Easily retopologize, convert polygon faces to triangles or quadrangles, decimate, and turn tri meshes to quads for Fusion, Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox, etc. using ReMake(there is a free version).
**Note: When I originally created this Instructable, ReMake was in beta and called "Memento"... so if I call the program "Memento" in the video, I'm speaking about ReMake, which is still very similar.
Once ReMake is installed, it takes a few easy steps to turn tri meshes to quads, see step 4 of this Instructable! Check out the rest of the Instructable for other helpful tips :)
A number of the CAD modeling programs that I use require quads for best modeling experience and output. Generally, designs that include organic modeling (like bodies, faces, etc), have potential for movement (like bending) or have organic styling are modeled with quads.
The 3D scan data that I work with and many other files I bring in like .stl s come in as triangle meshes. They are often too large and don't play well with the software I want to use them in. The issue with using quads or triangles revolves around subdividing, edgeloops, and smoothing. Quadrangles easily divide into 2, where as triangles divide into 1 1/2, which can get messy. Long story short, quads provide much cleaner topolgy for sculpting, smoothing, animation and hard models and creating clean geometry in general. Here is a good short article on the basics of modeling with tris vs quads.
Some programs have functions to convert tris to quads within them, but were tedious and sometimes did funny things, especially when working with large and complex geometry like the scan data that I was bringing in.
I spent a lot of time googling ways to cleanly change tris to quads in the programs I was using. The solution I've been happiest with is a free and easy program ReMake. A number of my colleagues use the ReMake > Fusion workflow. Many people asked me how to do this and now use ReMake to make this process much easier.
Step 1: Install ReMake
Download and install ReMake from http://remake.autodesk.com/about
Step 2: Import Model
Click "load a model" to import your scan data or geometry that you would like to convert.
Step 3: Prep Your Model
Using the toolbar on the right, I suggest the following steps, going down the tools from top to bottom:
- model settings > set scale and units (make sure your units are correct)
- edit > smooth open boundary loops
- retopologize > decimate (if you'd like to reduce the polygonal count of your model)
- analyze > detect and fix mesh issues
- analyze > measure distance (make sure that your model is the desired size and scale)
there are other features as well, poke around and check it out.
*You can skip this step and proceed to the next if you don't want to do anything to your model other than convert to quads*
Step 4: One Step to Convert to Quads
When you are ready to convert to quads, click export > export 3d model on the left hand toolbar.
Select Export as > Obj Quads.
Here you can also change the target face count if you'd like.
Step 5: Open Your Quad .OBJ in Your Modeling Software of Choice
I worked with my model in Fusion and 3DS Max.
Step 6: What Will You Make With Your Quadrangled Geometry?
I thought the quads looked pretty good and I used them as a piping guide to lightweight this forearm geometry in 3ds Max for a prosthetic arm for Riley.
Who's Riley? Why a prosthetic arm? If you're curious, check out Step 1: Background of this Instructable to learn more about Riley and the project that we are working on together - creating a comfortable prosthetic device (his devices are too heavy) with practical applications for typing, holding his trumpet, holding his drumstick, etc.
What will you make? Share your projects and have fun!
Step 7: Resources
To learn more about ReMake, visit http://remake.autodesk.com/about
To learn more about Memento, check out the Autodesk Reality Computing Channel on Youtube