RetopoFlow - Retopology Tools for Blender

by CG Cookie in Scripts and Addons

Retopology tools designed for artists

RetopoFlow is an add-on for Blender that brings together a set of retopology tools that enable you to work more quickly, efficiently, and in a more artist-friendly manner. The tools, which are specifically designed for retopology, create a complete workflow in Blender without the need for additional software.

Automatic surface snapping

RetopoFlow includes two primary tools, Contours and Polystrips. Both of these tools automatically generate geometry by drawing on an existing surface, snapping the new mesh to the target surface at all times, meaning you never have to worry about your mesh conforming to the original model (no shrinkwrap required!). Additionally, all mesh generation is quad-based and the tools are modal, creating a very interactive workflow.

Contours: stroke-based retopo for cylindrical forms

The Contours tool gives you a quick and easy way to retopologize cylindrical forms. For example, it’s ideal for organic forms, such as arms, legs, tentacles, tails, horns, etc.

The tool works by drawing strokes perpendicular to the form to define the contour of the shape. Immediately upon drawing the first stroke, a preview mesh is generated, showing you exactly what you’ll get. You can draw as many strokes as you like, in any order, from any direction.

Polypen: vertex-by-vertex creation for absolute control

The Polypen provides provides everything you need for fast retopology in those scenarios where you need absolute control of every vertex position (e.g. low poly game models). This tool lets you insert vertices, extrude edges, fill faces, and transform the subsequent geometry all within one tool and in just a few clicks.  

Polystrips: quad strips for complex topology flow

The Polystrips tool provides quick and easy ways create the key face loops needed to retopologize a complex model. For example, if you need to retopologize a human face, creatures, or any other complex organic & hard-surface object.

Polystrips works by hand-drawing strokes on to the high-resolution object. The strokes are instantly converted into spline-based strips of polygons, which can be used to quickly map out the key topology flow. Clean mesh previews are generated on the fly, showing you the exact mesh that’ll be created.

Tweak, Loop Cut, Loop Slide

In addition to the polygon creation tools of Contours, Polypen, and Polystrips, RetopoFlow also includes powerful editing tools for fine-tuning your retopologized mesh.

  1. Tweak: easily adjust or relax geometry with a brush
  2. Loop Cut: insert a new loop cut along a face loop, automatically snapping to the source surface.
  3. Loop Slide: slide any edge loop along the source surface

Change log

Version 1.3.1

  • Source and Target object transforms no longer break tool workflow, enabling you to retopologized rotated and scaled objects finally.
  • Polystrips and Polypen mesh drawing has been improved, such that the geometry always draws on top of the surface correctly
  • Help text no longer overlaps the background when using Blender's Region Overlap
  • Polystrip patches now fill correctly on cross junctions where it'd previously fail: before, after
  • Fixed issue where some patches would go haywire when the strip connected back to its self
  • Contours no longer crashes when sliding a loop over a hole in the source mesh
  • Dramatically improved surface snapping on meshes with dense geometry containing concave faces (such as dynamic topology models): before, after
  • Fixed an issue where cancelling a Contours loop transform would result in a twisted loop
  • Fixed a nasty bug that caused a fatal crash during Polypen if you zoomed the camera inside the source object.

Version 1.3.0

  • Introduce the Add-on Updater! New versions beyond 1.3.0 will now be installable right from within Blender.

Version 1.2.5

  • Fixed issue where Bezier objects in the scene caused a crash
  • Tweaked color saturation for Polypen meshes, improving disability. 

Version 1.2.4

  • Fixed display issue where Polystrips would draw under the source surface in orthographic view
  • Fixed issue with Polypen creating twisted faces when created at sharp angles

Version 1.2.3

  • Fixed bug that broke Polypen on second vertex insertion

Version 1.2.2

  • Added ability to dissolve 2-valance vertices (vertices with only two edges connected) in Polypen
  • Fixed bad crash on loading new file while RetopoFlow enabled
  • Fixed forcing view into wireframe when starting tools
  • Fixed Polypen vertex-insert only inserting into the middle of the clicked edge; now inserts at point of click
  • Improved undo in Polystrips, now better tracks selection and restores to proper state
  • Greatly improved Polystrips rendering; now based on dynamic distance from object to view
  • Fixed Polypen failing and causing mayhem in Local View
  • Fixed some issues with Polystrips going askew when working on scaled objects
  • Fixed undo in Tweak not taking affect immediately
  • Fixed hidden geometry being selectable in Polypen
  • Fixed vertices and edges not being properly occluded when hidden in Polypen
  • Fixed a few other misc issues

