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Understanding the UV maps

From: ZBrush 4 Essential Training

Video: Understanding the UV maps

ZBrush paints color on models using a technology called polypainting. This means that every polygon of the model can be given a different color. However, most 3D applications, from games to films, use a technology called texture mapping. This means that all color information is stored in a 2D image file that gets wrapped around a 3D model. It's just like a map of the Earth, where a flat image represents the surface of a three-dimensional object. And like a map of the Earth, there are many different ways to cut it up and flatten it out.

Understanding the UV maps

ZBrush paints color on models using a technology called polypainting. This means that every polygon of the model can be given a different color. However, most 3D applications, from games to films, use a technology called texture mapping. This means that all color information is stored in a 2D image file that gets wrapped around a 3D model. It's just like a map of the Earth, where a flat image represents the surface of a three-dimensional object. And like a map of the Earth, there are many different ways to cut it up and flatten it out.

The way that a 3D object is flattened into a 2D space is called UV mapping. UV is just a coordinate system like latitude and longitude, or X and Y. Software like ZBrush uses the letters U and V for texture mapping because X and Y, along with Z, are already used for a 3D space. Let's take a look at what a texture map actually looks like. I am just going to open up the exercise file for this movie, and let's close down the Light Box.

I also want to go up to the highest subdivision level, so we can see all of our detail. I'll explain what I'm doing in a later movie, but for just right now I just want to show you how all of the color information from this model has been cut up and stored in UV space in a texture map. So the exact positions of all these different objects, like the pants and the body and the head and everything, could be arranged totally different. And that's the UV space. The texture map is the actual color information that goes on that space.

It's a very critical difference I just really want to make clear. Now let's expand the UV Map sub-palette. There are lots of controls in here, but the only thing you really need to use is the UV Map Size. You can click one of these preset sizes or type in a custom size. The size you choose is up to you, really. I mean it depends on your needs. A higher-resolution map will contain more detail, but it may take up more memory.

The default of 2048 is usually a good middle ground. Texture maps are always made square in ZBrush. The number refers to how many pixels wide and tall it will be. Be aware that changing this number doesn't affect any maps that have already been made, but any new maps will use these settings when they're made. Understanding UV maps is critical when color or texture detail is exported to other programs. If a model is saved or exported, the UV maps are automatically included in the file.

However, texture maps, meaning any color information that has been painted onto the maps, has to be exported separately.

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This video is part of

Image for ZBrush 4 Essential Training
ZBrush 4 Essential Training

63 video lessons · 14628 viewers

Ryan Kittleson
Author

 
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  1. 5m 13s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      59s
    3. What is ZBrush?
      1m 47s
    4. A note on screen resolution
      1m 32s
  2. 19m 17s
    1. Making sense of ZBrush
      2m 39s
    2. Understanding the interface
      2m 29s
    3. Using Light Box
      1m 23s
    4. Navigating the canvas
      2m 2s
    5. Using Perspective and Floor
      1m 51s
    6. Understanding local centering
      1m 9s
    7. Trying different materials
      2m 7s
    8. Activating symmetry
      2m 15s
    9. Viewing your work in various ways
      3m 22s
  3. 19m 59s
    1. Understanding polygon-based models
      1m 45s
    2. Creating ZSpheres
      4m 21s
    3. Using ShadowBox
      2m 15s
    4. Making a ZSketch
      2m 47s
    5. Extracting from an existing mesh
      4m 0s
    6. Using primitive 3D meshes
      3m 24s
    7. Importing from other programs
      1m 27s
  4. 23m 43s
    1. Understanding brush settings
      2m 45s
    2. Inverting brush effects
      1m 9s
    3. Switching to Smooth mode
      2m 35s
    4. Setting the stroke properties
      4m 14s
    5. Working with alphas
      2m 34s
    6. Using the Move brush
      2m 51s
    7. Using the Clip brush
      2m 58s
    8. Learning a few more common brushes (Polish, Clay, Flatten, Inflate, Tracks)
      2m 14s
    9. Saving and using brush presets
      2m 23s
  5. 26m 53s
    1. Working with tools and projects
      1m 52s
    2. Working with subdivision levels
      3m 4s
    3. Masking off parts of your model
      2m 28s
    4. Masking based on cavity and occlusion
      4m 23s
    5. Selecting and hiding parts of a tool
      2m 51s
    6. Working with polygroups
      2m 0s
    7. Using deformation
      1m 59s
    8. Mirroring geometry across an axis
      1m 49s
    9. Restoring symmetry
      1m 45s
    10. Creating morph targets
      2m 31s
    11. Understanding surface normal direction
      2m 11s
  6. 8m 57s
    1. Learning the basics of subtools
      2m 37s
    2. Making new subtools
      3m 12s
    3. Combining subtools
      3m 8s
  7. 7m 20s
    1. Masking with Transpose
      1m 49s
    2. Adjusting the Transpose Manipulator
      1m 46s
    3. Moving, scaling, and rotating with Transpose
      3m 45s
  8. 20m 25s
    1. Understanding how ZBrush uses color
      2m 36s
    2. Learning the basics of Spotlight
      3m 37s
    3. Painting and texturing with Spotlight
      2m 56s
    4. Texturing a head: A practical approach
      11m 16s
  9. 21m 14s
    1. Drawing new edge flow for retopology
      7m 52s
    2. Tips for making good edge flow
      5m 14s
    3. Creating new topology
      3m 55s
    4. Transferring detail from the old model to the new
      4m 13s
  10. 13m 28s
    1. Understanding the UV maps
      2m 47s
    2. Installing the UV Master plug-in
      1m 47s
    3. Using UV Master
      3m 46s
    4. Creating texture maps
      5m 8s
  11. 6m 36s
    1. Preventing problems
      1m 42s
    2. Recovering a corrupted model
      2m 28s
    3. Recognizing and fixing common problems
      2m 26s
  12. 4m 54s
    1. Examples of ZBrush work
      3m 16s
    2. Goodbye
      1m 38s

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