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Explore the world of modeling and texturing game props and assets in Autodesk 3ds Max. Author Adam Crespi demonstrates how to create both small and large props, from tools to shipping containers. The course begins with cloning and instancing objects for ease of modeling and unwrapping, and segues into multiple methods of unwrapping and painting texture by hand in Adobe Photoshop. Adam looks at various plug-ins that assist with normal map generation as well as sculpting in Mudbox, a digital sculpting application that can add realism and detail to your models. Finally, the course shows how to add lights to a scene and preview the objects in-game.
Note: A familiarity of basic modeling and unwrapping techniques in 3ds Max and a working knowledge of Photoshop will help you get the most out of this course.
In this video, I'll take the hammer that I've modeled and unwrap it. I'm going to use this as part of a texture sheet, so at least I'll get the objects flattened out and the proportion correct first. Then I'll go in later and position it once I have my other objects unwrap. I'll start by unwrapping the handle. I've optimized this a little bit, taking out the top polygons, and making sure that the handle looks good especially from the bottom and it doesn't show as terribly faceted unless we get fairly close. I've also added some extra detail on the head, giving it a little bit of roundness so it shines nicely.
I'm figuring this is a tool we're going to pick up and use. So I need to see it fairly close. Now I'll start out by adding an Unwrap UVW Modifier on to the handle. Remember that we can unwrap multiple objects, combine them or attach them, and those UVs will still be there. I'll open up my Editor, and I'm going to work in two views here. We can see that the original UVs are messy and what this is reflective of is that it starts out with UVs and I've extruded and changed the geometry, which gives me spaghetti over here. I'll press 3 to switch over to Face, and I'll select all the faces, and then deselect the bottom.
But there's an issue here. The default settings when working by Face and the Unwrap, is to have Backface Culling on or Ignore Backfacing when selecting. I'll go up to the top of my selection rollout and the Unwrap UVW Modifier, and turn off this option. With Ignore Backfacing off, now I can select the whole handle, deselect the base, and there is all of that cylindrical mass selected. Now I'll scroll down to the Projection section in the Unwrap UVW Modifier.
In the Projection rollout, I'm going to use a cylindrical projection. I'll click on the cylindrical map, and I can align it in various ways. The easiest here is on the Z axis, and the reason why is that I made this cylinder with its height going up on the Z. So picking Z gives me a near perfect unwrap as we can see here in my editor. Choosing X or Y gives me awkward polygons at best. Now I need to get the scale right. I'm going to close my unwrap for a minute and right-click and choose Top-level, and I need to get a material on.
I'll press M for my Material Editor. I've already made a material in here, and this one, all it has is a checker pattern and the Diffuse. I've made this, and included it in the sceneassets > images folder in the 3ds Max project. What this is, is a gradient applied across checkers with gray between, and letters that repeat through. This allows me to see where a map tiles or repeats as red will match up with green or yellow, and also, because of the letters, see which way it's facing. And finally, because of the letters being smaller detail, I can see if there is distortion within each square.
I know some folks like to use just black and white or something similar, but black stretching to black is still black, and white stretching to white is still white. So I like to have a little more detail in my map. You're free to use this one, and there is lots of others available out there; whatever works is fine. Now with this material applied, I'll make sure that I show it in the view, and there is those checkers. They work, but they're a little stretchy. So I'm going to fix this. I'll go back in my Editor. In the UV Editor, I'll press 3, and there is those faces still selected.
I'm going to use the scale and scale those selected sub-objects on the horizontal. As I start to scale these back down, we can see that those squares return back to square. The idea is that these started out as square. So if they are undistorted, they should be square again; this Unwrap then may be fairly skinny. I don't mind a little distortion along the sides to keep these edges straight, as I'm going to put this on a straight wood grain and it'll look pretty nice. This will also allow me to camouflage that texture seam. I'm going to show it a little easier by pressing F2 to turn off Shading Selected Faces.
As I scroll or orbit around this handle, I can see where there's a seam, but I'll have wood grain there, and so it should be pretty well camouflaged. That's one element. Now for the bottom. I'll spin underneath, select those bottom faces, and hit them with a planar map. I'll scroll down to the Projection, and choose Planar Map, and that worked nicely. The bevel is slight enough that I can really flat map them, and I'll just put where it looks like an end grain across and it will work well. What I'm setting up here for as I turn off the Planar Mapping is taking these UV shells, stacking together, and scaling them.
So once I get the head done, I'll have all the UVs in this 0 to 1 space. Then I'll stack in other objects right over it, reusing let's say a long chunk of wood grain here for both the hammer and the ladder I'll do in the next videos. That way I can have one texture as part of all of my materials for all of my different props instead of loading multiple images in and using up a lot of memory.
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