UV Unwrapping using Autodesk Maya

As shown and talked about in the past, I am really comfortable with UV unwrapping using software such as 3DS Max and Roadkill, however today we learned the process using Auto Desk Maya.

Using a Character model supplied by our lecturer Matt, this allowed me to learn how to unwrap a more organic shape all in a relatively new software, Maya.

I needed to decided where the seams of the texture needed to be, so I broke the model down into smaller components such arms, legs, torso and head.  Once separated, I planar mapped the selected area and relaxed it to a pointed where little to no distortion was visible using the checkered map.  Where achievable, I sewed UV edges together to reduce the amount of UV islands and also seams on the model, ensuring to relax it again using the same process.  I repeated the process multiple times for the rest of the character model until it was completed, whilst sadly I did not got the head  complete.

We did not get to the point where we packed our UVS ready for export, however I usually lay out my UV islands manually to be utilise  the UV space available.  I know 3DS Max has a “Pack UV” tool which automatically rescales, rotates and packs the UV’s to its best ability, which user inputted “padding”.  It will be interesting to see how Maya and its “layout” tool compares.

Whilst using the software, I found it very similar to both 3DS Max and Roadkill with no advantages or disadvantages evident at this stage, other than me being more comfortable and efficient on my preferred software.

Although, 3DS Max allows the user to use a tool called “re-scale elements” to ensure the whole model is unwrapped the same pixel density, which is extremely handy in removing any difference in texture quality.  I could not see a similar tool available in Maya and had to re-scale all the elements manually, whilst not a bad thing, it was more time consuming.  It would be interesting to see if Maya has any equivalent tools available.

Overall, I was really impressed with Mayas UV unwrapping tools and would have no qualms in using them in the future.  This knowledge could become really handy in the future as it would mean I would not have to export any Maya crated models into other software, just to perform a UV unwrap.

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