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Slightly uncluttering the retopology tools ;)


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#1 Dilla

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Posted 09 September 2008 - 10:49 PM

After playing with the retopo tools for some time, I can say I really like their intuitive and rock-solid feel. Great work, Andrew!

But... :D ...since the tools are still very young, I thought that some constructive, 'no-offence-intended' criticism might be in order: It appears to me that similar editing functions (various 'splitting' functions for example) are sometimes spread among several tools, when they should IMHO really be unified and streamlined into tools each dedicated exclusively to a single editing function. I've categorized the existing Retopo tools according to their specialized functionality to demonstrate how the toolset might be (re-)structured...


CREATE

Add/Split Polygons
- IMHO the split functionality should belong to a dedicated 'Split' tool (see SPLIT below), so I'd remove it and call this the 'Create Polygons' tool.
- If you look at the 'Add/Split polygons' tool with the split functionality removed, it basically does what 'Add quads' does with its '2-clicks method', only that it actually allows creating island polygons where 'Add quads' always requires an edge selection to work on. You could combine these two tools, creating a tool with a default '4-click' method for creating new island polygons and a default '2-click' edge append method working on existing edges (we should keep the other nice edge extension methods, of course). Thus - in effect - the split functionality would be replaced by the 'Add quads' functionality, creating a versatile poly creation tool indeed.
- Of course the new 'Create Polygons' tool would need some sort of 'Quad' toggle to constrain its behaviour to that of the former 'Add quads' tool if needed. If this toggle is off, the 'Create Polygons' tool creates island n-gons and n-gons off of edges and vertices (the N-click-method, if you will). I'd say CTRL would be a good hotkey candidate for constraining the tool to quads.

Add quads
- See 'Add/Split Polygons' above. This could be merged with 'Add/split Polygons' to create a versatile 'Create Polygons' tool.

Add points and faces
- I'm not sure about the 'laying down of points aspect' of this tool, as the poly creation actually takes 5 clicks instead of 4 clicks with the 'Add/split ploygons' tool. Maybe this method has its merits, but I feel it might be another tool to be unified into the more generic 'Create Polygons' tool suggested above.
- What I do like very much is the fantastic snapping and quad detection 'intelligence' built into this tool, sort of like an 'Add quads' on steroids. This feature alone could very well justify keeping this tool as is, but - of course - I'd like to see this integrated into the 'Create Polygons' tool as well. ;)


DRAW

Draw strokes
- Not much to say about this other than: Looks good! This tool definitely deserves its own 'category', but I've tested it only briefly... ;)


DELETE

Delete Polygons/Delete Edges
- IMHO these two should be merged into a single 'Delete Component' tool.
- CTRL would highlight edgeloops and polyloops.
- ALT (or maybe SHIFT?) would highlight edgerings and polyrings.
- CTRL+ALT (or maybe SHIFT?) would highlight connected edge/poly islands.
- Also, how about a delete vertex functionality?


COLLAPSE

Collapse edges
- This could be a 'Collapse Component' tool. The ability to collapse polygons appears to be missing from the tools currently, so it could be integrated here.
- CTRL would highlight edgeloops/polyloops.
- ALT (SHIFT?) would highlight edgerings/polyrings.


SPLIT

Add/Split Polygons & Split edge rings
- IMHO all splitting operations should be combined into one 'Split' tool. The default behaviour of this 'Split' tool could be the splitting function of the 'Add/split polygones' tool, but upon holding CTRL it would work like the current 'Split edge rings'.


TWEAK

Tweak vertices & Tweak with brush
- These two tools look like they could be unified into a single 'Tweak Components' tool.
- The smoothing functionality of 'Tweak with Brush' could be made into a dedicated 'Smooth' tool, making its existence more obvious and the tool easy to find.
- CTRL would toggle 'Tweak with Brush' behaviour, overriding the selection-based behaviour.
- Btw, if you turn off all the selection toggles in the 'Tweak vertices' tool, it tweaks nothing? Maybe it should always select vertices and only the other selection modes should be toggleable?


