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Game Character Creation in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

UV mapping the face


From:

Game Character Creation in Maya

with Chris Reilly

Video: UV mapping the face

Okay, so we spent a little time looking at how to do UV mapping for some of the body parts. Let's switch now to the face and the head. This can be a little bit daunting since the geometry is a lot more complicated in the face and the head. Really though an easy technique is to just kind of split it up into a couple of different UV maps and then merge those together. So I am going to start off with this UV map for the face and the head with a combination of three planar projections. So I will do one from the back for the back of the head. I will do one from the side for these faces on the side, and then I will do one from the front for the front of the face.
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  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      39s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      1m 9s
    3. Understanding game asset creation
      1m 21s
    4. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 35s
    1. Setting up scene folders (Maya and Unity)
      3m 58s
    2. Optimizing geometry
      3m 14s
    3. Using symmetry
      4m 8s
    4. Extruding geometry
      4m 19s
    5. Sculpting geometry
      4m 1s
    6. Importing reference sketches
      5m 55s
  3. 37m 14s
    1. Modeling the head and nose
      5m 34s
    2. Creating the mouth
      4m 28s
    3. Crafting the eyes
      5m 11s
    4. Building the body and a wing
      10m 11s
    5. Forming the limbs
      8m 5s
    6. Adding finishing touches
      3m 45s
  4. 36m 11s
    1. UV mapping overview
      2m 43s
    2. UV mapping the body parts
      9m 18s
    3. UV mapping the face
      7m 40s
    4. UV mapping wrap-up
      3m 44s
    5. Mirroring
      4m 57s
    6. Texturing
      2m 46s
    7. Normal mapping
      5m 3s
  5. 46m 21s
    1. Setting up the skeleton
      5m 19s
    2. Building the spine
      3m 39s
    3. Finishing the skeleton
      4m 32s
    4. Rigging the legs and feet
      8m 35s
    5. Rigging the torso
      3m 49s
    6. Rigging the arms and hands
      3m 35s
    7. Rigging the face and head
      5m 9s
    8. Rigging wrap-up
      2m 27s
    9. Skin binding and weight painting
      5m 26s
    10. Animating in Maya
      3m 50s
  6. 29m 9s
    1. Exploring the Unity interface
      3m 3s
    2. Importing character and animations into Unity
      5m 50s
    3. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person character controller
      7m 14s
    4. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person camera controller
      4m 4s
    5. Making read/write animations using UnityScript Editor
      4m 8s
    6. Controlling scripts with animation events
      4m 50s
  7. 19s
    1. Additional resources
      19s

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Game Character Creation in Maya
2h 58m Intermediate Sep 15, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing, extruding, and sculpting geometry
  • Modeling a character's head and body
  • UV-mapping the head and body
  • Mirroring and texturing
  • Setting up the skeleton
  • Rigging the head and body
  • Skin binding & weight painting
  • Controlling animation with scripts in Unity
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation Game Design
Software:
Maya
Author:
Chris Reilly

UV mapping the face

Okay, so we spent a little time looking at how to do UV mapping for some of the body parts. Let's switch now to the face and the head. This can be a little bit daunting since the geometry is a lot more complicated in the face and the head. Really though an easy technique is to just kind of split it up into a couple of different UV maps and then merge those together. So I am going to start off with this UV map for the face and the head with a combination of three planar projections. So I will do one from the back for the back of the head. I will do one from the side for these faces on the side, and then I will do one from the front for the front of the face.

So let's start off from the back. I am just going to right-click and switch to Face component mode. I am just going to go ahead and select these faces on the back. So now that I have got all these selected, let's go ahead and apply a Planar Mapping to the back of the head. So I will select Create UVs > Planar Mapping with options. I will fit the projection to the Bounding Box and I want to project from the Z-axis, so that's going to make the projection perpendicular to the back of the head.

So I will just come down here and click Project, and just like we did before in the UV Texture Editor, I will just click -and-drag this projection away from the top-right quadrant of the UV Texture Editor grid. Okay, so now I'll select some faces on the side of the head and do another Planar Projection. So now I have got these faces selected. I will go ahead and do another Planar Mapping with options, and this time I want to project from the X-axis.

