Good alternatives to Zbrush for retopology?


(Skyeshark) #1

I created this recently in Oculus Medium as a way to explore its viability for use in creating game assets/assets for real-time. I'm using this decimated, auto-UVed lowpoly as an environment prop clutter item, but I want to create a proper lowpoly for use on a character.

I am mostly a hard-surface artist without much experience in character art, and I purchased the Oculus a few months ago to begin to change that and use Medium as my main sculpting program. It definitely seems to work for producing quality highpoly pieces, but the process of retopologizing them in any manner other then taking the time to do it almost manually using retopoflow in blender is a bottleneck on this workflow for me.

I've seen what Zremesher can do, with how it allows you to mark the contours you want preserved and that looks amazing and way less time-consuming then drawing out the topology in blender. However, its not currently in my budget to pick up Zbrush, and I don't really want to buy a program that's that much just for one tool in it (unless they add VR sculpting in Zbrush, I'm not really that interested in using its base features). SO, with all that in mind, does anyone have any suggestions?

(Shaderbytes) #2

3d coat also has strong retopology tools where you can specify suggested edge flows and it fills in the gaps and auto topology etc. It is way cheaper than zbrush. I cant say how they compare though.

(Shaderbytes) #3

here is a video where you can see the 3dcoat retopo tools in action , I linked it to the part in the video he starts using those tools. if you watch for 10 minutes you will get an idea of how good the tooling is, but also he is only using a few tools from the tool shelf , 3dcoat very is a very deep and versatile application. It is not very intuitive to just pick up and learn without watching tutorials though. im still learning it myself since I have only owned it for a short while. but for retopo it is highly rated by cg artists

(Skyeshark) #4

Thanks for letting me know, I'll have to look into it!

(Mathea) #5

Maya has a really nice one aswell. Allows you to simply load in a high poly model (probably have to decimate it still before loading it into maya), then press 'make it live' and just draw your new topology on the high poly model by clicking on it with the quad draw tool. Really quick and once you know where the buttons are not hard at all. I use Maya in my workflow anyway so I use that for retopo'ing but you should go with the tool that fits in your workflow the most. Zbrush also has a similar tool like I described above where you can draw the new topology on the high one, don't really use that one as Maya is what I got used to, but I know professionals that use Zbrush for retopo so definetly viable.

(Shaderbytes) #6

you missed the part where the OP was price hunting for the best tool , maya and zbrush are not cheap :slight_smile:

(Skyeshark) #7

Hmm, looking at 3dcoat, it looks a lot like retopoflow in blender -- what I'm looking for is something equivalent to Zremesher. My main problem is that these drawing-based retopology tools, based on messing around with retopoflow for Blender... don't really handle this mixed organic/hardsurface type stuff very well (the arm).

(Shaderbytes) #8

3dcoat has an auto retop tool as well :slight_smile: just not used in this video. Actually later in this video series when doing the pants he does use the auto retopo function. that is obviously a simple shape , i have not personally done an in depth study on how good their automation is compared to zremesher on complex models. Im sure there must be some videos on youtube covering this.. I will have a look later today.

I do know and have dabbled with it a bit , it has some optional inline control points in the automation where you can suggest edge flow lines. I think zbrush has something similar. It is optional of coarse, you can just click and say do everything automatic.

(Skyeshark) #9

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm looking for - automated retopology that has manual edge flow defining.

(Skyeshark) #10

Yeah! Here we go: ... thank you, yes this is what I was looking for. Still open to any other suggestions though!

(Mathea) #11

In that case I'd suggest Topogun, a one time 100 dollar purchase. A program just about retopo'ing without other bells and whistles and a lot cheaper than 3D coat which is also ment for texturing. Not sure if topogun has an auto retopo function as I do not use it myself (know people that do though, they are happy with it) but since it is a software just for topology I'd assume it does.

Totally did not read the budget thing, since he had an Oculus I (incorrectly) assumed he would have a higher budget. @skyeshark if you are a student make sure to check which software has a student version and stuff.

(Shaderbytes) #12

could be mistaken but I dont think topogun has auto retopology.

(Klaasnienhuis) #13

Instant meshes might be what you're looking for:

(Skyeshark) #14

I'm not a he, fyi... also, Zbrush is a good 300 dollars more than Oculus even at Oculus's regular price, and the rift+touch is currently going at only 400, so zbrush is more than twice as much. Also, no, I'm just a self-taught freelancer, so no luck on student licenses, unfortunately.

(Skyeshark) #15

I messed with instantmeshes a bit and it honestly didn't seem any better than Blender's built in remesher, which is pretty awful compared to Zremesher. I'm starting to think Zbrush has some kind of patents preventing others from making a remesher that is as good -- don't know though, I'd have to compare 3d Coat's to be sure.

(Mathea) #16

Right, apologies about that, but that wasn't what my comment was about anyway. Just trying to recommend useful stuff to you, you know, taking some of my spare time trying to help people I don't know. I should've been more thoughtfull.

Make sure to give topogun a look it might be what you are looking for and is really cheap.

(Skyeshark) #17

I'll take a look, thanks for the suggestion!

(Stephomi) #18

Comparison 3d coat vs zremesher (cf screenshots, but that was in 2013 so maybe it's not up to date...

The reason is simpler : it's something very hard to do.

It's an active field in academic research though (e.g:

(Skyeshark) #19

Well then hopefully a university or other open-source focused group figures it out and reveals it at a SIGGRAPH soon...!

Or maybe Zbrush could offer a subscription payment model or a cheaper indie freelancer price point x.x, lol.

(Mathea) #21

Have you looked at Zbrush Core? Thought it was like 130 for single user license.