MASTERING UV MAPPING IN 3DS MAX
WITH BEN TATE
UV Mapping is a necessary step in the process of completing most CG projects. It can be a difficult topic to understand, and one even harder to master. While there are many tools and 3D packages available that offer options to create UVs. 3ds Max includes one of the best toolsets available - straight out of the box.
Mastering UV Mapping in 3ds Max is designed and intended for artists of all skill levels and disciplines. So whether you’re completely new to 3ds Max and UV Mapping, or you’re a seasoned veteran looking to add a few new techniques, this course has you covered.
Starting out we’ll look at the fundamentals and theory of UV Mapping and discuss what it is, how it works and some ways to approach it. The first thirty-seven chapters of this course are dedicated to building a solid understanding of UV Mapping fundamentals, tools, and techniques - covering all of 3ds Max's mapping tools in detail.
You'll learn techniques to quickly and cleanly unwrap all types of geometry. And how to achieve truly distortion-free UVs, even on meshes with hundreds of thousands, or millions of polygons.
In the second half of the course, we’ll put everything we’ve learned to use and go through the process of unwrapping a complex, 396 piece Gear Cutter model from start to finish in real-time. In the end, you’ll have a fully unwrapped, packed, distortion-free, subdivided 6.7 million polygon model ready to texture.
In addition to the Gear Cutter model, you’ll get 42 additional models and textures to use throughout various chapters of the course. As well as 60 custom made info-graphics covering Comparisons, Layouts, Examples, Tips, Breakdowns and the Pros & Cons of a number of different UV Mapping scenarios.
*Full curriculum available at the bottom of this page.
60 DIAGRAMS & INFOGRAPHICS
GEAR CUTTER ASSET
24 ADDITIONAL MODELS
CUSTOM UV CHECKER MAP
MESH PREP SCRIPT
32 Hours, 1 Minute
HD Video (.MP4)
SEE WHAT THIS COURSE HAS TO OFFER
TRAILER & SAMPLE CHAPTERS
MASTERING UV MAPPING IN 3DS MAX
The Trailer, Introduction and free previews above will give you an idea of what you can expect from Mastering UV Mapping in 3ds Max. The Sample Chapters are taken directly from the full course and are available in their entirety.
WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED
JUST A FEW OF THE THINGS YOU'LL LEARN
THEORY | CORE FUNDAMENTALS
LEARN THE BASICS
Before jumping in and starting to create UVs. It’s important to have a good understanding of what UV Mapping is and how it works. Building up a core set of fundamentals will allow you to unwrap your meshes faster, cleaner and not waste time going back and making changes or repositioning seams. In the first several chapters of this course, we’ll discuss the basics of UV Mapping and look at some ways we can visualize our UVs using real-world examples.
3ds Max has an abundance of tools, options, and settings for creating UVs. While this is great for giving you a deep toolset to play with. The sheer amount can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to UV Mapping. But fear not, we’ll go over every single UV Tool, Panel, Rollout, and Dialog box 3ds Max has to offer. You’ll get an in-depth explanation and example of each tool, it’s options, what it does and how to use it.
COVERED IN DETAIL
UVW VS XYZ SPACE
Learn how XYZ space translates to UVW space and how these two separate, yet unique coordinate systems relate to each other inside 3ds Max.
MORE THAN RANDOM LETTERS
COMPLEX HIGH POLY GEOMETRY
Subdivision modeling can be tricky to master, and correctly creating UVs for a high-resolution mesh can be even harder. One of the main focuses of this course is working with high-resolution geometry and how to deal with SubD when unwrapping your models. Simply unwrapping your base mesh and applying Turbosmooth or Meshsmooth is a common mistake and one that will leave you with less than ideal results. In this course we’ll look at some simple techniques we can implement to achieve truly distortion-free UVs, regardless of the polycount. Even on meshes with hundreds of thousands, or potentially millions of polygons.
THE 0-1 GRID
Learn how the UVW Coordinate system works inside 3ds Max and how the 0-1 Grid affects how textures are applied to the surface of your 3D geometry. Learn why the placement of UV clusters inside the UV Editor is extremely important, and the effect specific placements can have on your textures.
WHAT'S THIS BOX ALL ABOUT?
