Integrating the Quad Remesher plugin would be amazing! I bought the Blender addon and I’m very happy because it has saved me a lot of time when retopologizing objects with many polygons, something essential for me.
For me, talking about retopology is talking about Multires: Nomad works well on the iPad with millions of polygons, BUT at a certain point in the 3D modeling process, it doesn’t make sense to have an object with tons of thousands of polygons constantly in the viewport when you can transform it into a virtually identical but more optimized object, right?
I mean… If sculpting is your hobby, you can do something simple, render it, post it on Twitter, and forget about it.
But other times, you may want to create something complex, either because you want to challenge yourself or because you are an artist who wants to test Nomad as a professional tool.
What can happen then is that without realizing it, as you sculpt more and more on a character or a prop, the number of polygons in your scene will increase dramatically.
Maybe the app works well (because it does), but it is very likely that your iPad will consume more battery or that the size of your files will flood that precious space on the hard drive that you need to store cute cat photos.
Everyone loves cats.
Also, you may want to paint your object with detailed textures in an external program like Blender or Procreate, so you need to do UV unwrapping first. And unwrapping an object with millions of polygons is never a good idea. It can make your computer explode.
According to the AGSSPWA (American Governmental Society for the Study and Prevention of Workplace Accidents), the explosion of computers and iPads due to users trying to do UV unwraps of objects with millions of polygons kills 7,200 people a year and injures another 2,000. A fictional fact that is not only made up but also very concerning.
-Cough- As I was saying…
From my experience, there’s nothing wrong with having fun sculpting an object with thousands of polygons, taking a couple of renders, and then saving it forever on the hard drive.
The problem is when you want to have a scene so big that you need to reduce that number. Or when you need to do a UV unwrap to apply shaders, paint the object, or make bakes.
There are several solutions. I’m going to describe them from “quick but limited” to “slow but versatile.”
1. Decimate an object, unwrap, make the bakes
It’s something that can already be done in Nomad and it’s great. It’s fast, and the results usually look good.
It’s been done for years in video games to make bakes of objects like rocks and statues where topology doesn’t matter much. Why spend 20 minutes doing the retopology of a rock if the result will be the same by reducing the geometry and projecting the details?
Problems: The UVs are usually shapeless and irregular masses of triangles that do not properly occupy the square surface of the UV space and waste valuable space.
Also, once you make the bake, although you can finally paint the colors, all the geometric details are transferred to the Normal Map texture. That means that if you decimate an object and later want to go back to add more detail, you won’t be able to because that detail will no longer exist.
2. Auto-retopology with something like Instant Meshes + bakes
The UVs are somewhat better because the faces (quads) can be fitted better (I don’t have data, but from experience, I know that it’s easier to fit a bunch of squares into a larger square than to fit a bunch of triangles into the same square, if that makes sense).
3. Auto-retopology with Instant Meshes + multires + detail re-projection
This involves converting an object with thousands of polygons into an identical one but with several levels of multiresolution. The good thing? You can raise and lower multires levels at will.
Do you want to modify the main shape without altering high-frequency details? Lower the multires level to the lowest.
Do you want to add pores and wrinkles to a face? Raise it to the highest level.
If your scene has a lot of polygons, you can go one by one lowering the multires levels of the objects that have it to preserve a fluid, responsive viewport (even in old iPads). And I’m talking about going really high (not Zbrush “high” but very high than usual).
Are you satisfied with the details and colors? Stay with the lowest multires level and make the bakes re-projecting all the details there.
4. Auto-retopology with Quad Remesher + multires
The good thing about this algorithm is that it works very well in areas such as edges and in preserving the natural flow of details. In other words, Quad Remesher captures more detail with fewer polygons compared to other algorithms.
In practice, this means fewer problems when subdividing geometry with multires, as there are generally fewer “Poles” in inconvenient locations and other crazy things like infernal “spiral loops”.
Additionally, the topology better follows the details, so re-projecting geometry causes fewer problems and artifacts. It’s not foolproof, but it causes fewer problems.
And having problems is equivalent to wasting time.
And wasting time is equivalent to losing money.
And artists are already poor.
5. Manual retopology + bakes + blablabla
It’s the slowest solution but the one that offers the most control. Cozy Blanket is cool, but let’s be honest: if Quad Remesher comes out for Nomad, many artists will forget about Cozy Blanket.
Doing manual retopology can be “Zen” and yada-yada-yada but I and many people have paid €90 not only out of masochism but because doing retopology is something “key” for many of us, and there are no other ways to do it on the iPad (…for now?).
In summary, I have no idea how useful adding Quad Remesher to Nomad could be because although I find it very useful for optimizing and working with sculpted objects for all the advantages I’ve explained in this post poorly translated into English with ChatGPT, I don’t know if other Nomad users would find it useful.
But if there’s one thing I know:
- Adding something like ZRemesher in Nomad would definitely catch the attention of artists who use it in Zbrush or Blender (at least it catches my attention because I never imagined seeing something so useful to me inside an app like Forger). It’s inspiring to see incredible artists like Shane Olson already using Nomad and I think adding these types of tools could stimulate the curiosity of many artists who want to break free from the constraints of the desktop PC to sculpt wherever and whenever they want.
- Adding it could be a first step… but without guides or other ways to control “the flow of loops” it could result in a user experience that is certainly “fantastic but sometimes frustrating”. I never use guides but it would be nice if there was a way to control retopology (maybe there will be one, I don’t know).
- If this ends up in Nomad and it means paying more… people will pay. At least I wouldn’t mind paying for an upgrade that brought this. Ideally, it could be allowed for the Exoside license to be activated somehow from within Nomad to access that tool… but this is no longer my concern.
I’m just speculating. I’m a little nervous and excited about all of this. Hopefully, this will come to fruition. And if it never happens, it doesn’t matter. Because Nomad will still be great.
PD: This is a post on Blenderartist talking about Quad Remesher in Blender (there are a lot of interesting experiments and tests) Quad Remesher auto-retopologizer - #461 by Daf57 - Released Scripts and Themes - Blender Artists Community