PDA

View Full Version : UV Unwrapping Question



tcoursey
01-11-2017, 08:11 AM
so most of my work I've always used native projection methods and have never worried much about UV maps. However I'm trying to expand my knowledge and was wondering how some of you do your unwrapping.

LW can do Atlas mapping pretty well it seems but that is about it. Blender for FREE can add SEAMS and do a pretty good job of doing a true UNWRAP. I know there are many other options. I'd like to hear what those are and why you chose them?

And second, when do you UNWRAP your object? Let's say I'm working on a piece of furniture that will be a game asset. Do I unwrap it in it's early stages before adding CORD STICH SEAMS, sculpting creases etc.... Seems like the heavier the mesh gets the harder it will be to find the right edges etc...

Thanks for any workflow ideas...trying to learn!

ernpchan
01-11-2017, 08:43 AM
Plg uv is essential for uv unwrapping in LW. LW has a uv unwrapper but it's really basic but it does work.

As for when to do your uvs, they should be done when you're done modeling.

tcoursey
01-11-2017, 08:58 AM
Plg uv is essential for uv unwrapping in LW. LW has a uv unwrapper but it's really basic but it does work.

As for when to do your uvs, they should be done when you're done modeling.

sounds good on the unwrapping when I'm done modeling...makes sense but wanted to check.

As for PLG and LW's tools. Compared to what you get in ANY other package I can't disagree more. Yes LW will MAKE UV's but I don't think either of those UNWRAP a true object...you need to have SEAMS to unwrap. I might be missing something in PLG, it does seem more capable than LW native but neither do seams I don't think.

Thanks for the feedback...and let me know If I've missed something in native LW or PLG tools.

kyuzo
01-11-2017, 09:28 AM
PX_UV_Creeper is worth adding to your toolbox too.

Kryslin
01-11-2017, 10:01 AM
As for PLG and LW's tools. Compared to what you get in ANY other package I can't disagree more. Yes LW will MAKE UV's but I don't think either of those UNWRAP a true object...you need to have SEAMS to unwrap. I might be missing something in PLG, it does seem more capable than LW native but neither do seams I don't think.

plg_uv_edit does seams. Also, ABF UV Unwrap (Lightwave native) respects edge selections for unwrapping, treating them as seams. There are a couple of tools that help with the selection of edge loops that are native to LW.

hrgiger
01-11-2017, 10:26 AM
3dcoat and modo.

Surrealist.
01-11-2017, 11:00 AM
s
And second, when do you UNWRAP your object? Let's say I'm working on a piece of furniture that will be a game asset. Do I unwrap it in it's early stages before adding CORD STICH SEAMS, sculpting creases etc.... Seems like the heavier the mesh gets the harder it will be to find the right edges etc...

Thanks for any workflow ideas...trying to learn!

Well first, I would strongly suggest sticking with Blender for UV mapping if you are familiar with those tools at all. Or even Modo/3D Coat as hrgiger suggests if you have and use them.

Even the new tools in LightWave, while a start, are not going to give you everything you need, I don't think.

But something you said also pointed to a general game workflow point. You mentioned modeling details into your couch for instance. For a game pipeline you will actually be texturing a low poly object. Seams and creases and all of that are best done on the high poly version and then the details baked with AO and normal maps into your low poly object. It can take a lot of experimentation to work out a good workflow for this. Then there are various texture programs to use from there.

And your UV Mapping will depend largely on 2 main divisions. 1) Will you be painting in 3D?, Substance Painter, Modo, 3D Coat, Mudbox etc...Or 2) Will you be 2D texturing with Photoshop, substance designer or Quixel suite?

If you are painting in 3D your seams won't be as large of an issue. And actually you could probably get a way with Atlas projection. But if you are painting in any 2D medium you will really need to have carful seams and a virtually stretch free unwrap for hard surface objects. Organic shapes will be more forgiving. But even in this case, you will likely find you need to clone paint over seams in 3D. that said, I do recall a feature in substance designer to allow you to respect UV seams and sort of texture across them as if in 3D. I'd have to look that up again. Just a note.

