Clothing retopo

I’m finishing up a character I created using the dragon course as a guide. I strayed from the course at the end, as my needs are a bit different. I have a character I will be using in animation (videos). I bought a clothing asset, but it’s high poly (130,000 - I’m still fairly new to Blender, but that seems high for what it is). I’ve tried going through the process to make an LP version, but it’s giving me a lot of trouble.

At this point, my questions would be:

  1. Does the poly count matter? (I’m thinking I want cloth simulation for some of the video work, though I’m not dead set on it.) I’m not looking for big flourishy movement here, just trying to emulate the way cloth hangs and moves with a body.
  2. Is there a way to retopo clothing easily? Should I do it manually? Nothing’s worked so far. Instant Meshes gives a messy mesh. Voxel and Quad (in Blender) aren’t any better. Sometimes the issue is normals. Either the inside or outside of the mesh (a hoodie, in this case) will have the normals facing in the “wrong” direction. I get error messages pointing that out.
  3. Should I just model clothing as part of the body mesh? Maybe I can add separate objects that will provide some movement (like the drawstrings on the hoodie).

My animation isn’t photorealistic. I’m going for a look similar to Shrek or How to Train Your Dragon, though not as detailed. I’d like to have some cloth movement, but I suppose I could live without it for now. Any thoughts?

Thank you.

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It depends, you have more details to show. But render times will increase, which is important for animations. So for animations you want lower poly count.
If render time is not an issue than you could use high poly.

yes, you have special functions and or tools for this. The quality depends.
Doing it manually you have more freedom in solutions of difficult areas.
Depending on how this clothing part is used.

Manual corrections are always needed. There is no quick solution without fixing things.

Again manual tweaking or other tricks, like.

  • Increase mesh density, so that calculations of pushing thru (normals) will be detected
  • Use solidify modifier
  • transform tools (or even geo-nodes)
  • Use cloth simulator

For simple animations, I would say yes.
High quality, then use different object, harder to do, but more control.

After reading your post, I think your goals are very high.
Do small projects first. Take small steps in this process.

  • Create a flag
  • animate the flag with wind
  • Attach the flag to a pole
  • swing the pole around
  • Attach the pole to a puppets arm,
  • walk the puppet …

Very helpful advice. Thank you. Especially at the end. Not knowing what exactly my needs will be makes the decisions harder. If I knew it wouldn’t crash my computer or make my renders take forever, I wouldn’t worry about it. I guess I have to try some things and see how everything responds.


Not much I can add. I would always hand retopologise. You may find the GameDev course on a Anime character helpful. It is low poly, and deals with a clothed body. It does not go into the cloth modifier though. Worth a look at the course image and see if it has any relations to your project. It is made (properly :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:) the non sculpting older standard way, so you build the topology to make it. You could diverge from the bug eyed alien Anime look!


I’ll check it out. Thank you. I took a cursory look at some videos that popped up on YT. One suggestion was using a UV mesh to do retopo. I haven’t dug into it yet, so I’m not sure how that works. I guess you turn the UVs into mesh planes and do the retopo on them, which would certainly be easier than doing retopo on a 3D mesh. I’m considering everything now.


UV-maps will flatten your mesh. From 3D to 2D. It helps to have a nice, clean topology.
UV-map is needed if you want to project illustrations, textures (cloth).

If you use ‘default’ materials or procedural materials then you don’t have the need for UVmaps.
This kind op animation, you see in many TV-Series animations.


No you seem to have a very wrong idea about UVs. They come from the model’s topology. You can not edit them as a way of editing the model.

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I understand you can’t work directly on UVs. I watched some of the video I referenced - - What the video’s creator is suggesting is to export the UVs as a png. Then import the png and trace along it as a reference image to retopo. Another video - - has you export UV layout from Marvelous Designer and import that into Blender and use it (I assume) in the same way. This seems to make sense, though perhaps I’m missing something. Also, I don’t have Marvelous Designer, though the clothing assets I bought were made in that program. I might try the first method. I haven’t had time to watch the full video yet, but I will today. I’ll let everyone know if I have any luck with it.


AH interesting. Especially if the model is all messy and triangulated. I guess as I have never used a model I did not make, so built sensible geometry as I go, that never occurred to me. Hand retopo is easy on the model too.

It would not work at all without that add on though from what I saw. If it is kept up to date it may have uses sometimes. Be good to have as a standard tool built in Blender.


If the topology is good and your system isn’t lagging then the poly count is fine. As for reducing polygons, I’d use the decimate modifier unless it’s just bad topology.


Thanks Dwayne. I’m going to give it a try the way it is, as you suggested, but I’m also working on a retopo, in case its doesn’t work.


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