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Get a thorough overview of techniques for creating characters for video games or real-time rendered applications. Author Chris Reilly covers low-poly modeling, texturing and animation, using 3D model and texture assets created in Maya and Adobe Photoshop. The course also includes an overview of Unity 3, including importing characters and making interactive animations with the Script Editor.
Okay, so now that we have an overview of the goal of UV mapping, let's take a look at some more specific examples and techniques using an actual character. One thing that I find really helpful during a UV Mapping process is to map a checkerboard pattern onto my character, just like I did with the cubes in the previous video. So I am just holding down my right mouse button here. I am going to select Material Attributes. I am going to map a checkerboard pattern onto the color node here and this is just going to give me a temporary visual indication of where distortion and stretching is going to happen in my texture.
This is really helpful to eliminate that kind of distortion. Let's take a look at the UV map in the UV Texture Editor. So I will select my character, go to Window > UV Texture Editor. Boy! It's kind of a mess. It can be a little bit hard to know where to jump in when you first start UV mapping. I think one good spot to pick is the antenna. This is actually going to be a nice example that's going to transfer to the other appendages kind of like the arms and the legs.
Even though there are certainly different body parts you can see they are all kind of shaped similarly. So there are actually all sort of cylindrical and that's going to help us as we go through the UV mapping process to figure out how to approach UV mapping for those different body parts. So just to give an example of what the end result is going to be for the antenna I am going to skip ahead here.
So this is the end result of my UV map for the antenna and you can see the checkerboard pattern is nice and regular. The checkerboard squares are spaced evenly width and height. That's going to just make sure that I get very little distortion when I go to map an actual texture onto the antenna there. So let's go back to our previous file. We will talk about how to approach this antenna mapping. So as I mentioned earlier if you think about the way that the faces on the sides of the antenna flow from one to the next it's very similar to a cylinder.
And one key to successful UV mapping is to try to think about how your character's geometry will sort of unfold, because really you are trying to map a flat two-dimensional image onto three-dimensional geometry. So as we look at the character's geometry we can look for clues that will help us figure out what's the best way to UV map at this particular part. I'm going to right-click and select Face component mode. I am just going to select the faces on the antenna. So I'll start just by clicking on the top face and then I can hold down Shift and hit greater than and that's going to grow my selection down the stock of the antenna and select all those faces down to the base.
That's just an easy way of selecting a bunch of faces on an appendage like this. So I'm going to focus on the faces that are on the outside of the antenna. I am actually going to deselect this face on the top. We will come back to that in just a bit. I am just going to look at these faces on the outside and what I am going to do to get started here is apply a cylindrical mapping. So I am going to come up here to this Create UVs menu and apply a Cylindrical Mapping to these faces. And if I look in my UV Texture Editor we can see the start of that mapping. That's quite a bit different than our end result.
But in my first step I am just going to click and drag this away from that top quadrant of the UV Texture Editor graph and that's just going to separate it from the rest of the UV maps that are there already. It's going to make it easier for us to come back and edit this portion of the UV map later on. So one thing I can do to make this match up more closely with our end result is to adjust the rotation of the cylindrical mapping. So I can see right now if I look at the manipulator for the cylindrical mapping, it's oriented straight up and down. So parallel with the y-axis.
What I want to do is actually rotate it so that it winds up with the axis of symmetry of the antenna. And I will do that from the Front view. So just hit Spacebar to maximize Front view and I will turn off X-Ray Shading to make it a bit easier to see. So to rotate the Cylindrical Mapping I am just going to click on this little red handle down here. It's going to bring up my rotate handle so I will click on that and I can just rotate this from the Front view. So you can see that axis of the cylindrical mapping is lining up more closely with the axis of symmetry of the antenna.
And I can see too in my UV Texture Editor window the UV map is starting to look a lot more like my end result than it did before. So there are a lot of little manual adjustments that I would want to start to make at this point. Let me show you one important one. Let's switch back to Perspective and one part where there's a lot of distortion is this sort of bottom of the bulb of the antenna. What's happening here-- let me switch to UV Mode. So I am holding down my right mouse button and select UV and let's just select these UVs that are at the top of the stock as they move into the ball of the antenna.
Now one of the cool thing is your UV mapping is to think about the correspondence between what you see in the 3D views and what you see in the UV Texture Editor. So again that's a cue to think about how your 3D geometry is going to sort of unfold flat as your UV mapping. So if I zoom-in real close here I can see there is actually two sets of UVs here. So there is these UVs, which correspond to the top of the stock of the antenna, and then these UVs are kind of right next to him right here.
So if I Shift+Select this UV you can see those are kind of lined up right alongside one another. So I want to separate these out a little bit. So I am just going to move those down with a Move tool. That's going to help a little bit to minimize distortion. Obviously it's not perfect at this point but I will come back to that in a little bit and do some more tweaking. Before I go much further on that though, I need to pay some attention to the top of the antenna. So I will switch back to Face mode, select that face, and I'm going to apply a planar mapping to this phase and then merge it with our cylindrical mapping that we just created for the rest of the antenna.
So click on Create UVs > Planar Mapping with options and I want to make sure that I'm fitting the projections at the best planes. So that's going to make a planar mapping that winds right up with the top face of the antenna. Just click Project and in my UV Texture Editor again I just want to drag this away from the top right quadrant of that UV Texture Editor graph. And then to bring up the rest of that antenna projection I will just right-click over my character and select it.
So now I can see I have got both projections there. So when you are UV mapping each sort of section of the UV map is referred to as a shell. So right now I have two UV shells that aren't connected and what I want to do is merge these two together. So I am just going to select UV. So I will just right-mouse-clicking here. So select these four UVs that represent that planar mapping on the top face. Just move these up a little bit. Now switch to Edge mode and we will look at something interesting here.
When I select an edge of this planar mapping in the UV Texture Editor window another edge down here is automatically selected. So what that tells me is that these two edges on the 3D geometry are butting right up against one another. These two corresponding edges, those are good candidates for merging together. One thing I would want to do before I merge these two edges together is to adjust the scale of this planar mapping. So let's switch back to UVs just holding down right mouse button and then use the Scale tool to scale this down so it's a little bit closer to be cylindrical mapping.
Okay, I will switch back to Edge mode just holding down right mouse button. Select those two edges and I can merge them together with this Move and Sew tool. Okay, so now I have one shell that's going to represent the UV Map for the entire antenna. And I will keep doing some adjustments here, just moving UVs around. Again the overall goal is to minimize the distortion in a checkerboard pattern. You want to keep the width and height as consistent as possible in each of the checkerboard squares.
So this process is going to apply generally to the rest of the appendages. Select the arms and the legs. That's going to be a very similar process where you are doing one, maybe two cylindrical projections combined with one or more planar projections. So I will keep doing some adjustments off screen. Again, the overall goal is to minimize the amount of distortion on the checkerboard pattern. You want to try to get the width and the height of the checkerboard squares as consistent as possible.
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