SLIDE

Slide edges
- This would become a dedicated 'Slide Component' tool. It should also provide functionality to slide vertices and polygons along edges.
- CTRL would highlight edgeloops and polyloops.
- ALT (SHIFT?) would highlight edgerings and polyrings.
- Selection modes should only be vertices, faces and edges, since CTRL and ALT would toggle edgeloop and edgering selection.
- How about a 'Stop at Edges' mode toggle a la modo's 'Edge Slide' tool?


SPIN

- See the discussion of the Select and Operate tool below. There should probably be a dedicated 'Spin' tool!


WELD

- A 'Weld Vertices' tool could be added.


MERGE

- A 'Merge Polygons' tool could be added.


SMOOTH

- See my comments on 'Tweak with Brush' under the TWEAK heading. There should probably be a dedicated 'Smooth' tool!


SUBDIVIDE

- See the discussion of the 'Select and Operate' tool below. There should probably be a dedicated 'Subdivide' tool!
- The 'Subdivide' option on the 'Retopo Commands menu' could be integrated into this tool.




SPECIAL CASE: Select and Operate
- The 'Select and Operate' tool is a prime example of a very cluttered tool, IMHO. It duplicates various editing functionality, with its uniqueness being that it allows for multiple component selections and painted (i.e. brush-based) selections. If this selection functionality could somehow be generalized across all the retopo tools, we could deal away with this tool completely!

Duplicate functionality of 'Select and Operate':
- Vertice Mode: In this mode the tool duplicates TWEAK functionality, plus the selection multiple capabilities.
- Edges Mode: In this mode the tool duplicates CREATE (edge extend), SPLIT, COLLAPSE and DELETE functionality, plus the multiple selection capabilities.
- Faces Mode: In this mode the tool duplicates DELETE functionality, plus the selection multiple capabilities.

'Original' functionality of 'Select and Operate':
- Edge Mode: Spin. This should become a dedicated 'Spin' tool.
- Faces Mode: Subdivide. This should become a dedicated 'Subdivide' tool.


Retopology UI

- What I don't like about the current Retopo floating palettes setup is that you have to navigate to the 'mode' dropdown menu and pin it to reveal all the retopo tools. As one will certainly be changing tools/modes often, they should be on the window that pops up when 'Retopogisation' (Retopologize?) is launched instead of being hidden away in a sub-menu.



Ok, that'll be it... for now! B)

Thanks for suffering through this long post. Discussion is welcome! :)

#2 Nemoid_

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:18 AM

I mostly agree with what you say, especially separation of split tools from add polygons,
because coupling this can generate some confusion with the users.

Instead, if something in this could be unified in some way, may also be add/delete they could be part of same tool with different shortcuts because one is the exact opposite of the other.

tweak vertices and polygons could be unified through brush size, maybe? just like you happen doing in Zbrush.

set brush size to 0 and you tweak vertices.
increase brush size and you tweak bigger areas .

spin rotates edges as its logic for it to do .

in Lw this tool is called spin quads, because you first select polys and it rotates edges between them. it was called like that because there was no edge support in Lw before 9.0.

so now that edges are there, it should actually be called spin edges or rotate edges.

so, maybe its more clear if in 3d coat name of this tool (that I requested) would be however related to edges to be more clear and obvious. spin of vertices and faces i don't find a reason to exixt.

agree about the UI that should appear immediately .

even if, the best thing is to be able to work with keyboard shortcuts only, and no UI at all. :)

#3 Andrew Shpagin

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:50 AM

Thanks for sooo deep review. I will refine retopo tools soon. I will pin this topic because recommendations are really useful. I need to finish some stuff now, I will back to retopo refining soon.

#4 ldzywsj

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 12:26 PM

Andrew,please have a look at this thread!
http://3dbrush.krisk...?showtopic=1377

#5 Andrew Shpagin

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 01:22 PM

Andrew,please have a look at this thread!
http://3dbrush.kriska.hvosting.net/forum/i...?showtopic=1377

Yes, I have seen. I think that some kind of auto simplification could be done - it is one possible methods to transform voxels->faces. The main ptroblem is that auto simplification always produces triangles, not quads... It is slightly problematic. I was making something like that while I worked in GSC (over game HAOE). Maybe I will apply this technology, but I am not sure.

#6 ghib

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 04:24 PM

I largely agree with this post but..

