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Blender 2.81 development watch #1: retopology

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With the feature list for the next stable version of Blender now locked, we investigate the new tools you can expect when Blender 2.81 ships in November. Over the course of a week-long series of stories, we will preview the main features, beginning today with the retopology tools.

Blender 2.81 adds new manual retopology features to the Poly Build tool. As a quicker alternative, the Voxel Remesh operator automatically generates a quad mesh based on the volume of a sculpt. Video: JayAnAm.

1. New retopology tools

Blender has some good third-party retopology add-ons, including RetopoFlow and newer contenders like DynRemesh and Tesselator, but Blender 2.81 aims to make it easier to convert dense 3D scans and sculpts into clean, animation-ready, all-quad geometry using only the software's native tools.

For manual work, the Poly Build tool gets new retopology features. They make it possible to draw a quad mesh over the surface of a source sculpt, although it means working one quad at a time.

For automated work, the new OpenVDB-based Voxel Remesh operator generates a new all-quad mesh based on the volume of a source mesh. (It also works in Sculpt mode as a way of getting good topology when blocking out shapes without the performance hit associated with dynamic topology.)

A second automated remeshing system, the QuadriFlow library - also supported in DynRemesh - has also just made the cut-off for Blender 2.81. It's slower, but has the advantage that the edge loops in the quad mesh it generates align to features in the source mesh, generating better-quality results.

Stay tuned throughout the rest of the week for bite-sized previews of other features, including new sculpting brushes, Open Image Denoise, and a host of time-saving smaller additions.

About Author

Jim Thacker

I've been writing about Blender since the mid-2000s when, as editor of 3D World magazine, I commissioned a series of on-set diaries from the Blender Foundation's first open movie. Since then, I've worked with ArtStation and Gnomon, ‘development edited’ books for Focal Press and Design Studio Press, and am currently editor of industry news website CG Channel.

10 Comments

    • Thanks - I originally wrote the story earlier this week, and didn't spot that it had been added since. I've updated the text now.

  1. 2.8 is pretty great. Aside from a couple of texture baking bugs that are forcing me to keep 2.79b installed, the transition to 2.80 is proving much smoother and faster than the transition from 2.4x to 2.5x for me. I'm amazed at what the devs continue to accomplish, and humbled that it's all free, in both senses of the word. Thank you all so much for your hard work!

    But I do have to ask: Why is there no Retopo workspace by default? There's a perfect spot, right between the Sculpting tab and the UV Editing tab. Given these retopo improvements, the omission seems even more glaring.

  2. I did not like the update of Belnder 2.8, you changed EVERYTHING !!!
    I don't know what you thought, but you still don't understand the creatives
    we creatives: we have thousands of things to think about, thousands of things to solve the problems of thousands of clients, clients, and more clients
    Do you think your change was the best for us?
    noooooooo
    Now we have to learn another new program, mmmmmmm as if we had no problems to solve in our lives

    • It's easy, you have just chosen wrong industry. If you are not able to constantly retrain, as every profession of IT industry requires, then it is time to change sector or retire.

    • Stay to blender 2.79 if you dont like it.
      Only now with Version 2.8, blender is user friendly and more powerful Then ever before.
      Now blender is interesting for beginners AND real professionals in the industry.

  3. THe new circle which follow the normal in Blender 2.81 now does not appear when you are sculpting, but appears only when you stop sculpting. This feature seem to regress from 2.8, although in 2.8 that circle just follow your camera view.

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