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Mastering UVs: Unveiling the Secrets of 3D Texture Mapping and Optimization


🟥Learn how to create and manipulate UVs in this class.


🟥Understand what UVs are, how they relate to 3D models, and how to add texture maps.

🟥Discover techniques for adjusting and organizing UV shells to achieve desired results.


🟥Explore the process of cutting and sewing UVs to control the layout.

Gain insights into optimizing UV space and texture resolution for better game performance.





- Workflow

  • Place a square inside the workspace and change it to UV Editing.

  • Once we do that the workspace will split into two parts, one side showing the 3D model and the other showing the UV shells of the UV map.

  • If we select a face on our model we can see on the right side of the screen that the UV shell that belongs to that face is also being selected.

  • We can always turn the checkerboard off anytime we want.

  • We’re going to add a new material to our cube and instead of changing the color of the material, we’ll then instead add a transparent png image of an open UV Map of a Minecraft grass block.

  • In the Material Menu click the checkerboard colored square next to the Color slider.

  • Just like we do when creating a reference with a free image plane we need to have the png file added inside the main folder of our project file.

  • From here select the Minecraft grass block image and it will appear on the right part of the screen where the UV Shell is.

  • We can see that the image is flipped sideways and doesn’t align with our UV Shells.

  • This issue can be fixed by rotating the UV Shell itself by using the rotation and move tool.

  • We come across another issue, the image is too small for the UV Shell, we can also scale down the UV Shell to fit the image without changing the actual size of the 3D model.

  • Try your best to place the shell nicely on top of the image.

  • After everything looks good we can see that our block is laying on its side.

  • We can rotate the cube itself on the left side of our screen.

  • If we try to move any of the UV Shells we can see that they are connected to one another and it will deform not only our UV Shell but the texture as well.

  • We can separate these parts into their own UV Shells using the UV Toolkit.

  • We can see that on the cube we have these white highlights around each edge except for a few, we can even see this on the UV Shell itself.

  • Those white highlights signify that those edges are already been cut white the non-highlight ones are not.

  • We can make our own cuts by using the Cut tool inside the Cut and Sew menu.

  • Select the edges that aren’t cut and click on the Cut button.

  • We can now freely move this UV Shell around without worrying that is stretching the entire group.

  • We can use this to make a dirt block without grass on top of it by stacking the UV shells only on the dirt part of the image.

  • We first need to select all the edges on our block and cut them using the cut tool.

  • Now that every face of our cube has its own UV Shell we can stack all of them on top of each other on the dirt side of the image.

  • To stack them properly we can snap the pivot to the lower corners of the UV Shell by holding down D + V and moving it with the mouse.

  • Once our pivot is snapped to the corner of the UV Shell, hold down V and drag the UV Shell on top of the one placed on the dirt side of the image.

  • Once we have all of the UV Shells stacked on each other we’ll have a dirt block without grass.

  • If we want to sew all of the UV Shells back together we can select all of them and press the Sew tool.

  • But there will be an issue since all of the sides of the cube are sewn and the UV Shell will turn into a 3D object inside the 2D UV space.

  • You can see it is causing a big problem and we won't be able to place the UV Shell properly on the image.

  • We can instead only select the edges that need to be sowed together.

  • And we will once again have a nicely opened UV Shell for our cube.

  • We’ll make a duplicate of the cube and add a new material to it.

  • Just like before we’ll add a new texture image inside the material.

  • This time we’ll make some dark wood planks.

  • We can see that the texture is only one big square image and doesn’t really fit how the UV Shells have been cut.

  • We need to cut them into individual UV Shells again and once more stacked them on top of each other.

  • Select all the edges of the cube and click on the Cut tool.

  • Now that each side has its own UV shell we can scale them up and stack them.

  • Scaling them each one by one will be hard to get the exact same size, we can use the Layout tool to get them all to be the same size.

  • We can see if we select all of them and use the Layout tool it will uniformly scale and place them inside the UV grid but they are still too small for the texture image.

  • We can instead select them one by one while using the Layout tool to get them all to be the same size as the texture image.

  • Once we are done Laying out each UV Shell we can see that some shells are rotated the wrong way and need to be rotated correctly.

