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In ZBrush 4 Essential Training, Ryan Kittleson introduces ZBrush to artists making a transition from another sculpting program or who may just need some help with the finer points of this powerful digital arts package. The course covers the most popular tools and techniques for digital painting and sculpting in ZBrush, and explains how to export the models and texture maps to other programs for use in games, film, fine art, or 3D printing. The course also highlights the new features in ZBrush 4, such as ShadowBox, clip brushes, and LightBox. Exercise files are included with the course.
UV master makes a UV map of 3D models. The result is kind of like a bearskin rug. It's a flat surface for storing color and other maps in a 2D image that can be exported to other programs. It's easy to use but does involve a few steps that are worth practicing. Make sure you have got the UV Master plug- in installed and open up the exercise file. I am going to get the Light Box out of the way, and you also want to make sure that the model is on its lowest subdivision level. So let's see, Geometry is on one. That's good.
Now go up to the Zplugin menu, and we'll just dock this to the palette. I am going to click on this button here. Let's expand the UV Master sub-palette. Now there is a lot of options in here, but let me go through them. You could just click on Unwrap and let UV Master do its thing, and it will spit out a UV map. It's going to take a few seconds. Now it's done. Let's go down to the Texture sub-palette > Texture Map, and see what result we got.
If we click on New From UV Map, ZBrush is going to create a texture map that shows us what the UVs look like. So if you hold the mouse over this little image here, you can see that it's taken the entire 3D model and it's flattened it out into a 2D image. The texture that's on the 3D model also shows you where the seams are. So you see that there are these two big seams right at the front of the model, and one seam is cutting the head in half, and usually I'd like to put seams in less conspicuous places.
Now let's turn this map off and go back to the UV Master sub-palette and customize some settings to get a better result. Let's turn on Polygroups by hitting Shift+F. You can see that I have already split the model's main parts into separate groups. UV Master can use these groups to split up the UV map as well. This usually produces a better result because it doesn't have to flatten out one big shape; instead, it can work on getting the best result for several smaller shapes.
So let's just turn on Polygroups to take advantage of that option. You can also turn on Use Existing UV Seams. This feature is useful if you've cut UV seams in a different program and you just want UV Master to do a neater job of flattening out the map. I don't want to use it this time because we've already got seams that spread out the entire model into one map, so that's not useful right now. You could use the Unwrap All button. What that does is it unwraps all the subtools at once, but I prefer to do them separately.
That way I have more control over the final result. Now that we've activated the Polygroups setting, let's hit Unwrap again and see what we get. All right! Let's take a few seconds. Let's go back down to Texture Map and click New From UV Map again. Now you can see the result has broken up all of the different polygroups that I had and so we are getting seams in a lot of better places now. Let's just turn off Polygroups, hitting Shift+F. It actually included the wireframe that I had turned on.
Let's make another one with that turned off. New From UV Map. Okay, so it's a little easier to see now. So the seams are in less conspicuous places. Now we are not cutting one right across the middle of the face, and it is cutting seams in places like around the belt where there is a natural seem anyway, and around the hill of pants, so that's a good place to put seams. UV Master is great at doing a fast general-purpose UV Map, but if you need a highly efficient map for things like games where every pixel counts, you'll be better off laying out the UVs in a program that is more dedicated to that purpose.
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