Getting rid of seams
My teacher gave me a really cool trick to get rid of seams. It is a little time consuming and hard to explain, but I'll do my best.
Once you have a model (textured and everything) and want to get rid of the seams, clone the model or the part of the model you want to fix. On the clone, you'll need to create a new unwrap: add another Unwrap UV" modifier and use a different map channel than your first one so that your clone has two unwraps on two different map channels. On the second Unwrap UVW, you'll need to unwrap the model in a way that you won't have any seams where you had seams before. You don't even need to completely unwrap the model, only the faces around the area where you had seams before the first unwrap. When you are done with the second unwrap, make sure the cloned model is selected and go in Render to Texture (hotkey is 0). Click Add and choose Diffuse map in the Add Texture Element window. Then choose a location, a size and a format for the output file. Finally (the most important part) in the mapping coordinates, click Use Existing Channel and choose the channel of the second unwrap. You will end up with a diffuse map that has the same texture as the original model, but within the UVs of the second unwrap.
Now open this new texture in Photoshop and clean the texture where there were seams (they will no longer be on the borders of the unwrapped chunks because you moved the seams in the second unwrap). Once you've clean the new diffuse, you'll need to do the process backwards: so go back to 3ds Max, apply the new texture on the cloned model (you'll need to create a new material and change its bitmap map channel to two because you want it to be applied according to its second unwrap, the new one) and finally go to Render to Texture. But this time in the Use Existing Channel option use the first channel (the one of the original model). You will end up with a diffuse that looks like your original diffuse map, but the corrections you made in Photoshop will be there. The only thing left is to blend both diffuse map (the original and the newest one) using Photoshop and only keep what was corrected from the newest diffuse: that means not touching the pixel on the seams since they were recently corrected.
Note: The better your pixel ratio, the better the results in terms of getting rid of the seams.
Using parts from the Mechanurse, I modeled a podium to give her an action figure style. I put a biped in the lowres model, did a quick rigging and skinning and gave her a more interesting stance. Then I added a three point lighting set-up, nothing special. I enabled Final Gather and soft shadows and after a couple of tests came out with some renders. I saved my results as a PNG, opened the file in Photoshop and added in a background to give it a more illustrative look (Fig.11 - 12).
I hope this Making Of helps in the creation of your next lowres model. If you have other question or comments, don't hesitate to contact me at: . You can also check my website at : www.marcoplouffe.com
Have a good one!