  • We can’t rotate the UV Shell by selecting the face of the cube but instead, we need to rotate them from the UV Grid.

  • Switch to UV Shell selection and select the shell that is incorrectly rotated on the cube.

  • It will also then select the UV Shell on the UV Grid to the left side of our workspace.

  • Once you have selected the UV Shell rotate it from the UV Grid.

  • Pay attention to the texture and keep rotating the shell till it’s facing the right way.

  • Do this for each UV Shell that isn’t facing the texture correctly.

  • This is how the UV Shells should align with one another.

  • In the end, you should have a dark oak block that is symmetrical on all sides!

  • We can change the transparency on the texture images by right-clicking on Transparency and selecting the Break Connection option.

  • Moving on to another exercise we’ll get a look at how we can align textures in another way using the same methods we’ve used in our previous examples.

  • Make a duplicate of the cube and once again change the material.

  • In this material, we’ll be adding a texture image that is fully vertical but also has 4 textures in one image.

  • We want to make all of the different colored squares be separate textures on separate cubes.

  • We can make this possible by following these steps.

  • Like always we’ll select all the edges and cut them.

  • Using one of the cut UV Shells we’ll scale and place it on our first block.

  • We can scale all the other UV Shells to be the exact same size as the first by collecting the transformation number from the first UV Shell we’ve scaled down.

  • Select the scaled-down UV Shell, go to the Transform menu, and click the Get button, this will copy the size of the scaled-down shell.

  • Inverse select the rest of the UV Shells by holding down Shift and dragging across the UV Grid over the other shell, then click on the Set button.

  • Now each UV Shell will be the same size.

  • Just like we did with the dirt texture, place the pivot on the corner of the UV Shells and snap them using V on top of each other.

  • Make sure you don’t have any white stripes or transparent gaps in your model.

  • This means that the UV Shells are too big and need to be scaled down.

  • Now that we made a block with the first color of cobble, we can duplicate the same cube and it will have the same UV Shells as the original.

  • This means we can just drag-select all the UV Shells we’ve stacked and place them on the other colored cobblestone.

  • Repeat this same process to make the other versions.

  • Now when we drag select all the cubes we can see all their UV Shells inside the UV Grid.

  • The last exercise we’re going to do is the railways in Minecraft.

  • For them, we’re only going to need a plane with only 1x1 Sub Divisions.

  • We can change them inside the channel box options.

  • Just like before we’re going to add a new material onto it and select our texture image.

  • We used a plane for the rails because it saves up memory space in our project and it is great to use for game projects as well.

  • Autodesk Maya does bug out sometimes with transparent planes but they’ll still show up in renders and when put inside of game engines or other 3D software.

  • We can leave it to be just a flat transparent plane but we can make it look better if we extrude some parts to make it look 3D.

  • We don’t want our texture to be transparent so that we can make better cuts using the multi-cut tool.

  • Now that we can see the background of the rails we can go into Top View and start adding in edges so that we can extrude the faces.

  • The end result should look like this.

  • Select all the faces we don’t need and delete them.

  • You should be left with the rail looking like this.

  • Going back to the Perspective view select all the faces and extrude them upward.

  • We want the iron parts of the rail to stick out more, select those faces and extrude them again.

  • We can notice that the texture image only affects the top of our rail and not the bottom.

  • We can fix this by cutting up the rest of the rail to create more UV Shells and place them to the texture we want those shells to have.

  • Make sure you delete the bottom faces of the rail since it is going to be shown.

  • Inside our UV Toolkit, we have some premade UV Shell creators that can ease out our work and make the UV Shells for us. It isn’t always the best route to take but in this case, it won’t be too bad.

  • Select only the parts that the texture isn’t affecting and click Automatic.

  • Now we will have all of the parts have their own UV Shells.

  • Select the faces on the 3D model that are not with a distorted texture and hide them by pressing H on your keyboard.

  • Now we can see which parts we need to fix.

  • Grab each UV shell and place it on the texture you want it to be.

  • You can stack shells on top of each other that need to have the same texture.

  • Slowly work your way through all of the UV shells

  • Once everything is in the right place make sure you don’t have any white streaks going through the texture.

  • To fix them simply scale down the UV Shells.

  • The end result should give you a nice and clean rail.

THE FINAL RENDER






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