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Polygon Texturing

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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This is a polygon-texturing tutorial for maya 5.0. In this tutorial, I am going to go through the steps it takes to layout UV's of a model, create the texture map, specular map, and displacement map. Texturing with lighting is one of the most overlooked areas in the 3d animation process. From my experience at SCAD, I have found that most students don't really understand texturing and very rarely is there a good texturing tutorial on the internet. It is a struggle for many people to understand. It is also one of the worst documented processes for Alias|Wavefront, no offense to them.

This is the stool that I am going to go through. I picked this model because it's not completely rigid, and it's not too organic at the same time. This model also gives the opportunity to show several techniques to the texturing process. This model is also not super high in polygons, but it's not quite a low-poly model either.

This final rendered image does include specular, and displacement maps to the stool. I am going to go through and explain what all three maps do, and how to apply them to your model.

If you want to go through the process with me, I have the original file of the stool available.

Follow these steps to get the file:

  • save this link
  • copy the text from the txt document, and paste it into a blank txt file.
  • change the extension on the end from .txt to .ma
  • voila, you have your maya ascii file of the stool

Once you have opened your scene file of the the stool, go up to the top left corner and be sure you're in Modeling mode before we start.

Next in the main menu go to Window, and under the window select the UV Texture Editor...

You will notice a window pop up that looks like this. This is the maya UV Texture Editor. If you plan on becoming a texture artist of some sort you will become very familiar with this window and it will become your best friend.

Most other 3d software packages have something very similar. In maya 5.0 they made the buttons at the top accessible at a GUI level. Some of them were available in 4.5 but now you can see them as buttons, and Alias|Wavefront added some new buttons.

Have both the stool, and the UV Editor in view.

Now select the stool. Notice how when you select the stool, you see a tangle of polygons show up in the uv editor. This tangled mess that you see are the uv's for the stool. And we're going to untangle it! Before you decide to quit this tutorial, you should know that maya has some useful tools to "unwrap" this mess.

UV's should actually be called st points, but maya decided to give them another name. So I will refer to them as uv's. They are points that correspond to the vertex point on the model. You can think of the uv's as vertex points within 2d space rather than being in a 3d space.

Be sure the entire stool is selected. You can select one part of the stool, then keep hitting the up arrow until the entire stool is green. This means you are going up through hierarchy of the model to its group leve.
Now hit F8. This will bring you into component mode. We will want to select the faces so put your curser over the stool and hold your right mouse button down. You will see a group of options appear. Select "Face"

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Darent on Fri, 30 March 2012 10:34pm
wow. I'm new in 3D modeling and this tutorial was simply awesome ... thank you so much!
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