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How to retopologize 3D scans into low poly game assets


Johnson Martin uses Instant Meshes and Blender to reduce geometry size and make 3D scans ready for real-time applications.

3D scanning will give you amazingly lifelike results, but the models are often very high poly and impossible to use in a real-time environment. This is where retopology comes in – using a combination of the right tools and techniques you can reduce the mesh density while keeping the ‘deep’ realism. Sketchfab Master Johnson Martin explains in this in-depth tutorial.

Hello, I’m Johnson Martin. I’m a 3d artist and topology fan. I run the blog Topology Guides where I give tips and techniques on how to 3d model. Today, I’m showing you how to use free software to retopologize and re-texture a high resolution 3d scan into a low poly game asset.

About the Author

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. Brian Lockett on

    Good to see more promotion of Instant Meshes. It's a handy tool, but still a bit obscure to many.

    I still run into folks searching for a retopology tool, and I point them to Instant Meshes.

    I also hope that, in addition to quad-dominant remeshing method (dual-contouring), perhaps Blender could also see some future integration of Instant Meshes within Blender for retopology.

    • I cannot agree more that Instant Meshes deserves more promotion. However, I'm not always sure everything needs to be assimilated into Blender - having externally maintained high-quality (and preferably open source) might be better for their development. A strong integration between (like the upcoming Substance Painter - Blender bridge) would be awesome though!

      • Brian Lockett on

        Very true. Not everything needs to be integrated into Blender. I didn't even think about the maintenance aspect.

        And yeah, a bridge between Blender and Instant Meshes would be great!

        • Yes, merging software often hampers development of whatever you are merging. You can see this happening often with autodesk acquisitions. The same can happen with Open Source software. Software merges, original devs leave, no one takes they're place.

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