Version 1.2.1

  • Fixed a bad crash when creating a new file after the add-on was disabled

Version 1.2.0

  • Polypen Tool: new tool that enables easy creation of triangles, quads, and ngons in any formation
  • Polystrips is now able to create patches alongside existing geometry
  • Polystrip patches now support T-junctions on patch boundaries
  • New "Open Error Log" function to enable easier troubleshooting
  • Greatly improved error-handling, RetopoFlow tools will no longer crash upon errors
  • Improved drawing style of Polystrips and Tweak geometry
  • Added support for Retina/4k displays
  • Greatly improved Polystrip behavior on thin geometry
  • Added Blender 2.77 support for all tools, addressing API changes
  • Fix conflict when some other add-ons were enabled

Version 1.1.3

  • Fixed error in unregister function; used when add-on is disabled.

Version 1.1.2

  • Fixed Tweak mode in Polystrips being broken
  • Improved handling of Source / Target objects to auto-clear setting when objects are deleted

Version 1.1.1

  • Tweak Tool Relax Mode: hold SHIFT while tweaking to relax vertices. Attempts to make faces square.
  • Improve Error Messages: many error messages were edited to be more artist friendly and be more helpful
  • Polystrips now adds a Mirror Modifier at creation if X Symmetry is enabled
  • Added Recover Tip text to help panel(s) to help users recover work upon crashes
  • Removed Right Mouse Button as a operation cancel option, removing conflict with RMB navigation keymaps
  • Fix Polystrips and Contours not using Show X-Ray at Mesh Creation option
  • Fix for Junctions disappearing and becoming unselectabled
  • Fix for source/target objects being deleted and causing Blender to crash on next operator start.

Version 1.1.0 - Requires Blender 2.76

  • 10-100x speed boost in most cases! The speed change is night and day difference.
  • Tweak Tool: easily tweak your new retopologized mesh with a brush tool, no selection needed, greatly improving workflow speed.
  • Loop Cut Tool: quickly add any number of surface-snapped loop cuts to your new mesh
  • Loop Slide Tool: slide edge loops along the surface of your source object, greatly improving workflow for snapping geometry from any angle. No Shrink-wrap needed.
  • Added Source and Target object functionality: retopology is no longer dependent on selection, making workflow more flexible and easier.
  • Polystrips Symmetry Visualization: symmetry can now be visualized and toggled with Shift + X in Polystrips.
  • New custom icons for all tools!
  • Refactored all tools into a much better structure, enabling simpler development and dramatically improving codebase organization
  • Brush size in Polystrips and Tweak now keeps it's size across sessions
  • Fixed keymap conflicts with custom navigation controls
  • Fixed many, many misc bugs as part of refactor.

Version 1.0.1

  • Custom icons for Polystrips and Contours (requires Blender 2.75+)
  • Improve Polystrips to use file for easier customizability
  • Improved color theming for Contour Guides and Tweak tool
  • Disabled debug display of various elements of Contour Guides
  • Various misc fixes and typos

Version 1.0.0 - initial release

RetopoFlow documentation can be found at

How do I update RetopoFlow to new versions?

RetopoFlow uses the Add-on Updater module to allow updating from right within Blender!

If you have version 1.3.0+ installed then simply go to the User Preferences > Add-ons > RetopoFlow and click Check now for RetopoFlow update, then Update Now.

Does RetopoFlow work on Mac OS?

Yes! RetopoFlow works on any system which Blender supports, including Mac OS, Linux, and Windows.

Item Rating

This item has an average rating of 3 from 9 ratings by the community.

  • 036ee8d01032b71ed9c27c77ec38e6cf

    gregory wasdyke 6 months ago

    Useful, but extremely unstable.