Anyway it is quite a lot to put all together and it takes time to learn all of these things. Maybe you can do some tutorials and get a hang of the workflow better before you commit to any method of UV.

tcoursey
01-11-2017, 11:51 AM
Well first, I would strongly suggest sticking with Blender for UV mapping if you are familiar with those tools at all. Or even Modo/3D Coat as hrgiger suggests if you have and use them.

Even the new tools in LightWave, while a start, are not going to give you everything you need, I don't think.

But something you said also pointed to a general game workflow point. You mentioned modeling details into your couch for instance. For a game pipeline you will actually be texturing a low poly object. Seams and creases and all of that are best done on the high poly version and then the details baked with AO and normal maps into your low poly object. It can take a lot of experimentation to work out a good workflow for this. Then there are various texture programs to use from there.

And your UV Mapping will depend largely on 2 main divisions. 1) Will you be painting in 3D?, Substance Painter, Modo, 3D Coat, Mudbox etc...Or 2) Will you be 2D texturing with Photoshop, substance designer or Quixel suite?

If you are painting in 3D your seams won't be as large of an issue. And actually you could probably get a way with Atlas projection. But if you are painting in any 2D medium you will really need to have carful seams and a virtually stretch free unwrap for hard surface objects. Organic shapes will be more forgiving. But even in this case, you will likely find you need to clone paint over seams in 3D. that said, I do recall a feature in substance designer to allow you to respect UV seams and sort of texture across them as if in 3D. I'd have to look that up again. Just a note.

Anyway it is quite a lot to put all together and it takes time to learn all of these things. Maybe you can do some tutorials and get a hang of the workflow better before you commit to any method of UV.

Great info from yourself and others before. Thanks for taking the time to lay all that out. It's a complicated decision tree and can be different for everyone of us depending on our workflow and end result we want to achieve.

I hate blenders UI but love how much they've added for friggin' FREE! LW is so long in the tooth it's rediculous, I myself have been using it for nearly 18 years now (makes me feel old) and although there are so many other options, I find myself sticking with good ol' LW because for the things I do it's so stream lined! But anytime I want to get out of my RUT I find it's so lacking in many ways.....10 years behind anything else. oh well...rant over.

Thanks again for your input!

tcoursey
01-11-2017, 12:53 PM
So tried ABF I already had it installed from some time ago. And tried selecting edges. It did unwrap a box just like I expected. But one of the two times it did it it unwrapped it at a 45 degree angle in UV space! doh.

That brought up the question...how do you guys edit your UV's once made. It seems certain tools only work in XYZ space. I was going to use the rotate tool in numeric mode and nudge it by -.1 degree once I had it close...but that technique won't work..because it was nudging it in XYZ space not UV. Such an old tool.

Yes I can rotate in UV space by clicking and draggins. I can move etc. LWCAD tool didn't work in UV space. Just seems like UV in LW is not up to speed.

How do you guys manipulate, straighten pack etc....?

135569
135570

bazsa73
01-11-2017, 01:04 PM
Hi tcoursey,
you have the Transform UV toolset under the Map tab/menu (top row) and on theleft quite toward the bottom there is a UV/Texture subset of tools
and one of them is Transform UV and using that one can set precise values for rotation among other options. Sometimes when flip doesn't work I use this transform tool
negative scale -100% which is a flip practically.

Another trick when working with UVs is the usage of the Unweld, under Detail.
Otherwise your UVs will mess up. It is painful and cumbersome most of the time
but that's the way how it works in LW.

An unwelded mesh/object welded again can result in a mess if only one tiny little piece lacks UV information.

hypersuperduper
01-11-2017, 01:17 PM
Depending on what type of unwrapping you want to do you can use the transform tools mentioned to fix your uvs, or you can Flatten out the actual geometry as a morph and planar map everything, which is an embarrassingly viable solution with lightwave. lightwave's native tools are fine for some stuff, particularly mechanical things with strict uv layouts, but if you want to do proper unwrapping and packing (particularly packing) of organic shapes LW is not going to make it easy. You can use a trial version of 3dcoat for uv unwrapping and packing and it won't cost you a cent. The uv tools in 3D coat are first rate and will save you lots of time.

