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Instant Meshes: A free quad-based autoretopology program


'Instant Field-Aligned Meshes; is a SIGGRAPH paper on a method that will automatically retopologize complex meshes. Watch the demonstration video and download the free desktop app for Windows, OS X and Linux.

Give it a try and share your results!

We present a novel approach to remesh a surface into an isotropic triangular or quad-dominant mesh using a unified local smoothing operator that optimizes both the edge orientations and vertex positions in the output mesh. Our algorithm produces meshes with high isotropy while naturally aligning and snapping edges to sharp features. The method is simple to implement and parallelize, and it can process a variety of input surface representations, such as point clouds, range scans and triangle meshes. Our full pipeline executes instantly (less than a second) on meshes with hundreds of thousands of faces, enabling new types of interactive workflows. Since our algorithm avoids any global optimization, and its key steps scale linearly with input size, we are able to process extremely large meshes and point clouds, with sizes exceeding several hundred million elements. To demonstrate the robustness and effectiveness of our method, we apply it to hundreds of models of varying complexity and provide our cross-platform reference implementation in the supplemental material.


About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I think there is a typo, isn't it QUAD-based? Or is qaud something else?
    Great tool, would be great to be more integrated in blender, but even as it is now its a great addition.

  2. Great tool,
    So far, used it on scanned 3d models, human characters, and used it halfway sculpting (just to get a bit more normal mesh again and then to later continue sculpting on it, so i got less sculpt artifacts.
    Wish it could be part of blender, but going export to obj then import obj, is no problem either.

    Very nice is the comb tool, that allows you to influence directions of the quad solution
    The fitting is also quit good, maybe a current backdraw to some, is that meshes are all mostly equal in size.
    So fitting text currently works not that ok, but on the other hand that's great for textures.
    I heard tool is in development so maybe they'll fix that later.

  3. It hasnt worked for me: for some models I strucked to the uploading to gpu phase and crashed for the others I only see some seperated floating polygons

    • Maybe your files where to large to fit together with the program in GPU kernel ?.
      Make sure you select only 1 object, gives better results to, when exporting to obj. (you need to eneable to only select current mesh object in obj exporter.

      • Stephen Norrington on

        getting the same error - can you describe how you forced your laptop to use the GPU for loading this program? - thanks!

        • Either go to the nvidia graphics control panel and tell it that when you start eh program to use the gpu instead of the onboard graphics card. Or you can set it so that when you right click one of the options will be to use a particular . Its under nivdias control panel > top bar > display and says "add run with graphics processor to context menu".

  4. Tried it and it is quite cool, but I could not get satisfying results for face retopo for example.. I think the problem is that it tries to make quads in constant size, but face needs more detail in some parts. Maybe by spliting mesh in parts it would be possible.. but then you still would have to manually connect them.. don't know if that's worth it. Probably this could be improved of course and maybe it's not intended for that kind of thing.. although that horse retopo looked nice..

  5. Under what license is this released ( and the other software on that page, also looks interresting )?

    Is commercial use allowed or is it only for personal use?

  6. Wenzel Jakob. Whenever I occasionally see that name (like with Mitsuba), something neat is near.

    When I saw this autoretopo tech a while back on SIGGRAPH's YouTube Channel, I hoped it'd be made available for public users, but had no idea they'd since released it as a software.

    This is quite the news! Thanks!

  7. Wow this is really impressive. Thanks for sharing! I have been working on a project that requires reducing a lot of heavy meshes.

    • Keep at it! As far as I'm concerned, there's never "too many" auto-retopology tools! They all tend to work in different ways, with different results, and integrated solutions are always preferable!

  8. I"m consistently getting a crash when I export larger meshes (> 50MB) as .obj. Anyone else getting this? Aborted meshes are huge btw, a 56MB can end up being 10-12GBs. Smaller meshed export fine.

  9. Drew Andersen on

    This removes all of my texture sets and uv maps that were previously created so it's basically useless if I want to apply my high poly textures to it.

    • It wasn't made for that, but if you want to then you should bake the low res model with high res texture onto the new model.

      Learn about baking.

  10. Melodicpinpon on

    Hi, could someone please explain me how to install the software?
    There is no executable file within the folder...

    • Did you find out how to install? You have to scroll further down and select either the windows, linux or OS link to get the exe.

  11. Hey you,
    this is really nice what you did there! I don't understand the checkbox Extrinsic.
    What kind of edit is this? What changes? Do you also have options like dominant
    or deterministic?

  12. If you have an Error while exporting you can fix it by naming your export: examplemesh.obj . The error occured always when I forgot to add the ".obj" on the name. Hope that helps.

  13. Thomas H. Culhane, Ph.D. on

    I and all of my students in our USF Tampa Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability in the Envisioning Sustainability and Climate Mitigation and Adaptation classes thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We are trying to create a new Florida Wildlife Corridor Curriculum in XR spaces to help kids save our heritage and your tool is the only way we've found to simply take our drone scans and get them remeshed and textured for use in XR programs. God bless you!!

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