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In Maya 2011 Essential Training, George Maestri demonstrates the tools and feature set in Maya, as well as the skills necessary to model, texture, animate, and render projects with this deep and robust piece of 3D animation software from Autodesk. This course takes an in-depth tour of Maya's interface, including navigating and manipulating objects in 3D and customizing the workspace. The course also covers object creation and modeling basics, shading and texturing, surface mapping techniques, character rigging, and lastly, rendering and final output. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now, when you texture polygons, there will be places where you will need to go in very discreetly and map an image to a polygon on almost a pixel-by-pixel level. And you can do that by using UV Mapping and the UV Map Editor. So let's take a quick look at how to do this. I am going to go ahead into a polygon. I am going to create a polygonal cube. I want to make it a very specific size. Let's go ahead and just make it 10x10x10. So I am going to highlight all those and type in the number 10, shade it, and let's go ahead and apply a material.
It doesn't really matter what type of material. In this case I am doing a Phong. And then put a file in there. In this case, for the file, we are going to use something called the UVW_Map.jpg. As you can see, it's a very precise map. What the intention is is to apply each one of these to the face of the cube. So I have six faces on the cube. I have six numbers, and so I want to make sure I map each one. So when I open that and shade this by using hardware texturing, you can see that well, the mapping is not quite there, but it's close.
And if I wanted to, I could go through and do a planar mapping on each one, but then I'm only planar mapping the entire one. I really need to get down on the pixel-by-pixel level in this image. I can do that using the UV Texture Editor. So when I open this up, well, first of all, it comes up blank, but then all I need to do is select my cube. This floating window is actually a viewport as well. So I can just hold down my Alt or Option key and navigate this like a viewport.
So as you can see, I'm actually pretty close in the way that this is mapped, but I need to be a little bit more precise. So if I go in here, what I can do is I can actually select components on this model and edit them here. So if I were to right-click over this, normally I would edit this by using Vertices, Edges, or Faces, but that changes the shape. It does not change the texture mapping. UV does allow you to change the texture mapping.
So if select UV and then just click on one of these vertices, you'll notice how it comes up here, and I can actually manipulate that and move it in the 3D space. Now, notice here how it's actually selecting two of these, because what I've got here is I've actually got that number 5 corner and actually this vertex and this vertex share three faces: one, two, three; one, two, three.
So that's why I am getting two of these. So I want to make sure that these all fit in properly and then I can select another one. Let's say I select this one here. That's the border between 2 and 3. It's actually the border between 2, 3, and 6. Then I can also select, for example, we can go down here. We can select this one here, which is the border between 4, 3, and 6. Again, you can see how I can very precisely place this texture.
So all I have to do is just work through this a point at a time and match up every vertex to my cube. Now, this UV Texture Editor is a lot more complex than this. You can actually do all sorts of great things. Now, I am not going to get too deep into it, but you have a number of tools here that allow you to, for example, to use Lattices. So, for example, if I selected a bunch of these, I can actually have a Lattice deform all sorts of these.
You can actually move a whole shell. You can smooth the UVs between stuff. You can also use what's called a Smudge tool, or also be able to Select Shortest Edges. There are all sorts of tools that allow you to select and move these UV coordinates around on a particular model. So let's take a look at something that's a little bit more complex. So we are going to go ahead and open the scene. We are going to open one called Dog_12, which is basically the dog that we had before. So if you recall, I mapped this bitmap on the dog, to his head, just by using a planar, but if I wanted to actually go in and tweak it, I can still use that UV Texture Editor.
They're not exclusive. So you can actually apply your rough coordinates over here using Create UVs and then you can edit them here using the UV Texture Editor. So as you can see, I've got both sides of this dog's polygons mapped against this texture. So if I were to right-click here and do UV, I could actually go in and readjust exactly and fine-tune exactly how that texture maps to that surface.
So you get a lot of control with the UV Texture Editor. So go ahead and play with it, get used to it, and I'm sure it will help you in fine-tuning and tweaking your text replacement.
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