3D Artist

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

Tips & Tutorials
Carrie Mok

Colton Orr details why he thinks Maya’s UV mapping with Bonus Tools is a superior retopology tool to other similar features in the market

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

Character artist Colton Orr tells us how he used Maya’s Bonus Tools to retopologise Lunar Suit.

Step 01 – Prepare the scene

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

First, bring a decimated mesh from ZBrush into Maya. In Maya, I will combine my SubTools into larger objects that I can isolate while I’m retopologising. For example, the helmet was combined into three pieces: the top, the bottom and finally the visor.

Step 02 – Retopo

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

Start by hiding every mesh except the lower piece. Then make the surface live and begin using Quad Draw to retopo. To see the inside of the low-poly while I work, I do not use Symmetry and I wait until the end to mirror the geometry. As I retopo, I jump out of Quad Draw and isolate the selection to check the low-poly mesh without the decimated model.

Step 03 – Clean up

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

I bring in SubTools from ZBrush at their lowest subdivision level and attach them to the low-poly in Maya. I use this technique on cylindrical objects, such as the clip release on the back of the helmet. This saves time and guarantees that the low and high will line up exactly for baking.

Step 04 – Create a ZBrush low-poly

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

Once the retopology process is complete, I will then select all the vertices and merge them at a low threshold (0.1 usually works well). Finally, I will then select the object and use the Clean Up option to check for any ngons.

Step 05 – Unwrap

Maya tutorial: Retopologise hard surfaces

Download the Maya Bonus Tools from the Autodesk App Store. Once installed, go to Bonus Tools>UV Editing>Auto Unwrap UV’s Tool. Hit Enter Tool and Close. This will let you select seams and unwrap your object extremely quickly. There are many extensive tutorials available for how to use this tool efficiently.


For the past few years Colton Orr has been pursuing a Game Art and Animation degree. He created the Lunar Suit as a final for a 3D modelling class.

  • Elsa

    This is well done, however, in my case I would’ve preferred to have this in a video or livestream form. Colton Orr is really skilled and maybe he can show his talent in one of picarto’s livestreams? The new event system they recently came out with also makes it possible for artists to sell tickets for a livestream they’re planning.

  • Great