Another Mech Warrior

Great reply – thanks. I’m using Ultimate Unwrap too.

This is what I’ve been upto recently, something I started almost a year ago but my old system was on it’s last legs so couldn’t complete the project.

I wanted to see how much realistic detail I could get onto a model just by painting the detail onto a UV map using a paint app.
This is how things are looking at the moment, I’m quite pleased with the results so far considering that all the faces of the model are completely flat.


And the back view…


This is how the UV map is looking so far, it’s about 90% complete


Very nice.

Another classic Bazza <!– s:) –><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!– s:) –>

I wish I had your skill at UV mapping.

Thanks guys…I really appreciate the feedback, when your working on a long paint job like this, I find it’s a big lift to my sometimes fading enthusiasm for the project.

I was going to do a hints and tips thing about UV mapping and painting but everyone seems to use different apps for unwrapping and painting, which makes it difficult. I’ll see what I can come up with that’s sort of universal.


Very good job on the modeling and mapping

Thanks Craig, Using Ultimate Unwrap 3D is a very big help with something like this, but it still took around 6 hours to complete the unwrap and get everything layed out as I wanted it.

You should be able to unwrap a model like this in 3DC without to many problems, but UU3D has a nice feature were you can lay out the faces around the mapping area as you unwrap them, then save the file and go back to it to finish the unwrap.
With all the faces unwrapped and laid out around the mapping area you can then take your time dragging them into the mapping area, scaling and rotating as required to get a neat layout on your uv map.



I’m just starting out with UV Unwrap so maybe you can answer a few Q’s:

How do you deal with polys that have identical texturing? If you map all such polys onto a single texture in the unwrap, how do you ensure identical alignment?

Have you used shadow baking? If not how do you decide how much shadowing to apply and where eg inside and outside legs?

Where adjacent polys in the mesh are not adjacent in the unwrap, how do you ensure that your texturing flows seamlessly across the joins?

You didn’t mention which app you are using to unwrap with?
Good questions BTW.

I use Ultimate Unwrap 3D which is a big help, I can zoom right in on the map window, so placement of identical faces on top of each other is quite easy, you can’t do this with 3DC at the moment.
Stacking idenitical faces on top of each other can be avoided to a great extent by only unwrapping half the model, see pics (from UU3D).

This is the method I use most, it cuts down on the unwrapping time and reduces the number of faces that need to be stacked/layered on top of each other on th map. In the case of the Mech Warrior only the sides of the torso needed to be stacked.
When the unwrap was complete complete I exported the model back into 3DC and duplicated/cloned the arms, legs and feet from the right side to create the left hand arms, legs etc.
Paul wrote a nice plugin that allows you to duplicate groups of objects which is very helpful with models like this.

So the procedure is…
1) Build the comlete model, save it, this is your master copy.
2) Do a quick test animation, just to check everything moves as it should
3) Save the file again under another name and remove any duplicate parts of the model.
4) Unwrap this model.
5) Rebuild the model by duplicating/cloning the parts you removed in step 3.
6) Animate the model

The Mech Warrior in UU3D….


I don’t use shadow baking, all the shading is painted on to the uv map in a paint app.
I don’t use any set level of shadow density, it depends how the model will be used.
For a model locomotive that will be used in a normal daylight setting the shadows need to be less harsh I think than if you where creating say a model like this Mech Warrior and using it in a game environment which had harsh night time lighting.

What IS important I find is to just use ambient light in 3DC when you are painting the UV map, the lights in 3DC will effect the appearence of the textures, making it hard to know how the model will look when exported.
By turning off any Point and Directional lighting in 3DC you end up just using the ambient light, which is what you need.
So before you start any serious painting, load the uv map into your paint app, paint an area say mid grey, another area mid red, save the file, open 3DC and load the model. Turn off Point and directional lighting, (set them to black)
Next adjust the Ambient light in 3DC until the mid grey and mid red you painted in your paint app look the same, both in 3DC and your paint app.
Using just the ambient light will also show where you need to apply shading to the texture.
If your going to export the model into a 3D engine, maybe a train sim, it would be advisable to do this from time to time as the painting progresses, just to see how things will appeare ‘in game’.

Trying to get the texture to flow across joints on the uv map is always a problem. One of the main problems is caused by unwrapping adjoining groups of faces, but not scaling them all the same on the map. No matter how hard you try, you can’t loose the joint line.
When I unwrapped the torse of the mech warrior,(front,back and sides) I had to make sure that when I was scaling these faces to get them to fit the uv map I had to scale all the faces (front, back and sides) at the same time. Now when the textures are applied at least they will appeare the same scale and by a bit of copy and pasting any joint lines can be removed.
The other trick is to use the layers in your paint app as much as possible. Say you wanted to paint a belt around a figure, were the torso has been laid out on the uv map in four parts, front back and sides.
1) Create a new layer in your paint app called belt, paint the front of the belt without the buckle.
2) Make a duplicate layer of the belt and move the layer so it’s in place above the back faces of the torso.
3) Do the same for the sides and remove any excess belt with the eraser tool.
4) Save the file, open 3DC, load the figure and see how the belt looks. If it’s a bit out of place, say at the back you can move the offending layer in the paint app till it looks ok.
5) When your happy with the way the belt looks, compress the belt layers into one layer, open a new layer and paint the buckle, and so on and so on.
But you can only do this if all the faces for the torso, are layed out to the same scale on the map.

Unwrapping the model and painting the artwork usually takes much longer than it did to build the model, don’t try to rush this part, you’ll regret it if you do.
It won’t take long before you are thinking about the unwrap as you build the model, trying to avoid many of the pitfalls that await you.

Last, you can use the same technique with a single mesh, say a boned figure…see pic below
In this case the model was built complete, bones added, a quick test anim, the file was saved under another name, and I removed the left arm, left leg, the inner and outer coat tails.
This part figure was unwrapped, then back in 3DC, the faces for the right leg,arm etc were selected, duplicated, flipped along their X axis, moved into position and welded in place.


and the result…..
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Hope some of this helps, this is only the way I do things.


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