Understanding how Texel Density works and how it directly relates to and influences the final look of a textured asset is an important step towards improving your work and something to take into account when creating UVs. We’ll delve into the pros and cons of Texel Density and look at the options we have available depending on the situation.
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
Knowing where to place your mapping seams is a crucial step to getting a good unwrap. Good seam placement will not only allow you to unwrap your meshes cleaner and faster, but it'll also help you avoid problems later on. Such as overlapped faces, crossed verts and texture distortion. Which can lead to baking errors and rendering artifacts.
WHERE & WHY?
UV Mapping is, for the most part, a two-step process. After unwrapping and flattening your geometry, you’ll need to spend some time organizing the various UV Clusters into a logical layout for texture creation. There are several important factors to consider when packing and finalizing your UVs. We’ll go over packing in detail and discuss the pros & cons of various approaches.
FIGHT FOR EVERY INCH
Unfortunately, texture size and resolution are limited. Sometimes you just don’t have the freedom to use the number of textures or the resolution you want, especially in production. Fortunately, there are a number of different techniques you can use to maximize UV space. We’ll dive into sharing and mirroring UVs and look at some options available when working with restrictions.
SHARED, UNIQUE OR MIRRORED?
Although map size has more to do with texturing, than UV Mapping. It is important to understand the differences between various map sizes, and how UV scale and packing translates to texture resolution. Several chapters of this course are dedicated to understanding and choosing a map size based on your UVs.
WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
OFFSET UVS | UDIMS
Offset UVs (or UDIMS) are a more advanced way to organize and texture a 3D model. Offsets in 3ds Max give you the option to have multiple UV sets or layouts contained within a single Unwrap UVW modifier. You’ll get an in-depth look at how the offset system works, how to set up a Multi-Tile UV layout, and how to offset maps inside the Material Editor.
BEYOND THE GRID
When creating UVs for an object or set of objects, you have a number of options at your disposal. Material IDs give you the option to layer sets of UVs together, while still keeping them separate. We’ll take an in-depth look at how we can use Material IDs in conjunction with Multi/Subobject materials and offset Composite maps to apply textures to our geometry.
LAYER UVS WITH MATERIALS
There are a number of steps you can take to speed up the process of UV Mapping. We’ll look at several ways we can modify our workflow to make unwrapping faster and easier. Including setting up shortcuts and more advanced techniques such as modifying the code of default 3ds Max files. Essentially changing various settings via code to suit our needs.
TAKING YOUR UVS FURTHER
GET THESE PROJECT FILES
DIAGRAMS & INFOGRAPHICS
In addition to the main videos and project files. This course Includes 60 custom made diagrams and infographics covering Comparisons, Layouts, Examples, Tips, Breakdowns and Pros & Cons for a number of different UV Mapping scenarios and situations.
GEAR CUTTER ASSET
INCLUDED WITH COURSE
In addition to the regular project files included with this course, you’ll also get this extremely detailed Gear Cutter model. The model consists of 396 separate elements and is completely modeled to support subdivision. You’ll learn how to unwrap the entire model (every single piece) from scratch and in real-time with real-time narration – no skips, cuts or time-lapses. In the end, you’ll have a fully unwrapped, distortion-free, subdivided (6.7 Million poly) model ready for textures.
SIMPLE CHAPTER BASED CURRICULUM
Overview of what this course covers and some of the topics, tools and techniques we’ll be discussing throughout.
THE UVW MAP MODIFIER | WHEN IS UNWRAPPING NECESSARY?
In this chapter, we’ll take an in-depth look at the most basic way to create projection-based UVs inside 3ds Max using the UVW Map modifier. We’ll discuss when projection might be a good option, and how each projection method and option can be used on geometry.
WHAT IS UV MAPPING?
A brief overview of the basics of UV Mapping. What's happening when you create UVs, why it's necessary and how it works.
THE UNWRAP UVW MODIFIER ROLLOUT
In this chapter, we’ll move onto the Unwrap UVW modifier and look at the various tools, options and rollouts available. We’ll go over each and every tool in detail and talk about its options and how to use them.
HOW TO THINK OF UV MAPPING
In this chapter, we’ll discuss theory and go through examples of how we can use real-world objects to help us understand and visualize Uv Mapping.
