Retopology Design Task

William just updated the Retopology design task. Current plan is to add tools to Edit Mode, with some better display/snapping options and obviously new tools.

Here is the task again, so you don’t have to scroll to the first post:


so we won’t have advanced feautres and putting everything in edit mode, that’s a bad decision imo, they should have stayed with the initial plan looking at how bad edit mode performance is, this might be even a bigger problem and we’ll have to find hacks like in other softwares by splitting the mesh and what not just because few people didn’t like a separate mode.

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We can improve certain tools, such as Poly Build, and also add more edit mode tools. Even though they may be more constrained inside Edit Mode

Pretty much…


That is honestly quite disappointing. Imagine having to go into Edit Mode after working on a 5+ million vertices sculpt just to access the retopology workbench. Performance would tank hard for a significant amount of time just to start working on top of the original mesh you selected. Not to mention there would be no guarantee that performance would get better after that either. Or do they still expect you to create a new object mesh and then add modifiers like in the FlippedNormals video to compensate for the lack of a fully dedicated workbench built for retopology? If that’s the case, the core issues with retopology will not have been solved with their “new” approach.

The proposal is to have a new snapping tool that does what project snapping/shrinkwrap currently is used for. Also a new display because Blender still doesn’t have an ideal setup for that. It’ll likely have a Retopology workspace tab, which sets all this stuff up automatically.

Design tasks are just starting points. They will iterate over the design as they discover things that work/don’t work. Later on, if they determine it should be a separate mode, they can still do that. It really isn’t worth getting anxious about at this point.


this is not about being anxious or not but about the bigger plan, i assume you have read this from Pablo.

If we want complex semi automatic retopology tools, brushes and so on, we will want to have a new internal API that makes the development of these tools as easy as possible…this is going to be an insane amount of work and bug fixing just for these corner cases.
Some of these tools are hard to code even in a clean environment that should provide a separate retopology mode. Just getting the snapping, symmetry and the viewport visualization right is a huge challenge.

this means a different approch to the design, which could take even longer as the changes happen if they ever decide to make it a separate mode and some sacrifices to these advanced tools have to be made as it’s too much work.

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Bad edit mode performance shouldn’t be a reason why we choose edit mode vs a new retopo mode, because that’s not a design problem, but a performance problem that will eventually be fixed.

All in all, I honestly think this is a better starting point than having a retopo mode. At least we won’t need to switch between modes all the time, and edit mode will benefit from those new tools as well, and it’ll all converge to provide a greater flexibility.


Supposedly you do not enter Edit mode with your heavy mesh when retopo, but you work in Edit mode on your Low Poly retopo mesh:


hate to break it to you but edit mode performance is not a priority from what i have seen,
also the reason for a seperate mode is what Pablo said…to have more advanced tools than just basic mesh editing…etc, so trade offs have to be made: flexibility instead of power.

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Of course it is, there are plenty of tasks on the development tracker that tackle just that. It’ll be solved, I’m certain. It’s such an obvious bottleneck for everyone !
I’m not sure I understand your second point though - how does working in edit mode prevent making advanced tools ? What makes an advanced tool that would be incompatible with edit mode ?

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Wise move.
There’s no need for another edit mode. Blender needs unification of the systems, not separation.


u should read the discussion in the task between the devs and users and why they think a separate mode is better suited for advanced tools than edit mode… it has to do with adding more complexity to edit mode code that could back fire in the future(that’s my inner thinking), not to forget blender has the slowest edit mode of any 3d software & to even gain a slight speed is something hard to achieve as it touches many parts of the software…i think we’ll have to wait for at least a year before even seeing any small improvements as it won’t be any in 2.81 or even 2.82…

Finally some common sense. :v:


William Reynish (billreynish)

“Ok, after discussing this more with @Pablo Dobarro (pablodp606), we agree to change the approach and try and incorporate better retopology support inside Edit mode.
This is how we think it can be done:
Add a Retopology overlay display option, replacing the current Hidden Wire Edit mode display
Add a Retopology snapping option, which allows snapping to self while also projecting onto source, and snaps the current selection.
We can improve certain tools, such as Poly Build, and also add more edit mode tools. Even though they may be more constrained inside Edit Mode, we can try to use this as a test-case for more advanced gizmos and tools in general”


There are similarities, yes, and they have said they will look at how this will evolve as Blender gets better at support - but the tools that John has designed in RetopoFlow are much better than some uderstand, and they really do work very well.

Also, I still use RMB select in 2.8, always have during 2.8 dev and will not be going to LMB select - this is a non-issue, the tool paradigm fits nicely alongside the user’s decision to select hwo they want.

That is how RetopoFlow works basically, you are only in edit mode on your retopo object.

Blender just need better edit mode tools.
Poly build is interesting but coould be way better, like poly qilt.
Could be nice to have some bsurface tools inside it too.

In fact, just one active tool can do the work for a basic and powerfull retopo tool.

No need fancy tools people will not use, make the basic great and it will be ok.


I have been following it since the start, and I don’t really see an answer to “how does working in edit mode prevent making advanced tools ?”. One point raised by Pablo is that code is going to be a mess - that’s not a valid point for the end user, even though I understand the technical and code design challenge can be intimidating.

William says

we wanted to add more advanced tools which wouldn’t be easy to add to Edit Mode as it exists today.

…but he’s never saying why… so right now the argument I find a bit weak.

Just quoting myself here if that’s ok

I may be wrong ! - but since you just repeated that assertion I figured you might have missed my answer ?

it’s not the main reason but it correlates with it, a new mode is basically starting from a blank slate so u can add advanced tools like semi-auto system ,brushes or more complex solutions that might never see light in edit mode without the performance issues since it won’t be bound to it, and u can have as many tools as you want with their own keymap and not bloat one mode…i am not a dev so i can’t give you a technical reason but this is how i see it… as users we can only wait and see how it’ll turn out then make assessment on the pros & cons compared to more specialized solutions out there.

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it seems poly build is now “the main tool” for retopo duh.