CREATE
Add points and faces
- I'm not sure about the 'laying down of points aspect' of this tool, as the poly creation actually takes 5 clicks instead of 4 clicks with the 'Add/split ploygons' tool. Maybe this method has its merits, but I feel it might be another tool to be unified into the more generic 'Create Polygons' tool suggested above.
- What I do like very much is the fantastic snapping and quad detection 'intelligence' built into this tool, sort of like an 'Add quads' on steroids. This feature alone could very well justify keeping this tool as is, but - of course - I'd like to see this integrated into the 'Create Polygons' tool as well. ;)

Posted Image
As you can see from the image the more geometry you lay down the less you need to click. What would make this an even smoother process is if Andrew gave us the ability to paint down strips. If you look at the last block in that image there is an obvious strip that could be blocked in by clicking once and creating polys by painting. (only thing I can think of that would throw a spanner in the works is with this tool you are able to also create triangles)

Have you ever used dRasters QuadDraw tool plugin for Maya? This is where the Add Points and Faces tool gets it's idea from, only QuadDraw has merged most commonly used modeling functions to the one tool.
This enables you to do most of your retopology without really needing to leave the tool at all. My suggestions would be to merge these tools with the existing Add points and Faces:-

Split Edge Rings
hold shift to get a pre-selection highlight of your loop cut. LMB to commit the cut.
Right now MMB feels redundant as it doubles up with the ALT MMB to Pan in the viewport. Why not use it for some of these tools so that if you hold shift to do a loop cut and use MMB to select beginning and end edge the cut will perform between and no more.
hold shift and RMB will activate the current Add/Split Polygons tool (and consequently turning off the pre-selection highlight loop for clarity)

Combined 'Delete Polygons' & 'Target Weld Verts/edges' All Negative commands placed on CTRL key
hold CTRL and LMB to delete single polygons
hold CTRL and MMB will perform target weld on either verts or edges using multiselection (no need to change modes here)
hold CTRL and RMB will delete all polygons in shell (similar to the way Delete Polygons currently works)


There are probably more CTRL SHIFT LMB MMB RMB combinations but for me this would give a basic toolset using just 1 tool.

Retopology UI
- What I don't like about the current Retopo floating palettes setup is that you have to navigate to the 'mode' dropdown menu and pin it to reveal all the retopo tools. As one will certainly be changing tools/modes often, they should be on the window that pops up when 'Retopogisation' (Retopologize?) is launched instead of being hidden away in a sub-menu.

I agree with this also but did you know that you can press SPACE and it will bring up a menu of the tools you need to retopologise?

Nice job on starting this thread Dilla.
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#7 ldzywsj

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 06:39 PM

Yes, I have seen. I think that some kind of auto simplification could be done - it is one possible methods to transform voxels->faces. The main ptroblem is that auto simplification always produces triangles, not quads... It is slightly problematic. I was making something like that while I worked in GSC (over game HAOE). Maybe I will apply this technology, but I am not sure.


I know auto simplification and keep quads is a problem with very complex algorithm,but in maya "quadrangulate faces" can get rid of triangles in some ways.so after auto simplification then "quadrangulate faces" may work.If this two features are well done,3dc would have a very quickly and more efficient workflow of retopology!

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  • quadranglate.jpg


#8 Dilla

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 12:11 AM

As you can see from the image the more geometry you lay down the less you need to click.


Yup, its a very nice and convenient tool. The question is, do we need various poly create tools with differing methodology, or can we combine all these tools into a single one (and maybe give it several 'modes' of operation)?

Have you ever used dRasters QuadDraw tool plugin for Maya?


Nope, but that's because I don't use Maya (mainly because I don't like it! :lol: ). I'm using 3dsmax and modo for all my 3D needs.

Combined 'Delete Polygons' & 'Target Weld Verts/edges'


I've edited my first post here and added two 'functionality' categories I forgot...

Nice job on starting this thread Dilla.


Thanks. :)

Thanks for sooo deep review. I will refine retopo tools soon. I will pin this topic because recommendations are really useful. I need to finish some stuff now, I will back to retopo refining soon.


