Hey guys… Today I want to talk a bit about UV mapping and texturing, and how I do this things in Maya. And for those of you who don’t know; UV mapping is the 3D modeling process of making a 2D image representation of a 3D model’s surface. Hope it helps someone 🙂 and maybe some of you also have some tips on this subject.
First of, let me just say there are many approaches to making your UV’s. There is not just one right way of doing them. I usually like to start by selecting the faces of the part of the model I wish to unwrap and select “unwrap based on camera” in front view. This way I can make my own cuts of the whole UV in a more reviewable way for me. If you don’t know where the cut’s should be on your UV look at the seams on your clothing, it’s usually very similar. But this things can take a bit of practice and it also depends on what you need at the end. The seams will be the parts where your textures meet and it can be hard to make the textures fit one another. In our case, our characters in the game are viewed from the top, so it was crucial to make the top of the heads uncut, so the texture could be flawless. That’s why we unwrapped our UV’s suitable to our needs. Ok so when I have all my UV’s cut the way I want them I select them all with the “Move UV Shell tool” and press “unfold” to make all the hidden and compressed polygons more visible. (Before you do this, make sure you have the Unfold3D.mll in your preferences/plug-in manager turned on).
After all is unfolded and almost looking done, I check my UV’s with the “Shade UV’s” and “Toggle Distortion Shader” tools. The “Shade UV’s” tool tells you if anything is overlapping. You need to fix the overlap so that all polygons are visible and can be later textured. And the “Toggle Distortion Shader” tool tells you which polygons are deformed. The blue colour indicates the stretched polygons and the red are condensed. You want to make your polygons as white as possible. That way texturing becomes a bit easier. Now I don’t know any easier way to do this, except manually changing the positions of the vertices or edges. Or playing around with the unwrap and relax tool. Just select the vertices where the polygons are most deformed and unwrap or relax it again. After this is done and all your UV’s are mostly white, you are done. All you have to do is to make an UV snapshot and import the image into a program in which you want to apply your textures on (if you want to take this approach to texturing). Anyway, more about texturing some other time 🙂
Hope you liked this quick overview of UV mapping. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, leave a comment below, we’re always happy to hear some feedback from you guys. Anyway, have a nice week and stay tuned for our new blog on thursday 🙂