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Introduction

What is TopoGun?

TopoGun is a stand-alone resurfacing and maps baking application. The resurfacing functions in TopoGun will help you modify and/or recreate the edgeflow of your digital 3D models. The maps baking functions, will help you bake various types of texture maps from your high resolution 3D models and then allow you to apply them to your newly created optimized meshes. These texture maps contain information that will help you recover the appearance and features of the original high resolution mesh.

In today's 3D graphics, high quality 3D models, due to their nature, usually have millions of polygons. This is because most of today's 3D models are created from real world scanned models, or they are digital sculptures, created using brush based 3D sculpting applications.
In order to better serve their purposes, 3D models should have a much lower polycount and must provide for a deserved ease of handling. Even more than this, they need to have specific edgeflows in order to be more easily animated, or further detailed.

A lot of artists nowadays create their concepts as 3D models, using brush based sculpting applications. They usually start from basic primitive objects, such as cubes. At a certain point, they need to rework the topology of their models.

There are several reasons for doing this: to make the 3D models more animation friendly, to create lowpoly versions for gaming or further sculpting and detailing, or as a way to change the highres topology in order to improve the model's capability of handling the highres information at a lower polygon budget.

A resurfacing tool like TopoGun is needed for these purposes.

Furthermore, you can use TopoGun to bake multiple maps out of the original highres meshes. These maps can be used by texture artists when texturing the models. They can also be used by 3D engines in order to preserve the original mesh's features, (i.e., small details that couldn't be recovered after retopologizing due to the limited polycount an engine can render in realtime).

Key Features

  • Portability

    TopoGun is a standalone application available for Windows and OS X operating systems. TopoGun licenses are cross-platform and after buying one, TopoGun can be installed on any of these operating systems.

  • Friendly Interface

    TopoGun supports several widespread viewport navigation models and there's a great chance you'll get used to it quickly.
    The interface is simple, straightforward and very customizable, giving you the freedom to modify it to fit your needs. It is unified and looks the same on both Windows and OS X.
    TopoGun also has a contextual piemenu, accessible via the SPACE bar, to provide shortcuts to usual commands, based on the current object type and the selected tool.

  • Dedicated Topology Tools

    Unlike any other 3D packages, TopoGun is a specialized standalone application, aimed for retopology in the first place. Each TopoGun tool is designed for topology creating and editing.
    The newly created geometry wraps around the highres model in realtime. When you move the retopologized mesh components around, they will stick to the highres mesh's surface.

  • Automatic Retopology

    TopoGun has two methods for creating automatic topology for your highres meshes. They are highly tweakable, fast and provide good results to start from.
    There is also the unique feature to retopologize only parts of your sculpts (such as the ears), by combining the Retopologize and the mesh Extract features. From there, you can continue the retopologizing process using the standard tools.

  • Hybrid Retopology Approach

    Insead of using manual OR automatic retopology, you can use automatic retopology only for some parts of the mesh, then continue with the Patch tool, which helps you retopologize patches drawn over the model with 2 to 6 sides. The Patch tool will take care of the rest, creating the topology for the patches and wrap it over the model in realtime.

  • Highres Reference Meshes

    TopoGun can handle extremely highres 3D data. The polycount limit is set by the available RAM on your system. It uses special rendering techniques to achieve unparalleled highres mesh rendering framerates.

  • One Pass Maps Baking

    One great feature TopoGun has is one pass maps baking. Instead of baking one map at a time as most of the baking engines do, the types of maps you select are baked in a single pass, thus saving you precious time.
    TopoGun can bake normals, displacement, ambient occlusion, color, curvature, transmission and cavity maps.

  • Hardware Ambient Occlusion

    TopoGun uses the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) for baking hardware ambient occlusion maps. The speed that GPU computing and multithreading offers is much greater than the ambient occlusion baking methods used by today's existing software.

  • 32 Bit Floating Point Maps Output

    TopoGun's maps baking module can export 32 bit floating point .tiff maps. The advantage of using 32 bit floating point displacement maps are that you don't have to worry about displacement maps parameters such as "displacement amount" and "offset", because the displacement values within the displacement map are real worldspace displacement values.

    Using the displacement map, as is, in your rendering engine will lead to perfect results, without ever having to tweak any displacement parameters. Another advantage of 32 bit floating point maps are that you can modify them without the fear of getting dithering artifacts, (the dynamic range a 32 bit floating point image has is huge compared to the dynamic range of a regular 8 bit image).

  • Subdivision Surfaces Support

    TopoGun can help you recover all the details the original mesh has, by using the Subdivision feature.

    Use it to create a highresh version of your digital sculpts, once you've created a lowpoly retopology. You can use an arbitrary starting topology to create a quick mock-up sculpt and once you're happy with the overall form, bring it to TopoGun, create a lowpoly version and have the Subdivision do it's magic.

    Another example where the Subdivision feature can be used is when you need all the details from a 3D scanned model.

    It is convenient to create a lowpoly model to have it animated and UV mapped, but you may also need the highpoly subdivided version, with all the details intact, to clean it up or add new features, in a digital sculpting application.

    A highres subdivided mesh is created, (starting from the retopologized model), and is "wrapped" on the original mesh's surface in order to recover all the fine details.

    Furthermore, the subdivided mesh can be used to fully recover the intermediate subdivision levels for later use within applications like ZBrush or Mudbox.

  • The Morpher Feature

    Morpher is an extension which helps you bounce the modified reference mesh back to the scene geometry.

    This way you can basically review the highpoly sculpting process after the lowpoly retopologized version was created.

    It's very useful for those situations when the artist gets feedback for a highres sculpt, but has already created a lowpoly retopology. The retopology proces becomes more linear, since he can later transfer the modifications done to the sculpt back on the retopologized lowpoly mesh.

    Another use case is when a digital sculpt is created from an existing one (a head, for example).

    If a lowpoly version is already available too and even if an animation rig was created for it, adapting the vertices positions to reflect the changes on the original sculpture is now possible, with the Morpher feature.

    The Morpher can also be used for creating lowpoly versions of digitally sculpted blendshapes or for posing lowpoly geometries like their corresponding highpoly references.

System Requirements

TopoGun is available for both Windows and OS X systems.

In order to run and use it, you should have the following minimum system configuration:

  • Microsoft Windows 7, OS X 10.13 High Sierra or later operating system;
  • 2 GHz Intel Pentium processor (or equivalent) or later;
  • 8 GB RAM (32 GB recommended);
  • A 1600X1200 32 bit display;
  • 200 MB available disk space;
  • An OpenGL 2.0 compatible graphics card (at least Nvidia GeForce 6600 or equivalent), with the latest drivers installed.

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