I'm glad you appreciate it, Andrew! :)

#9 jojo

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 10:18 AM

Choose a face and then use the bevel command to create inside a new polygon (reference to modo and silo ‘s bevel). :P
As I am using the demo to study, when i use retopology tools ,I found the saved file is very large! :blink: if it can provide a function ——the current topology of mesh is separated and save a .3b format,so I can re-import it and continue to retopology. :lol:

#10 Andrew Shpagin

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 10:21 AM

Choose a face and then use the bevel command to create inside a new polygon (reference to modo and silo ‘s bevel). :P
As I am using the demo to study, when i use retopology tools ,I found the saved file is very large! :blink: if it can provide a function ——the current topology of mesh is separated and save a .3b format,so I can re-import it and continue to retopology. :lol:

You can export current retopo mesh as OBJ/LWO file, it is small. You can export/import it any time.

#11 Mantis

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 11:16 AM

Just post these features here to keep them in the good place.


-It would be cool to have a polystrip tool to be able to draw strip of polygon instead of creating each new polygon by clicking 4 times for each corner, by the way this tool should create only quad, polyboost (again) got a similar tool. (In polyboot you have to choose the width of the edgering, like that you can start from scratch a new strip)
Posted Image
-Adding some typical edgeloop pattern creation would greatly help, once again Polyboost got similar tools:
-A build Corner
Posted Image
and Build End Loop tool
Posted Image

-A paint edgeloop tool that can automatically create correct corner topology (be able to enable or disable this function).
This gif show you a paint edgeloop tool (called paintconnect) but without the automatic corner topology
Posted Image

-ToolAddPolygon allow you to cut edges, but you should be able to cut through several edges without having to clic on each edge. If you want to cut 4 edges at once you should have to clic on the first and the last and it should cut all the edges.


An other tools for optimizing topology layout is spaceloop tools, like Polyboost have, it help you to get a clean and even mesh quickly instead of tweaking every edge one by one.
Here is a little gif taken from polyboost website to show you what it does:

Posted Image

You take an edgering from which you want to arrange the spacing of the loops and you execute "SpaceLoop" than you got an even spacing of edgeloop.


-Draw:
The smooth Lines should get an iteration setting, the higher it is the harder the line is smoothed.
Because right now if you want to smooth a curve to get it nearly straight you have to hit the button many times.

#12 jedwards

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 03:36 AM

I was going to start a new thread with this as I had only intended to ask for a quick fix for consolidating delete into all the modes as a subfunction. The request went as such:

Deleting faces is such a common occurrence when doing retopology. It would be nice if you could merge it into each tool as an alternate function (using a modifier key like CTRL) to toggle it instead of as a completely separate mode. Right now you can at least delete the ghost points when in modes like 'Add points and faces' but once you convert those ghost points to polygons you have to exit the tool and activate 'delete faces', often just to kill one or two polygons, and then go back. The procedure requires you to mouse over the point, turning it white, at which point you can hit the delete key. Would be much easier if I could just hold down CTRL and have the mouse highlight any geometry it passes over so that I can delete it just by clicking on it - points or polygons. I think this alone would make the workflow go a lot smoother while waiting for future cleanup of the UI. I'd spend less time swapping tools at the very least, which is desirable.

For me this would actually eliminate the need for using such modes as 'select and operate' or 'tweak' or the delete modes... which would effectively reduce the retopo tool menu by half. From there it is much easier to consider how to best incorporate some of the remaining functions, like 'split edge rings' and 'slide edge loops' into the single tool paradigm as well, giving you a much reduced but multifunctional toolset that requires far less UI management in the end.

At this point I figured why not go all the way and just dump my ideal workflow request into this thread so that it's all under the same topic. My requests have little to do with adding any new features - they are more about shufflng what is there now into something more streamlined and efficient, as I find I'm doing a lot more retopo work lately.

Here's my proposal for some retopology consolidation and workflow streamlining:

I see the 5 main 'modes' of the retopo tools as Draw Strokes, Add Points and Faces, Add Quads and Mark Seams (mark loops should be a sub function of mark seams so that there is only one tool required for this job - like the SHIFT key). Select and operate is a great multifunction tool as it is... though I never use it - no point in getting rid of it if others do and it does allow for some unique features, like subdivision.