So that's going to project from the side of the character, kind of from this perspective more or less. So I will click Project and again just drag this away from the UV Texture Editor grid. Okay. We've got one more to go. So I am going to select these faces on the front, the face. Just click and rotate this. Let me click here.

Okay, so I've got all these faces selected on the front of the face and I will go up to Create UVs > Planar Mapping with options and this time again we want to project from the Z-axis, so we will be looking straight on from the front of the face for this projection. I will click Project, and again just click-and-drag that away from the top right quadrant of the UV Texture Editor graph. So let's go ahead and select our character, and look at what we have so far.

So these are the three different shells from the three planar projections we just made. To make these a little bit more manageable, I will just separate them apart from one another. One really nice trick when you're working with shells in the UV Texture Editor, you can switch to UV component mode just by holding down your right-mouse button. I want to grab this whole shell from the back of the head. All I need to do is select one UV. Then I am going to hold down Ctrl and right-click, and select this To Shell option. So, that's basically just going to fill-in all of the UVs in that shell.

That way I can just grab the whole thing and with the Move tool I can just move it away, so that it's not overlapping anymore. It is just going to make it a little bit easier to work with. I will do the same thing for these other two shells. So again, I am just holding down Ctrl and right-click, selecting To Shell. Okay, so let's take a minute and look at the shape of this head here. So the front projection looks pretty good and the side projection looks pretty good too. So you can see kind of how that geometry flows from the front of the face around to the back.

But actually you can see that this face, at first glance, it looks like it's going to line up really nicely, the shell for the back of the head, and the shell for the side of the head, but if we think about the way the edges flow from one to another, we can see that this is actually backwards. And that happen sometimes. So we can get a good visual indication of UVs that are backwards, they are called flipped UVs, with this Toggle Shaded UV Display. Let's turn that option on, and I can see here now the UV Texture Editor is going to color code my UV maps and it is going to show me blue for UV maps that are facing outwards.

It is going to show me red for UV maps that are flipped. They're actually facing inwards. So I want to make sure that all my UV maps are blue, so everything is facing outwards towards the outside of the model. So a really easy way to fix this is just to, again, I am going to select UV, Ctrl+Right-click, select To Shell. So I want to select this entire shell for the back of the head, then select Polygons > Flip, okay. So now, I just flip the UVs for the back projection.

I can also see a couple of places here in the projection for the face where some of the UVs are red and some of the UVs are blue. That's really just a matter of doing some manual adjustment of these UVs. So as I select that UV for instance and pull this inward, this is kind of the eyelid shape right now. That's going to flip back to blue. So really it's just a matter of looking at the shells that are completely red and flipping those.

So one step I will go through before I start doing much more fine-tuning like this is to just merge these three shells together. So I can select the Edge component mode, and just like we saw in the last video, as I select these edges, the UV Texture Editor is going to show me which edges correspond to one another. That's going to give me some good cues for how to move these around. So I can move these UVs manually. What I like to do sometimes is hold down the V key as I move and that will help those UVs just snap to their corresponding edges.

Then I can switch back to Edge mode, and just Shift+Select and I can sew these selected edges together. So I'll go ahead and keep doing that for all the edges in all three UV maps. For the sake of time, I will just skip ahead to the finished map to show you what it looks like.

So in the end, this is more or less what your UV map for the face would look like for this character. Again, you can see I have tried to minimize as much as possible the distortion in the checkerboard pattern. And one thing that I found helpful is kind of like we did in the previous modeling chapter to toggle Smooth Preview on and off, and that's going to give me a good indication of what this will actually look like when it's smooth because that might be a little bit different than just a very low poly version.

So you may need to spend some more time doing some manual adjustment to your UVs. Remember the goal is to minimize the distortion in the checkerboard pattern. With parts that are more complicated like the face, it's really more about minimizing and hiding the distortion. You're never really going to completely eliminate it all.

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