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Part of unwrapping an object is actually stitching the object back together. We are taking an object that is a 3D object and we're flattening it so that a 2D texture can wrap around it correctly. That's the idea of unwrapping. What I will show here is how to take pieces and stitch them together in an economical way to best use up the texture space. I have the warehouse from the previous exercises and as we can see by the map seams evident, the large faces are mapped on their own and the small sides are all split apart, as are the window polygons and the doors.
Because this will be used for a dirt map or occlusion map, I would like to have some continuity in my textures, where the same dirt can be painted on the bottom or the windowsill, the bottom of the window, and on the side. I will open up the UV Editor, and in here start to stitch together my elements. What I had done for convenience and so I could tell where they were, is to start to stack my window pieces. I'll pick one and pull it to the side and then zoom in on it. Whenever we select a face or an edge in the UV Editor, 3ds Max will show us the adjacent pieces.
This particular window I have has these adjacent faces shown in blue. What I'll do as an example is take these pieces and pull them into place. What I can see as I select this bottom is that it's adjacent to that blue edge. I will pull it over into the right place. I'll pick the next piece and move it in. I will get them fairly close, selecting parts here. Putting them in one place and finding the last one,. There it is, stuck out there.
Once I have the five components of the window and its sides, I can start to rotate and put these into the right place. I will select one of the side faces and look at the adjacent edge highlighted in blue. When I picked the window face, I'll make a mental note of which edge on the side is highlighted as well. This tells me which way to rotate it. It looks like I need to flip a few of these around. I will start with the side and I'll use the Rotate -90 around the Pivot button, In flipping this when I toggle back and forth, I can see that the blue edges are adjacent to each other correctly.
I'll move this into the right place and continue flipping. Picking the window and it looks like the header needs to flip around as well. Once, twice and the 90 gives me 180 degrees. I will move it nice and close and look at the last one. It looks like this one needs to flip 90 degrees. Now all of my elements are flipped in the right place. What I would like to do here, is get them as close as possible and then start sewing edges.
We do have some snap tools available in the Unwrap dialog. Sometimes I use these and sometimes I like to do it manually. In this case, I am going to go manual. I will pull these in as close as possible, then right-click and switch to Edge. Alternately we can work by face. It's important to note where that blue edge is. Working by face I am going to look in the Stitch rollout. We have some options here in how we are stitching: whether we are working to the Target, whether we are stitching to a center or Average, or stitching to the Source.
I am going to stitch to the Target in this case. What that does is stitches the whole piece in. Sometimes we get a fairly odd result when I have adjacent edges like this. In this case, this is a place to switch to edge instead of face. I will right-click and choose Edge. Now when I select an edge its counterpart is highlighted in blue. I'll use the Stitch To Target button and stitch them together. I do have a little bit of weave here but I can fix that. Really the nice part is that I have an interior scene that if I paint a texture on the window, it will clearly and cleanly lap onto the sill.
I'll finish this process on the window. Zooming in and picking an edge, making sure I am being consistent in which way I'm going. For me in this case, I want to stitch from the side, top and bottom, onto the window face. I will click on Stitch To Target and proceed around the window. Now my UV element is stitched together, and I am ready to do some aligning in the vertices. For these vertices, I'll select them all in a line and then use the Align Vertical button to get them together.
I'll repeat this all the way around, Aligning these as well as possible. For the top and sides I will use the Align Horizontal button. Now my element is continuous. I'll have to deal with the texture span right here at the corner. We have to make some allowances in texture for things like that. But I have the most continuity in this element, from face to side, top, and bottom across the longest edge. This is an important principle in Unwrapping. This way when I paint a texture such as dirt or overlay Ambient Occlusion as a light map, I can have as much continuity in my pieces as possible.
What I would do on the rest of this building is to finish stitching the windows and doors and their component sides and tops and bottoms. That way instead of a spread of elements all through here, I have a stack of elements, one for the doors and one for the windows. I can then take those and fill this UV space as big as possible. Although it may sound odd, my door and window elements will occupy as much space as the wall, and the reasoning behind that is because I stand to get close to them.
In fact, as we saw in the Walkthrough Assistant video, I could stand right here in the doorway and peek around the corner, looking right at the dirt and occlusion I'm going to put over.
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