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This little "How-to" explains how to map textures on a model/create templates, using the Unwrap UVW function available on 3D Max. As example I've used part of our Abarth TCR model.
Here we go:
- Load/Import the object you want to map.
- Select the object you want to unwrap.
- Add a new modifier called ‘Unwrap UVW’ (on modifiers menu -> UV coordinates or as you see on the following image)
- Click the ‘Edit’ button under section ‘Parameters’
- The ‘Edit UVW’ window appears.
As you lee this seems to be a bit messed up, as we have all the faces mixed
- In the bottom section select the ·Faces" selection mode and select all the faces of the object you want to map in the window.
Go to ‘Mapping’ menu and select ‘Flatten mapping’. If that option is inactive then it means you haven't used "Faces" as selection method. Keep in mind that if you've used vertex or edges all the options insde 'mapping' menu will be disabled.
Once the 'Flatten mapping' dialog pops up, leave all the values as they’re shown and press OK
Then the mess is flatten, so now it can be textured easily.
This method will be valid just for simple objects. But if there’re a lot of faces in your model or it's very complex it will be shown like a total mess in the UVW screen.
In that case you will need to map the object in different parts. For example, if you're mapping the exterior of the car you will need to map one side, then the other one, then the top and finally the front and the back.
To do that simply select the part you're going to map in the 3D view (using faces as selection method) and then go to the 'Mapping' menu to select your mapping mode (flatten, etc).
One of the most useful mapping modes is the 'Normal mapping', where depending of the shape of the object you're modelling you can adjust the mapping (box, top-bottom, etc)
I suggest to map small parts of the object and then place them on the texture more or less together, recreating what would be a big planar mapping of your object
On the top of the UV mapping window there're buttons to resize, rotate, flip or move the mapping of the selected faces/edges/vertex.
If it's easier for you, remember you can select faces, etc, on the other views (3D, above, etc) of 3D Max, not only on the UVW window.
The next step would be create the texture. To do that just go to ‘tools’ menu and select ‘Render UVW template’. Select the options you want and export the template as an image.
Then you can edit that image to create the texture with Photoshop or a similar program.
This is the basic way to do it, but different people have different approaches. Some do it on a little different way, or using some tools/plugins that help to do this process (Ultimate Unwrap 3D, Texporter, etc)
There're some video tutorials about this at Youtube and other sites also, in the case you want to learn more.
Hope this will be useful.