When I do retopology in blender, I constantly run into this inconvenience, when I have to constantly turn xray on and off for the retopology mesh. This is how it looks without xray: enter image description here

The vertices are constantly displayed even though some of them are a little bit inside the mesh, yet the faces sometimes are partially or completely hidden. I can turn xray on and it will look like this: enter image description here

Which makes it a lot easer to work and I keep it on most of the time, but the obvious downside is that Xray works pretty much how it is supposed to and you have to turn it off sometimes to see certain parts of the sculpt mesh.

I'm not very experienced with retopology yet and little things like these really slow me down when I just think and try to come up with a grid structure for some complicated parts.

Would really appreciate if someone could share a better sollution.

All I could think of is simply to hide parts of the retopology mesh so they don't obstruct the view, but they only get hidden in editing mode and I don't feel like slicing my retopo mesh into so many pieces. (If there is a way to keep vertices hidden in object mode, that would be a big help already)

Not a perfect sollution, but I've also learned that blender allows setting up hotkeys for pretty much anything, including toggling xray. If anyone is interested, you go User Preferences -> Input -> 3D view -> 3D view(Global) -> scroll all the way down -> +Add new, enter 'wm.context_toggle' into the first field and 'active_object.show_x_ray' into Context A. (It won't let me upload third screenshot,sry)

It works in both modes too, pretty handy.

  • $\begingroup$ in blender internal you can set a material opaque to be semi transparant its what i did in cases where i did retopo, but there are multiple ways of doing things in blender. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 17:05
  • $\begingroup$ To make vertices hidden in Object mode use Mask modifier (you'll need to specify a vertex group). Aside from that you could add one more Shrinkwrap modifier to the retopo mesh to make its verts as close to the main object's surface as possible. $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ transparent material is a pretty interesting sollution, though I seem not to be able to configure it to my needs. It only starts to look acceptable with alpha below ~0.4, but for some reason with such low alpha grease pencil is no longer drawing on the surface (I'm using bsurfaces for retopology). And vertex groups turned out to be quite helpfull both for mask modifier and just general control of the visibility, thanks. $\endgroup$
    – OddlyVivid
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 9:55
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah this is frustrating. No real solution that I know of. Hopefully the new viewport will solve this. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ Transparent meshes, hiding parts of edit mesh, x-ray, they are all tools in the retopology work. And remember if you surface goes below the hi-poly, you are too low and if it totally obscures the hi-poly you are too high so in a way you'll learn to appreciate the Z-fighting mess you make :) $\endgroup$
    – kheetor
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


You can always add a Displace Modifier to temporarily lift your faces above the mesh without influencing the final result. That is what Retopoflow does, by the way. Give that thing a spin if you need to retopologize a lot. It may be far from perfect, but it has a lot of useful tools that can speed up the mundane parts of the task.


Surprised this doesn't have an answer, simply click the on-cage icon in the shrinkwrap modifier.


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