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Mastering UV Mapping: Unveiling the Secrets of Autodesk Maya for Seamless Prop Texturing

🗾Learn how to UV a full prop in this tutorial video.

🗾Follow the step-by-step process of creating UV maps, cutting seams, unfolding and straightening UV shells, and transferring attributes to achieve proper UVs.

🗾Improve your prop modeling and texturing skills with Maya.

- Workflow

  • In today’s class, we’ll learn how to cut a UV Map for a prop.

  • Import the barrel inside of our Maya project and change the Workspace to UV Editing.

  • We can see that the prop doesn’t have any type of UV Shells at all.

  • This isn’t because the prop wasn’t exported properly but because there weren’t any UVs opened inside the software it was made in.

  • This isn’t by any means wrong and we can open UV shells for the prop inside of Maya.

  • Select the model and click on the Planart option in the Create tab.

  • Now we have some basic UVs that Maya made for us.

  • Even though now we have UVs they’re not optimal for game use and we need to make them by hand.

  • In the Simple UVs class, we learned how to use the cut-and-sew tools and will be using them again for this class as well.

  • How do we know which edges to cut? The edges that are most sharp are usually the ones that are cut on the model or anywhere where there is a sudden extrude or incline.

  • We also need to cut the edges that are on the bottom of the prop as well.

  • There is also another way of making UV Shells and cuts. Select the faces you want to be a UV Shell and click the Create UV Shell button.

  • Now that we made our cuts we need to unfold the UV Shells.

  • Select the shells inside the UV Map and click the Unfold button.

  • To make the UV Shells more presentable and precise we can select the shells that have a cylindrical form and click the Cylindrical button in the Create Tab.

  • We can also select multiple UV Shells with that kind of form and then click the Cylindrical option.

  • After that, select all the UV Shells again and Unfold them once more.

  • While you have all the Shells selected still click on the Orient Shells option in the Arrange and Layout tab to fix up the orientation of the shells before Laying them out.

  • Once we Lay them out we can see that all the Shells are inside one square and the checkerboard map is evenly distributed along the entire barrel.

  • We need to do this to all of the other parts of the barrel.

  • Next, we’ll do the inner fold of the barrel.

  • If we want our part to be fully cylindrical upon unfolding we can add one vertical cut on the fold.

  • These big cuts are usually made somewhere where they will be barely noticeable.

  • We can see once we Unfold the UV Shell that it is nicely unfolded but it still has some curved ends.

  • To straighten a UV Shell click the Straighten Shell option in the Unfold tab

  • Now our shell is fully straight and it will be easier to work with when we have to texture the prop.

  • We can now move on to the other folds and repeat these same steps.

  • Select a vertical edge on the next fold and cut it.

  • Unfold, Orient Shell, and Straighten Shell.

  • After we are done with the second fold move on to the last one.

  • Select a vertical edge and cut it.

  • Unfold, Orient Shell, and Straighten Shell.

  • Select the entire model and we can see that our UV Shells are overlapping on each other.

  • We’ll fix this issue once we open up UV Shells for the bolts on the barrel.

  • Instead of going every bolt one by one and opening each one its own UV Shell, we can do it in a faster and more efficient way.

  • First, select one bolt and cut a UV Shell for it as usual.

  • Unfold it, Orient Shell, and Layout.

  • Once you do that select the bolt with the UV Shell and by holding Shift select another bolt, preferably the one next to it so you can keep better track.

  • Once you select your second bolt open up the Mesh tab and open the Transfer Attributes Menu.

  • Make sure you have the Vertex position and normal turned off, the UV sets and Color Sets on All, and the Sample Space set to Topology.

  • With this, we can transfer the UV Shell to the other bolt because it has the same exact topology as the first one we opened a UV Shell for.

  • Once you make sure the setting is correct click on the Apply button.

  • We can see that the same UV Shells have been applied to the second bolt we’ve selected.

  • We’ll repeat this process on the other bolts.

  • Keep in mind that we have to do them one at a time. We can’t select all of them at once and click Apply.

  • Once you have all to UV Shells, select the entire object and click on the Orient Shells then Layout.

  • We can see that all of the shells are no longer overlapping and are neatly laid out on the UV Map.

  • We can go a step further and select only the bolts. Unfold them, Orient Shells, and Layout.

  • Move them to the side then select the entire barrel again.

  • Select the UV Shells without the bolts, Orient Shells and Layout.

  • After that grab the shells from the bolts, scale them down, and place them anywhere where there is empty space on the map.

  • The final step is to give a new material on the entire barrel and name it.

Bonus Cut and Sew Tool

- Workflow

  • Once we open up our workspace go to Windows and open up the Content Browser.

  • Pick the human model and double-click on it to show up in your scene.

  • Change the workspace from General to UV Editing.

  • We can see that this model already has UVs cut.

  • We don’t need them for today's example so we’ll go into edge mode and select the entire model then click Sew.

  • We’ll learn how to use a new tool that’s called the 3D Cut and Sew Tool.

  • With this tool, we can select edges and it will immediately cut the edge for us. We can also sew edges the same way.

  • For example, if we double-click on an edge loop it will do a UV cut.

  • Clicking once on an edge will still cut it.

  • Holding down the left mouse button and dragging around the model will add cuts wherever we drag our curser.

  • Holding down Tab will show us the edge loop.

  • Holding down the shift and the left mouse button will make this red line appear, if we drag our mouse the line gets bigger and will start looping around the edge till it reaches the end of its loop.

  • Holding down the Ctrl key and clicking will sew back cut edges.

  • Holding down Shift + Ctrl and dragging with the mouse will do the same thing as the previous example but this time it will sew back cut edges.

  • If there are two cut-edge loops and we double click with the cut and sew tool in the middle it will only make the cut in between the two edge loops.

  • Selecting faces and then clicking X on your keyboard will cut a UV Shell for those faces.

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