UV Mapping and such Delights

So part of the process of creating a character is doing what is known as UV mapping.
Basically giving each Vertice its own  coordinates within UV space so that when texture is applied it is evenly and properly distributed.
UV Mapping was never one of my strong points…I HATED IT…It was just a time consuming exercise that I never saw as important. I always planar mapped, cylindrical or spherical mapped my geometry and then wondered why the texture map would “Stretch” in some places or copy onto another part of the character…tsk tsk….Such a Noob I was.
My first experience in UV mapping was actually for a 3D image entitled “Neck Romancers” (see what I did there?)
Here you can see the UV Mapping and Texture placement progress:

And here you can see Progress of touching up the final render:

The Final image can be seen here: FINAL IMAGE

Yeah. It is a strange image and the Character concepts are out of left field, but this project really got me to understand the importance of UV mapping.
I was more confident that I could get a finished character now that I knew I could apply a custom texture. After tackling this project I went on to model Boris.
Boris of course was far more challenging. Areas like the fingers are especially tricky. Maybe there is a specific way to do those that I have not discovered as yet. Tutorials are great and easy to find, but TRUST me, they can only get you so far. I find that most animators will withhold vital trade secrets, especially the academically learned ones.

Just in case some of you are still clueless about the difference between something that is UV mapped and not UV mapped, Please see the following image:

On the right you can see that the Female…uh…thing…character has those zebra like lines on her face and the vague moire pattern on her serpentine neck. This is basically the very same checker pattern on the left character. What’s the difference? UV mapping…The left male Character has UV mapping applied and the Female character does not.  I have not yet laid out the UVs so that they distribute the pattern evenly. So if I tried applying an image to the character, it would be severely distorted and basically unrecognizable. The aim of using the checker pattern is to basically get the squares to be as “Square” as possible. The less distorted each square, the better the map.

While the process seems convoluted and time consuming, it is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it and know what you are doing, and once you see the results, you will be able to appreciate the necessity of the process altogether. So watch and enjoy….also, feel free to leave any questions 🙂



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