THE UV EDITOR - TOP TOOLBAR
The first of three chapters covering the UV Editor interface and toolsets. In this chapter, we’ll go over each and every tool found in the UV Editor’s top toolbar. This includes the various selection and movement methods, as well as various display preferences and additional options for the Editor window.
THE UV EDITOR - SIDE TOOLBAR
In this chapter, we'll continue working through the UV Editor tools and discuss each and every tool found in the UV Editor's side Panel. You'll get a detailed explanation of each tool, as well as a practical example for each one. The sidebar contains the heart of the UV Editor's toolset, so we'll spend a good amount of time looking at the numerous options we have available.
THE UV EDITOR - BOTTOM TOOLBAR
In the final of the three-part UV Editor overview, we'll tackle the bottom toolbar. This includes sub-object selection methods, options to freeze or hide our UVs, soft selection options and various snapping methods.
THE UV EDITOR DIALOGS
In this chapter, we'll look at the many different dialog boxes found through-out the UV Editor. We'll go over each one in detail and discuss their options and settings.
THE PELT MAPPING DIALOG
This chapter is entirely dedicated to the Pelt Mapping dialog and the many options and settings it contains.
UVW VS XYZ SPACE
In this chapter, we'll discuss UVW space and how it relates to 3D or XYZ space inside 3ds Max.
UNDERSTANDING THE 0-1 GRID
This chapter is focused on the 0-1 Grid (or 0-1 UV space). We'll discuss exactly how the 0-1 Grid works and look at how the placement of UV clusters in relation to the grid will affect texture placement.
UNDERSTANDING TEXEL DENSITY
In this chapter, we'll discuss what Texel Density is and how it works. We'll go through a practical example and look at how UV Scale directly controls the final look and quality of a textured asset.
BREAKING TEXEL DENSITY
In this follow-up to Chapter 12, we'll look at intentionally breaking Texel Density and some situations where it might be the best option.
CREATING GOOD SEAMS FOR A QUICK & EFFICIENT WORKFLOW
This chapter is focused entirely on creating good seams when unwrapping. We'll go through two examples, one using an automated mapping solution and a second, where we'll manually create the seams ourselves. We'll take an in-depth look at the results and discuss the pros and cons of each approach.
CREATING GOOD UVS - DON'T BE AFRAID OF SEAMS
In this chapter, we'll discuss why UV seams aren't necessarily a bad thing, and how adding a few additional cuts can completely remove tension and distortion from a model's UVs.
CYLINDRICAL UNWRAPPING TECHNIQUES
In this chapter, we'll look at two distinct methods of unwrapping cylindrical geometry. First up, we'll look at a very common method using standard techniques. Then a much more unorthodox technique, that can be used to create cleaner UVs and make the packing process easier.
UNWRAPPING COMPLEX GEOMETRY
This chapter focuses on unwrapping convex and concave surfaces, and how the process of seam placement and unwrapping differs from standard hard-surface or boxy type geometry.
WORKING WITH MULTIPLE MESHES
In this chapter, we'll look at working with multiple meshes and the Unwrap UVW Modifier. We'll take an in-depth look at attaching objects together, and how we can share an Unwrap UVW Modifier between multiple un-attached objects.
UV ORIENTATION & FACE DIRECTION
This chapter focuses on Face direction and correctly orienting your UV clusters to make texturing easier.
SHARED VS UNIQUE UV SPACE
In this chapter, we'll discuss using shared UV space and look at some of the benefits we can gain by stacking our UVs. We'll also delve into the pros and cons of using either Shared or Unique UV Space and look at a few examples of when either approach is viable.
UNIQUE VS MIRRORED UV SPACE
As a follow-up to Chapter 20 where we looked at sharing UV Space. This chapter takes it further by delving into the pros and cons of using Mirrored UVs, and some of the benefits gained over Unique Space when working with restricted map sizes.
MAXIMIZING UVS FOR TEXTURE SIZE
In this chapter, we'll look at a number of things we can do to maximize our UVs depending on the texture size we're using. This includes optimized packing options, working with cloned geometry and things to consider when working with both large and small maps.
UNDERSTANDING MAP SIZE
This chapter is entirely focused on understanding the difference between texture sizes, and how they directly relate to not only each other but render out-put as well.