So, ignoring Select and Operate (already multi-functional) and Mark Seams for now (since it is a unique mode for UV stuff, not retopo) that leaves 3 main tools... all of which utilize some form of tweak.

First order of business should be to unify tweak so that it covers all geometry types regardless of which of the 3 modes you are in. This would make all the separate tweak functions irrelevant as they would all be embedded into each of the 3 modes in the same consistent manner.

Delete: Each of the 3 modes could use CTRL to delete highlighted geometry. This would carry over to Mark Seams in consistency too since that is how you unmark seams. Likewise for select and operate - CTRL basically does the opposite in all modes and would be consistent. This again would make all the delete functions in the retopo menu redundant, since each of the 3 main topology tools can now do it.

This would leave a few functions left over, all of which are useful: Collapse, Slide edge/loop and Split Rings as well as the add/split polygons mode which I think should be removed as a mode and merged in as a subfunction of the big 3 mentioned above.

Collapse could be a subfunction of delete. So if CTRL+click deletes geometry why not add another modifier for collapse like CTRL+SHIFT+Click. This could be added for all 3 tools again for consistency. It should also work on any geometry type - edges or faces. If used when the cursor is over a vert it could serve as a target weld function for that vert, where you drag it to weld it to another.

Slide Edge/Loop could be a subfunction of tweak. So where right clicking activates tweak mode, perhaps CTRL+RightClick could allow for slide, and CTRL+Shift+Right Click could allow for loop slide. Again - all 3 modes could use this.

Split Rings is a sub function of Add/Split Polygons so I think should be treated the same way as the above. The main concern is merging the Add/Split Polygon functionality as a sub function of the 3 main modes since currently it is a mode unto itself. Personally I see it more as a modifier though and so should be treated as such, and be useful in each of the other 3 modes.
Being able to cut edges, connect verts, etc should be available in those modes as it would cut down the need to exit them as often. I would argue that building new polygons one point at a time is probably the slowest retopo method in the toolset and largely useless with this tool, so it could be dropped entirely and not missed.

So the main purpose should be to be able to cut edges and connect verts, which could easily be merged into each of the 3 modes as a sub function for a general cut/connect tool, and a sub function of that for loop cuts. Middle mouse could be used in combination with CTRL for cut mode, and CTRL+Shift for loop cuts instead. This at least would not infringe on any established pen workflows for navigation - merely add to them within the context of retopology.

All of this would cut out the menu clutter, consolidate functionality into a few, powerful tools and eliminate almost any need for extra GUI effort other than maybe a few buttons for those 5 modes. For myself I'd happily assign them to useful keybinds and never need to access a menu or button again when doing retopo work. Most of my work largely falls between add points and faces and draw strokes, so for me it would be 2 keybinds for all my retop work.

Anyway, my .02 on the retopology stuff. It currently has almost all the functionality I need, just not the organization and efficiency.

#13 Youth-K

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 03:21 AM

Sorry for my double post...

I tried to study retopo tool for these days.
So I hope these feature like bellow.

1. On/Off switch for Stickiness

I realy love this feature that stick to original mesh (or VS model)
But when use retopo tool for a little complex model, It happen unanticipated reaction.
When I use "splitte" or drag vertex with RMB, the vertex jump to unexpected face...
So in this case, I think If I can turn off the sticikiness.

2. Stick to center of symmetrical line

With symmetry on, and I want to create a polygon near around symmetrical line.
Always I have to create vertex over the symmetrical line.
And after createing polygons. It looks as symmetrical, center splitted model.
But the position of these vertex is still kept as original position(where "over symmetrical line")
So when I want to move these vertex, or split the edge contain these vertex,
I have to search out these hidden vertex or edge.

So I think it is good idea for a new feature that,
when symmetry on, New created vertex force to stick to symmetrical center line.

#14 artman

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 05:00 PM

most powerful retopology tools ever I think

better speed and choices than topogun
better visibility than zbrush
3dcoat retopo is all in all more powerful and versatile


only miss one thing:

when you press yhe Subdivide button the mesh isn't snapping back on the reference mesh (Topogun does)
(it should be easy to implement because it is already working that way when splitting an edge ring
and I don't understand why it's not working when pressing subdivide button)



also-

when using retopology over a voxtree subobject that has been rotated around it is very very needed that
we can use the local symmetry plane instead of the default symmetry plane.
Otherwise we must manually reorient each subobjects and doing so they loose their original position and rotations on the model.

