Retopology - Which tool is the best?

which Blender Retopo tool (paid or free) is the currently the best? Is it still RetopoFlow or have better alternatives emerged?
I want to use it for a car - exterior and interior, so there are going to be hard surfaces as well as soft surfaces.

Retopoflow 2 is the best in my opinion, but it is still not great. It has the best toolset by far, but I used it for my last character and had to break it up into pieces because the performance was abysmal on dense meshes.

Retopoflow 1 has better performance but the instability makes it a nightmare to work with, and other retopology addons I’ve tried are largely buggy and poorly supported (if at all)…

In your case, for hardsurface meshes I would probably just build the lowpoly mesh out of the highpoly by duplicating it and shrinkwrapping it, then collapsing edges and using the regular polygonal modeling tools. Retopology addons are mostly designed for sculpted character meshes that don’t have organized, animatable base geometry to work from.

If you do end up using Retopoflow, focus on blocking out the edgeflow in big sections then use subdivisions to add geometry to round out the shapes. Don’t go polygon-by-polygon, that’s a waste of time. The main body of the car is the only thing I would worry about having performance problems with, you may need to break it up into a couple chunks.


also its gui a lilttle unstable it freezes blender…

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Ok, thanks guys. :smiley:

The thing is duplicating and collapsing won´t work because the car is CAD geometry which allways has terrible topology. I am supposed to turn it into good geometry.

CAD applications often produce poor meshes.
You could get a trial of Moi3d which can export mostly quad meshes from CAD surfaces. Its also a very inexpensive application (less than Rhino)
Rhino is moving toward better mesh export natively but currently needs the CreateQuadMesh plugin (on Food4Rhino). Get the Rhino trial and install the plugin (its free)

EDIT On 7/2/19 The CreateQuadMesh plugin was pulled from Food4Rhino and the function has been incorporated in Rhino7 beta (only available for licensed Rhino6 users)


what about using Poly Build :upside_down_face: <-im in love with this emoticon lol

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It really depends on how clean you want to get with these , there are whole range of internal/external tools that can create the ugliest to the nicest polyflow range. The nicest results are from the ZBrush retopo tools btw.

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He said he is going for car stuff, not sure if that is a good strategy given that there could be hundreds of pieces to consider.

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I´ve tested several things and I think using shrink wrap with the standard Blender tools - including Poly Build - is the way to go. RetopoFlow didn´t really click with me and since I have to work on the customers company computer it would take time to get new software approved for installation as well as me up to speed.

With automatic solutions I am not sure if they would be good enough as the customer needs a really clean mesh.

Thanks all for the information. :smiley:

The nicest results are from the ZBrush retopo tools

Maybe for automatic retopology. ZBrush has some of the worst manual retopology tools in the industry in my opinion. I’d suggest virtually anything else over ZBrush for manual retopo…

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If the CAD file is available it would be best to get the highest quality mesh from an export versus trying to retopo a poor mesh. I understand this may not be an option in your situation though

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Sadly it is allmost never possible to get a decent export because the engineers don´t know what kind of geometry 3D artists require and communication usually goes through a gazillion layers of managment.

Which program has the best manual retopo tools in your opinion? You mentioned Retopoflow above but is there a non Blender tool which is better?

I though you might be able to bypass the engineer altogether. If you had the CAD model you could generate a better mesh yourself. The difficulty would then be establishing who will provide you with a CAD app like Moi or Rhino that could export a much better quad mesh.

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Honestly aside from ZBrush and Wrap3/ZWrap, the rest are all pretty similar… If you didn’t like Retopoflow2 then you probably aren’t going to like the manual retopo tools in Topogun/3DCoat/Maya/Etc. either.

If I had to pick a best one, I think I might still pick Retopoflow2… Despite my complaints about the performance it has a solid feature-set that is well implemented. I just wish it ran better.

Admittedly, I haven’t used Max in years, or Maya in even longer. But based on the info I’ve kept up with I don’t expect they’re any better than Retopoflow2. Someone else might be able to give you more recent insight.

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Using Shrink Wrap in combination with the standard tools in Blender strikes me as very similar but better to the tools in Max. It´s probably 8 years ago that I used used them in Max so perhaps things have changed there. Anyways, I allways liked the Max retopo tools even though they did have some annoyances.
The cool thing about the Blender/Shrinkwrap/StandardTools way is that you don´t switch to another mode with a different way of operating. Since I do retopo once in a blue moon it is great that I don´t have to get used to a completely different way of interfacing.

Naturally that is what I meant.


Modo used to have decent manual retopo tools, I personally like doing manual retopo in Blender, it is very practical.

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I think 3dsmax Graphite modeling and 3d coat is the best tool for retopology in the world.the retopflow still not work for blender 2.8. so i have no choice.

unzip blender 280 on a usb stick add any addons to it and you don;t have to install it on a company computer, just open the blend exe file… no install. just an idea

Oh, I know. That was just the reason why I don´t use anything else like 3d coat or ZBrush.
Anyway, I´be been on the project for a while now and am very happy with the Blender + Shrink Wrap way. I like it even better than the 3ds Max Graphite tools which I used exessively back in the day and found pretty good.

Comparing Retopoflow 3 against 3DCoat 2021 with Smart Retopo it seems Retopoflow 3 is way better than 3DCoat.

3DCoat Smart Retopo is so glitchy where the drawn curves on cylindrical objects don’t conform to the sculpt, it doesn’t even respect the curves it does draw, and it’s got a horrible way to add drawn curves using the curve menu.

In Retopoflow 3 it seems super solid now. All the tools work so well with geometry, the other tools, and Blender as a whole. Double click to select a loop made by any means even outside Retopoflow and new loops can be made connected to that from that. Rotate the loop easy. Strips, patches, can be grown of geometry or placed from nothing. I’ve found nothing wrong with mirroring now. It’s far better than 3DCoat which I would put at second place.