    • F6158ec213359a11c203f21a7622d02a

      CG Cookie 5 months ago

      Hey Gregory, I'm really saddened that you're finding RetopoFlow to be unstable. Typically many bugs and crashes are caused by conflicting code from having multiple versions of RetopoFlow installed at the same time. When installing RetopoFlow (or any add-on) it's best to completely remove the previous version of the add-on before installing the new one. After uninstalling the old version, restart Blender and only then install the new version. I suspect you'll find many of these stability issues to disappear immediately. Either way, I hope we can get these issues addressed, so if you come across more bugs or crashes please report them to the bug tracker so that we can fix them:

  • 2a37f96558e6421a0cf9d8295fa13203

    dank0 5 months ago

    Love the ideas, but it is totally unusable, guys sit on your a.. and fix bugs before you ask for $.

    • F6158ec213359a11c203f21a7622d02a

      CG Cookie 5 months ago

      dank0, similar to the reply to Gregory above, please be sure you've fully uninstalled any older versions of RetopoFlow before using the new version. If after doing that you're still running into issues then please report them to the bug tracker: Reporting bugs is the single best way to help us help you; being the creators we're often too close to the development and aren't able to test all the many, many different ways that people use our tools. By reporting bugs you're not only helping us better understand your workflow, we're also able to more quickly fix the specific issues.

  • 2fa5828846a64872329d218a88ec3657

    Vaughan Harris 5 months ago

    An excellent add on - really takes the pain out of retopo-ing large areas of sculpts.
    Contours, Polystrips and Polypen work very well together and represent a pretty versatile toolset.
    Retopo can be a complex subject, and this is a sophisticated add on, so there is a learning curve, but with practice it all makes sense.
    In the event of any glitches, bugs or plain user error, the product support has been excellent and swift in my experience.
    Among the more pricey add ons, but well worth it in my opinion.

  • C228aa57bb313ca982094f307131f04e

    superion 5 months ago

    Pros: Small learning curve makes it easy to learn, and dramatically improves retopology workflow with a good set of tools. Easy to recover work in case of an issue.

    Cons: Depending on your budget it can be pricey, and it can be buggy at times (I personally haven't experienced more than a few issues, and when I did they weren't at all destructive.)

    RetopoFlow is a great add on. If you find retopology super tedious like I do then you'll appreciate what RetopoFlow offers. I did get it on sale during Black Friday, but even with it's flaws, I recommend it, and it is definitely worth the money if you're considering it. I don't know if this is possible with Blender add ons, but if there were a trial it might help people who are unsure decide if the tool works for them.

  • Cce56803382c744c1b6e5f978fc24b83

    Jason Hayes 4 months ago

    So I just my updated the RetopoFlow addon to 1.3. But I seem to be having the same problem as I did with 1.2 and that the Tweak function isn't working when I press and hold T. Keep in mind I uninstalled the previous versions and Im working with Blender v2.78. So Im not sure whether its user error or a bug. Thanks

    • Large

      Jonathan Williamson 4 months ago

      Hey Jason, thanks for the rating! As for the Tweak tool issue, I believe I know the problem, which we have a fix for in 1.3.1, which is coming any day now. I'll follow up with you via a private message to trouble your specific issue.

  • Bfeae1b99dbacb006ce4234b05b0cb33

    Paul Kotelevets 4 months ago

    Looking awesome!
    Thanks for developing such tool)

  • Df6fad4542c7bffae0fd530c319595b8

    Karen 3 months ago

    Very helpful tool! Similar to Maya's retopology tools for Blender. Definitely helps speed up my workflow. : )

  • 52ba2971058707b1c67807d043ff3b9d

    jayhotz 21 days ago

    Very unstable, Totally unusable, DO NOT BUY IT :(

    • F6158ec213359a11c203f21a7622d02a

      CG Cookie 21 days ago

      Hey jayhotz, I'm sorry you're having trouble with RetopoFlow, but please reach out to us via the inbox before rating. The vast majority of stability issues can be resolved quickly via a couple mesh tweaks, as they're typically caused by transformations on the source object or mesh discrepancies. We're more than happy to help work through issues, but we can't help if you don't let us know what the problems are. You can reach out to us (and any other Creator that you've purchased from) via your inbox at:

  • Cd0b8c842b18dd5c4cd8220aa9cc6bdb

    Willy Lougne 17 days ago

    very good tool. Love my new workflow. Ah by the way updater inside addon .. priceless

    • F6158ec213359a11c203f21a7622d02a

      CG Cookie 17 days ago

      I'm glad you like it Willy!

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