UV maps are the 2D representation of a 3D model, we use this for texturing because Photoshop cannot handle the 3D models to texture. UV stands for the 2D axis of the texture, as the X,Y and Z are used for the axis for the 3D object.
We can compare this to the nets we’d use in primary school to create 3D shapes.
To practice this, we started with generating a cube primitive in Maya and looking at its UV to which we can compare to the above image:
However, the cube is a really simple shape, so we could texture this straight away, however with more complex models, we will have to fix the UV or else we won’t get the textures to load correctly.
To do this, I selected the parts of the model (in case the figure below, the head of the hammer), and proceeded to select ‘automatic’ to break down the faces of the model, then I went to assign a new material to the model, and selected lambert, then a checkerboard texture to use to make sure my UV was correct.
I went into the UV editor and selected ‘edge mode’ with the right click, and began to sew and move and sew the edges that joined together so they would be part of the same net, after attaching it all together, I select ‘optimise’ in the drop down menu, and then ‘unfold’ to neaten up the net.
Example 1: Mushrooms
For this example, I will be going in depth with how I created the UV map.
First I loaded up the model in Maya, and then selected the top and bottom of the mushroom to UV.
I then entered ‘shell mode’ in the UV editor to select all the pieces and then selected ‘automatic’ in the UV drop-down menu, break it down.
As you can see, this begins to look quite complicated, but we can move and manipulate the size of the pieces to help organise the workspace a little more. In this case, I did it with the stalk of the mushroom.
I then enter ‘edge’ mode and select the edges of the stalk to then move and sew together to create a net, then repeat this process until the entire model is covered,
After this, you can see the net looks quite messy, and wouldn’t be useful for texturing, so I then optimise it to neaten it up.
To neaten it up further, I then unfold it also (this isn’t always necessary, as it won’t always make a huge difference, but in this case it did.
And then I finished the rest of the net, leaving me with this final result to then texture.
Example 2: Dinner set
I decided to UV two parts of my dinner set model for this example, being both the plate and the knife.
I started with the plate, and opened the model up into Maya.
And then I opened up the UV editor and then select the ‘automatic’ option to break the UV down.
Then attached it all together with the ‘move and sew’ tool, ready to snapshot into Photoshop to add a texture, here is the final result:
Then I continued the dinner set by preparing the UV for the knife, I opened the model up in Maya, and loaded up the UV editor.
I then selected automatic, again and began sewing the parts together in ‘edge’ mode. Making sure to optimise it and unfold every now and then to keep the UV neat and tidy.
Then I was left with this result:
Example 3: Pine Tree
I then decided to UV my tree game model, and like all the others, I opened up the UV editor.
Then I selected ‘automatic’ from the drop down menu, to leave me with this result. After it gets broken down, I begin to move and sew the edges of the UV together.
Which left me with this result, ready to texture: