thank you!

10 years later… Maya Nex is built in with Quad Mesh and Blender has still kinda sucks and is about as intuitive as a dead goat… what a mess.

Check out the two Asons (free / paid)

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Not sure the logic behind digging up a 10 year old post just to whine about something…

Instead, maybe you should just use maya…


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Maya are indeed have more variety of tools.
Since those “nex tools” is something leading to outdated like 460p videos, things which i know for sure:
1 - Maya have auto conforming/shrinkwrapping/whatever system as topogun and i boubt - other industry tools.
2 - Maya have more ways to do stuff faster like in this video
theres no such tool in blender which will be that simple and nice to intreract with.

In case you need a solutions (not perfect, of course):

  1. “DrawX-Ray With Conform” addon. Its shrinkwrap modifier behing the hood, but its apply/reapply those modifier again and again automatically. Cant say it works perfectly, but way better than outdated addons (cant remember the name) where you was have a button like “Apply” and would need to press its manually to run those “modifier apply - re-add modifier” chain.
    Also it helps to dealing with mesh backfacing.
  2. PolyQuit addon have basically 1to1 (like 95%) way to extrude edges with automatic welding to surrounding vertices as in the video i linked before.
    Polygon creation are a bit clunky, but not bad at all.

TBH im pretty rarely retopology something organic, and no way i would use such tools for hardsurface which i normally do, so maybe for a long retopo session its really crucial to have best possible tools.
But except those “auto shrinkwrapping” part i cant say theres really a that big differences between maya and blender if we would compare the basic tools.

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Im personally appreciate his shout. First of all criticizm is good. Even if its not so constructive - it may push people to ask questions like “I was think everything is great! Or its not?”.
And the second and most important: 10 years passed. Ten years. Ten long years where so much of crap happened. We have at least a small spot. Small cozy island of - stability. Isnt that great?

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I agree 100%. There’s also a right way and a wrong way of doing things. Digging up a 10 year old thread and criticizing the lack of a tool isn’t going to be noticed by anyone who guides the development of blender. It’s actually pretty much like talking to a brick wall.

If blender lacks the tools an artist needs and maya has those tools, then use maya, and quit complaining. Go on about your day and don’t rain on anyone else’s parade.


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If they needed 10 years to guide blender to where its at now I’d say they haven’t been doing a good job at all. Beside the original topic would have only been the same as me creating a new topic to say the same thing… why not bump a thread that sat here 10 years… says it all really.

seems like the only people actually dragging blender out of the stone age of garbage ux and design are all the people making third party addons… I did look into that retopoflow plugin and perhaps it has some inspiration from nex for maya might be pretty good to use so will give it a try.

It’s a shame blender default hotkeys are just retarded though and ux to do things is just the weirdest jank ever, I bought the plugin which improves things a bit, but you know most addons will have to work around defaulty keybinds… industrial standard lol maybe another 10 years.

Like I said:

Also, if an artist needs special tools - be it software, paint brushes, pencils - to create good art, how good is the artist?

A good artist can create good art without needing special tools, paint brushes, pencils…


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