I can't think of something else....(so to me that means it's very close to perfection :) )
Lest limbs be reddened and rent--I spring the trap that is set--As I loose the snare you may glimpse me there--For surely you shall forget
"The Wind In the Willows", Chapter 7 "The Piper at the Gates Of Dawn"

#15 Andrew Shpagin

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:00 PM

only miss one thing:

when you press yhe Subdivide button the mesh isn't snapping back on the reference mesh (Topogun does)
(it should be easy to implement because it is already working that way when splitting an edge ring
and I don't understand why it's not working when pressing subdivide button)


I have tried to subdiv and it snaps perfectly. How to reproduce it?

About local symmetry - ok, I will look it.

#16 artman

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:25 PM

I have tried to subdiv and it snaps perfectly. How to reproduce it?



sorry...I wasn't aware of your reply.


I clearly remember when I tried it it didn't work it would only add resolution
Don't remember which alpha tough.
But I just tried it and it works fine. :D
which means...3DCoat has is the most powerful retopology solution
on earth right now :brush:

About local symmetry - ok, I will look it.


Awesome!! that means retopology of Voxtree "rotated" children objects will now be possible...Supercool!!
Lest limbs be reddened and rent--I spring the trap that is set--As I loose the snare you may glimpse me there--For surely you shall forget
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#17 artman

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 08:35 AM

1) If I subscribe to thread will I get email notice on replies.

2)How do I subscribe to thread (I'm not a big forums dweller)
Lest limbs be reddened and rent--I spring the trap that is set--As I loose the snare you may glimpse me there--For surely you shall forget
"The Wind In the Willows", Chapter 7 "The Piper at the Gates Of Dawn"

#18 JBT27

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 09:34 PM

I'd like to second Mantis' request for a Polystrip tool.

I often start out with a terrain mesh, and onto that I reconstruct old settlements and paths, with levelled areas for them to sit on. Yes, I could do that from scratch in LW Modeler or Modo, but quite often I have to start with the pure terrain model.

The Retopology tools are absolutely stunning for this purpose, leaving anything Modo or Modeler has in the shade.

.....BUT - it would be great if there was an option not just for a Polystrip, but if there was a way to specify that each polygon in that strip should be level, or within a certain angle side-to-side, like a real road or path. So drawing the strip down a steep slope, especially if the path is heading diagonally across the slope, you would be able to retopologise the terrain complete with levelled areas and paths.

Of course having applied some form of levelling away from the average slope in that area, you would still then need adjoining retopo'd polys to resume following the terrain.

I hope that wasn't too garbled.

I've got 10 days left of my trial version, and today I have used these retopo tools for the first time.....talk about an eye-opener.....absolutely brilliant.

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#19 Mantis

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 05:55 PM

Autodesk has bought Polyboost, you should take a look at these videos http://area.autodesk...eling_features/

I don't think they are better than current tools but they seems more quicker to use. That's just a matter of optimisation of your current toolset.
What I really like in these video is how he is "painting" trough the dot (tools similar to Add point and face) without having to right click each time.
Plus they got all the tools from polyboost.

Talking about the current tool I think that Draw line could be improve a lot.
What could be nice is to be able to draw your line and got a preview of what will be created by pressing a key.
Being able to erase any part of a line being selected could be a big plus, like that you could draw your topology and correct it like you would do by painting it in Zbrush before building it.

#20 Rodney Brett

Rodney Brett

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 03:40 AM

Add points/faces is a very important tool for me, even though it's five clicks because I don't approach retopo by laying down "actual size" final faces, but rather, I build very large base faces with good faceloop flow, then use split poly functions to add edgeloops within those larger faces. You will find that retopology not only goes faster with this method, but your final retopo results are more organized, controlled and less chaotic. The problem with tools like Topogun and Zbrush is that there are no poly modeling tools, which still plays a huge role for me when building final animation meshes. They force you to work in a very tedious poly by poly fashion, forcing you to lay down smaller final rez faces.

-Rodney
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