Join Joel Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video The UVW Map modifier: Part one, part of Mastering UVW Mapping in 3ds Max.
- Having established then that there will be a number of situations in which the autogenerate feature for UVW Mapping is either unsuitable or indeed unavailable, we are going to take a look in this exercise at another method for applying mapping coordinates in 3ds Max, which is the ability we have to apply a specific UVW Map modifier to a piece of geometry. Now, just to reiterate the importance of mapping coordinates to the rendering process, our plane geometry here which does still have the test material applied to it has, for the time being, had its mapping coordinates removed by a means of the remove UVW utility, although we could just as easily have used the UVW Mapping clear modifier if we had preferred.
No matter which method used, though, the end result would still be the same in that if I go ahead and try to take a render, we instantly see a warning dialogue telling us that this object, namely GEO_UVW_Plane needs to have mapping coordinates applied if the material applied to it is to render correctly. Now, of course, we can override the system here and go ahead and render anyway by simply clicking the continue button. But, of course, we won't see any material in the final render simply because 3ds Max has no way of knowing how the bitmap image used should be placed on the geometry surface.
To remedy this situation, we need with the geometry selected, of course, to add mapping coordinates manually by applying a UVW Map modifier from 3ds Max's modifier drop-down. Once we do that, because we already have a material applied with the show shaded material in viewport option turned on, our UVW test map shows up. And if we go ahead and take a render, we see that we no longer have any missing UVW error messages.
Now, we may find, depending on which flavor of 3ds Max we are currently running and how we have our application default set up, that we have this real-world map size option turned on. As we will be taking a much closer look at this alternative scale control a little later in the course, we just need to make sure that this option is turned off for now. In the parameters rollout of the modifier controls we come first of all to a list of preset projection types that essentially tell 3ds Max how we want our mapping coordinates to be applied, many of which are also in use whenever we autogenerate our UVW coordinates.
When we create a sphere primitive with the autogenerate feature turned on, we are simply applying spherical mapping to the newly created object. When we create a box, we are using box mapping and so on. The three options that will perhaps be new to us here are shrink wrap, face, and XYZ, or Zed, to UVW. Shrink wrap uses a variation of spherical mapping, one that truncates the corners of a map and then joins them all together at a single pole, much like an old drawstring money pouch.
This can be extremely useful whenever we want to or need to hide our mapping seams that would otherwise be visible. Face, as the name suggests, simply applies a copy of a map to every face of an object. XYZ, or Zed, to UVW also does exactly what it says on the tin, it converts XYZ coordinates into UVW equivalents that can be locked to a surface of even a deforming piece of geometry. This piece of functionality is so important that we will be demonstrating the technique a little later in the course.
One little quirk which you may have already spotted is the fact that selecting the spherical or shrink wrap options here causes a bit of switching in behavior as regards the rest of the mapping types. To demonstrate, let's just delete the current UVW Map modifier and apply a new one. What we see is by default, the zero to one UV space is applied or mapped to the full extent of the geometric object, in other words, 100 percent of the map gets applied to 100 percent of the geometry surface.
Now if I switch between the cylindrical, planar, box, face, and even XYZ, or Zed, to UVW options, that mapping remains constant. Switching back to planar shows that everything is still mapped at 100 percent. If, however, I go ahead and switch to spherical and then back to planar, well, you can see that things have definitely changed. We are no longer mapping on a one to one basis but can now see tiling in our texture which obviously is behavior that we really need to be aware of.
As we still have quite a number of options that we want to take a look at here, let's move on to our next exercise where we can start to take a look at some of the mapping placement controls that the UVW Map modifier makes available to us.
- What are UVW coordinates?
- Understanding UVW space
- Autogenerating coordinates
- Using map channels
- Working with the World XYZ and Object XYZ systems
- Peel and pelt mapping
- Reshaping UV elements
- Relaxing UVs
- Rendering out a UV template