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Modelling, Mapping and Texturing a Creatures Head

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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Mapping and Unwrapping

The DVD contains 5 movies, 11 stills and 7 pages of printable text on this section

With the Poly's still selected click on the UVW Map button at the top of the rollout (highlighted in red in the below Image). This opens up the mapping parameters menu where we have a number of options. Click on the small plus sign next to the UVW Mapping Modifier in the stack and then on Gizmo which can be seen highlighted in yellow on the right. Select the Cylindrical Radio button and then scroll down to the Alignment section and click on the X Radio button and then the Fit button. This basically places a cylinder around our selected faces from which our map is projected onto the surface of our mesh and is proportionate to the width and height of the selection group. You will also notice that the checker map pattern is now far more consistent and that is the reason we use it. If the scale of the squares are the same all over and the lines parallel then we know our texture co-ordinates are being accurately mapped..

The next stage is to click on the Unwrap UVW button to the right of the UVW Map one which is highlighted in red in the below Image on the right panel. After bringing up the Unwrap rollout which is shown underneath click on the Edit button which is also highlighted and this will open up the Edit UVWs window where we see a flattened version of our creatures head which can be seen on the left. This is where we can manipulate the mapping co-ordinates of our mesh by transforming verts and edges but it does not affect the positions of the verts on the actual model - it simply governs how we view the texture across the surface of our geometry. What we have done here is essentially wrap a cylinder around the head and then project our checker map onto it and then cut the cylinder lengthways and unfold the map so it is flat. Therefore the two extreme edges on the left and right of the unwrap would be the seamline where the cut was made on the cylinder. You will notice that the two edges are not straight because some of the verts on the left appear to be taken from the right edge and also fall outside the template boundary so what we need to do to neaten things up is move these over to the other side.

One last issue that requires some attention are the areas where faces are in front of others when mapped and as a consequence result in overlapping Verts. These can be seen in the below Image at the top of the nose, the nostril and upper eyelid. In order to be able to clearly see all of the faces we need to re-arrange the verts somewhat. We do this by first selecting the group of offending verts and then clicking on Tools on the Main Menu Bar and selecting Relax Dialog shown at the top left. .


Now that we have completed Mapping our character we are ready to begin texturing but we need to export our Unwrapped wireframe to use as a guide in order to know where to paint in the features and details. Texporter is a free Plugin that can be downloaded from the following link and enables us to do just this.

After installing it go into the Utilities Panel by clicking on the hammer icon in the top right ( ringed in red in I the below image) and select Texporter. If it does not appear click on More.. and find it in the list. Then under Parameters type in the size of the texture in the Image Size section - in this case 2048x1024. Scroll down and adjust the settings in the Display file to match those on the right making sure to tick the Only ID box and enter 1. Lastly select Constant in the Colourize by section and make the colour white. Having done all that click on Pick Object and then on the model and you will see a wireframe appear in a new window where we can save it out ( top left icon ) and then open it in Photoshop

To see more by Richard Tilbury, check out Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 5
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 7
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop Elements
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Photoshop for 3D Artists
and Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection

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