WORKING WITH OFFSET UVS & UDIMS
In this chapter, we'll take an in-depth look at working with, and setting up offset UVs in 3ds Max. We'll go deep into offset layouts, material offsets, the UDIM numbering system and targeting specific grid sections inside the UV Editor.
UNDERSTANDING UV TILE ID FORMATS
In this chapter, we'll look at UV Tile ID formats. What they are, and why they are important when working with other external packages. We'll discuss how 3ds Max implements these formats, and how it can affect our UVs and Materials when working with multiple UV tiles / UDIMs.
MANUAL TEXTURE TILING VIA THE UV EDITOR
In this chapter, we'll look at how we can manually tile textures via the UV Editor and how material IDs can be used to separate sets of UVs on a single mesh with multiple textures.
WORKING WITH MATERIAL IDS
Going a little further into working with Material IDs, we'll go through a practical example and look at laying out separate sets of UVs and creating and offsetting textures via a Multi/Sub-Object material. We'll also discuss how materials and offsets work in conjunction with Material IDs.
ADDING INTENTIONAL UV DISTORTION
In this chapter, we'll look at how we can intentionally add distortion to our UVs on purpose to benefit us when it comes to texturing. We'll look at a specific situation where this can be extremely useful.
UNWRAPPING ORGANIC & NATURAL SURFACES
This chapter focuses on unwrapping natural and organic surfaces. We'll look at how creating UVs for this type of geometry is a little different than creating UVs for more regular surfaces, just based on the more random topology of these meshes.
EFFICIENT PACKING & PLANNING AHEAD
In this chapter, we'll discuss the importance of using logic when packing a UV layout. How to pack efficiently and plan ahead for texture creation. We'll also talk about some good practices to use when working with multi-tile/ UDIM layouts.
PRESERVING UVS WHEN MAKING CHANGES
In this chapter, we'll look at how we can make changes to an already mapped mesh without destroying or re-creating the UVs, and discuss the limitations of the Preserve UVs option in 3ds Max.
REUSING & TRANSFERRING UVS
Transferring UVs between objects is a great way to increase speed, especially when working with a large number of objects or clones. In this chapter, we'll look at some examples of how we can use this technique, and discuss some reasons it may not be an option depending on particular geometry.
FIXING UV ERRORS ON MIRRORED GEOMETRY
Many times when unwrapping a mesh, you'll find yourself running into mapping errors. In this chapter, we'll look at why specific UV errors happen and some steps we can take to fix them.
WORKING WITH MAP CHANNELS
In this chapter, we'll look at setting up and working with Map Channels. We look at using different map channels to setup multiple UV layouts and apply multiple textures to a single object.
SETTING UP KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS
If you've been working with 3ds Max for a while, you probably have a number of keyboard shortcuts set up to speed up your personal workflow. In this chapter, we'll go through the process of creating shortcuts for some of our most frequently used UV Mapping tools.
CUSTOMIZATION THROUGH CODE
Taking the previous chapter further, we'll continue looking at ways to make the process of UV Mapping much faster. In this chapter, we'll get a little more advanced and look at how we can customize options and setting through code to further increase our mapping speed.
CHOOSING YOUR APPROACH WHEN WORKING WITH SUBD
In this chapter, we'll look at low vs high resolution unwrapping and discuss the various pros and cons of each approach.
GEAR CUTTER - BREAKDOWN & OVERVIEW
In this chapter, we'll take an in-depth look at the Gear Cutter mesh and discuss the various types of geometry it contains, and the various approaches we'll use to unwrap it.
15 Hours, 22 Minutes
CHAPTERS #39 - 65
UNWRAPPING THE GEAR CUTTER
Throughout the next twenty-six chapters, we'll put everything we've learned so far to use, and unwrap the entire Gear Cutter model in real-time. We'll discuss different approaches based on our geometry types, and look at alternative methods of unwrapping based on how textures will be created later.
3 Hours, 37 Minutes
CHAPTERS #66 - 71
PACKING THE GEAR CUTTER
With the Gear Cutter model unwrapped, we'll spend the final six chapters packing our UVs in real-time. We'll organize our clusters, unify our Texel Density and pack our model into a full, 41 tile UDIM layout. We'll then look at applying subdivision and go through a few crucial steps to finalize our UVs for Texturing.
RECAP & CONCLUSION
In the final chapter, we'll look back at everything we've learned and close it out with some final thoughts.