Texture positioning - UV Texture Editor

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For an overview of texturing methods visit Texture positioning - Overview.

UV Texture Editor

Image UVTextureLayout.jpg

In Architecture, UV Texturing is often used to quickly generate a facade of a building by placing an image of the facade on the 3D object. This makes it especially useful in the early stages of design, for example to add more detail to a mass model. Because the facade is defined by an image it can be quickly changed by altering the image of the facade (e.g.: in Photoshop).

The UV Texture Editor generates an image of the geometry exploded into faces. This makes it possible to edit the content of the faces. Some knowledge of Photoshop might be beneficial to be able to edit the image. With UV texturing you completely manually determine the UV layout and texturing of your object, in contrast to the UV mapping method, in which you use predetermined mapping shapes to unfold the UV's of your object and place your texture. This method gives you a lot of freedom in unfolding UV's and it is often used in texturing games or animation movie characters.

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Cube Representative UV Unwrapping.jpg

UV texturing works as follows: UV texturing works a lot like UV mapping. There are just a few slight differences that make this method more custom. Read the section on UV mapping works as follows as the following text builds upon that. The differences with UV mapping is that instead of applying a tileable texture image to a materials colour, you apply a custom made texture that is specifically made to fit on all the faces of your object. This is done by first UV mapping your object, this is still similar to the UV mapping method. Now the change starts to occur. You make a UV snapshot of the unfold of your object. This is done in the UV texture editor by going to Polygons » UV Snapshot.... A UV snapshot is nothing more than making an image of your UV unfold as it is depicted in the UV Texture editor. When you make this image (snapshot) you get the option to choose the resolution of the image which is important for the final detail of the texture. A resolution between 512x512 - 2048x2048 will be sufficient in most cases.

You edit this snapshot in a program like Photoshop in which you either manually colour the image or you paste textures like windows, walls or doors in it. This textured image is the image you finally connect to an attribute like the colour of a material. When you apply the material with this texture to your object it will be placed perfectly on all its faces.


You normally undertake the following steps when using UV Texturing to texture an object.

  1. Depending on how you want to map, choose either the object or the faces of your object that you want to manually map.
  2. Choose the mapping method you want to apply. Planar, Cylindrical, Spherical or Automatic. These can be found in the Modeling menu set under UV.
  3. Using the manipulator tool position your mapping method in the right manner on your object (See the UV mapping paragraph for an explanation about the use of the manipulator tool).
  4. In the UV texture editor (Windows » UV Editor or UV » UV Editor) check if the UV's are unfolded to your liking. If not, reposition the UV's in the Texture editor workspace. Press and hold your right mouse button in the workspace and move your mouse over to UV's to be able to select the UV's in the Texture editor workspace. You can move the points using the move tool and rotate and scale groups of UV's using respectively the rotate and scale tool.
  5. When satisfied with the UV layout, make a snapshot in the UV texture editor. In the UV texture editor go to Polygons » UV Snapshot....
  6. Choose where to save the snapshot image, the resolution of the image, the file type and give it a logical name. Note!: Keep your object selected otherwise the snapshot can not be saved.
  7. Open the snapshot image in Photoshop. Note!: sometimes you would like to invert the colours of the snapshot because the lines are depicted white on a black background. Do this in Photoshop by selecting the layer of your snapshot and press Ctrl+I or go to Image » Adjustments » Invert.
  8. In Photoshop in the Layers window (bottom right corner) change the Blend mode to Multiply. By default it is set to Normal. Make sure that this layer remains as the top layer, because setting the blend mode on multiply will make everything transparent in this layer except the black lines (making it basically a colouring paper).
  9. Edit your image to your own liking. Either colour it using Photoshop tools or paste in textures like walls, windows, doors, etc.
  10. Save the file, do this in a file type that can be read by Maya (JPEG, Targa, TIFF etc). Note!: Make sure that when saving your image you turn off the layer with your snapshot lines. Otherwise these lines will be visible on your texture.
  11. You create a new mia_material_x shader in the Hypershade.
  12. You assign a texture to one of the attributes of the material. Lets take the Color attribute from the Diffuse section for this example. You click the checkerbox behind the Color attribute.
  13. The Create Render Node window will open.
  14. Choose the file texture node from the Create Render Node window.
  15. Assign the custom made texture to the material.
  16. Select the object you made the texture for.
  17. RMB-hold on your shader in the Hypershade (do not deselect the objects) and move the mouse over to the Assign Material To Selection marking menu and release the mouse button. The material is now assigned to the object.

As you can see from the number of steps in this workflow, UV texturing can be quite a lot of work.

Workflow with a lambert
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