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3D Stylized Head Tutorial

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Date Added: 25th May 2010
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The primary point to this is the 1x1 square. Everything has to fit inside that square when we're done. Once you've finished laying out and adjusting all of the UVs, you have to resize and move everything so that it all fits inside that square. If I left the face as one long object, I would have to leave it at its current size to fit it inside that square simply because of it's width. Now that the entire head is much smaller, I can increase it's size and it'll still fit inside the 1x1 square. I can shrink down the other, less-important areas and fit them around it. This gives me much more texture space for the face than I would have had otherwise

I ended up deciding to connect the head and the neck since it didn't generate much deformation and it would reduce the number of seams I'd have to deal with when actually texturing. I made sure to leave an open spot available in the map for the eye texture. Since the eyeballs are seperate objects, I have to apply their UVs seperately.

There is no feature in any of the current releases of Max and dump a texture from the UVs automatically. There are plugins for it, but I'm not going to assume that any of you have those plug-ins, so I'll just tell you how to do this next step the manual way.

Maximize / fullscreen the UV window and zoom into the 1x1 square as close as you can get. Now press the PrintScreen button on your keyboard. This will save a copy of your whole screen into windows clipboard. Go into Photoshop create a new image file and Ctrl+V (paste). You should now see the UV screen you had up just a moment earlier.

Using the rectangular marquee selector, Select around the 1x1 Square and Crop the image. Select the Magic Wand tool and go to the top menu where you can adjust the settings for the tool. UNCHECK Anti-aliased, and Contiguous. Now zoom into the picture and click on one of the white lines. It should now select every bit of white in the whole picture. If there is any green, make sure to click on one of those areas as well (hold down Shift while clicking on any additional colors so that it adds to the selection instead of creating a new selection

Now create a new layer and fill the selection with a dark color (I usually use a dark blue).
Delete the layer below (the one with the screen cap of your UV window) We don't need it now. The image should now look something like this

Duplicate the file (Image > Duplicate) and Flatten the image (Layer > Flatten Image). Save it as a .bmp or .jpg and go back to 3ds max.

Close the UVW Unwrap window, right-click on the Unwrap UVW modifier in the modifier stack and collapse all. Now press the M button to open the material editor. In the checkerboard texture, click on the button next to diffuse that now has an M in it. The top section is labled Coordinates. Under it is Noise and then Bitmap Parameters. Right after the word Bitmap: it has the location of the checkerboard image. Click on this box and it'll open the file dialog box. Now instead of the checkerboard, find the image you just saved from photoshop.

Click oK and Wa-La! Now you're model should look like it has the wireframe applied to it. This shows that whatever you paint onto those areas of the bitmap will appear onto those areas of the actual 3D object.

You have successfully laid out the UVs and prepared for making the texture

Okay, so we're about to start actually making the textures. The key to making good textures is using good photo source. Even when you're making an anime character or whatever, you should still use photographs for your textures. There are some amazing texture artists who manage to create beautiful things from scratch, but those people have like... a decade of experience and have amazing painting skillz. If you honestly think you're one of those people, go for it, otherwise, I recommend you get some photographs. One good place to look is here:

I'm providing you with a .zip file with a few image I selected as being useful for face texturing. I didn't use all of these, but I used some of them for this tutorial. You can go through them and pick what you want to use.

Click Here to Download File - 1.15MB

If you're aiming for a cell-shaded character, then this is not the way to go. Cell shading should not be built into the texture, it'll only look cheap. Find yourself a good cell-shader like Illustrate! or see if you can stand Max's "ink & paint" (it's built-in shader for cell-shading). This tutorial is going to focus on a more realistic style of texturing


I started with this photo of a girl. The nose and lips lined up and fit well from the very start, so it seemed a good candidate. After I'd lined up the key important areas (nose and mouth) I used the polygonal selection tool to select all of the unwanted stuff (the shirt, hair, etc.) and deleted it

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