Snosrap
01-11-2017, 01:18 PM
I have been using LW's native ABF UV Unwrap with great success in unwrapping both hi-res and lower res furniture. Also Rectangle UV in LWCAD works really good. I also use PLG's Relax UVs tool. Hardly ever use PLG's UV maker since native ABF Unwrap has come along. (Actually I even quit UVing in Modo since ABF. :))
135571

MichaelT
01-11-2017, 03:29 PM
PLG Tools site have been down for years. I would not bother trying to find it, it's been off the radar for (about) ten years now.

jwiede
01-11-2017, 07:54 PM
If serious about making game engine assets, the other problem you'll potentially encounter is need of custom vertex normal maps for optimal shading. LW's support there is pretty minimal (it will retain them, but model changes in LW will invalidate them in most cases, AFAICT). If vertex normal maps are likely to be a concern, you're much better off modeling/surfacing/baking in either Blender or MODO.

Before you get too far into setting up a high-to-low asset baking workflow, you should probably try to assess whether game engines will shade low-poly versions of your objects acceptably without vertex normal maps.

Surrealist.
01-11-2017, 10:24 PM
Great info from yourself and others before. Thanks for taking the time to lay all that out. It's a complicated decision tree and can be different for everyone of us depending on our workflow and end result we want to achieve.

I hate blenders UI but love how much they've added for friggin' FREE! LW is so long in the tooth it's rediculous, I myself have been using it for nearly 18 years now (makes me feel old) and although there are so many other options, I find myself sticking with good ol' LW because for the things I do it's so stream lined! But anytime I want to get out of my RUT I find it's so lacking in many ways.....10 years behind anything else. oh well...rant over.

Thanks again for your input!

No problem. It has been ages since I used the PLG tools. The link on the LW 3D Group site is broken. The new ABF, is only the start. It is only but part of the process. I find I need a few tools to tackle the various issues that come up. It has also been a long time since I used LW for UVs so I can't really offer tips beyond what has been offered. But I will say that I think you will be limited with the tools in LW. And this will equate to more time.

But all of this aside, the main important point is the target islands you want to create. Just like being able to envision the ideal polyflow of an object, and how that can be done in any program. The same is true with UV maps. It is the technique you learn or adapt or create for your purposes that is the key thing. The technique of UVs is king. Just as it is for subdivision surface modeling, beyond the program. The only caveat to this I can see is being so hindered and limited in LW that you are not able to freely experiment and work unhindered to develop the best techniques.

I certainly understand keeping it all in LW. Maybe an idea is to learn the techniques in Blender and then figure out how to adapt those to LW. I think the process of learning would be more fluent there. Just my opinion. :)

BigHache
01-13-2017, 07:00 PM
+1 for 3D Coat's UV toolset. Even if you never used their sculpting tools, picking it up for UV tools and PBR painting alone would be worth it.

bazsa73
01-14-2017, 12:07 AM
I have been using LW's native ABF UV Unwrap with great success in unwrapping both hi-res and lower res furniture. Also Rectangle UV in LWCAD works really good. I also use PLG's Relax UVs tool. Hardly ever use PLG's UV maker since native ABF Unwrap has come along. (Actually I even quit UVing in Modo since ABF. :))
135571
I use ABF too exclusively. My bigger concern is the clumsy or rather non-existing tools for UV island management, arrangement etc. Plus band-glue messes up my carefully laid out UVs which
is quite a hassle.

Snosrap
01-14-2017, 02:53 PM
Yep - "select connect" a polygon island would be nice. Also edge selection and many other "little" things to go along with the larger far reaching inadequate UV tools. If I needed pixel perfect layouts the tools wouldn't suffice, but usually I'm unwrapping something that will have a tiled wood surface or fabric of some sort. Lots of leeway. :)

jwiede
01-14-2017, 03:05 PM
Yep - "select connect" a polygon island would be nice. Also edge selection and many other "little" things to go along with the larger far reaching inadequate UV tools. If I needed pixel perfect layouts the tools wouldn't suffice, but usually I'm unwrapping something that will have a tiled wood surface or fabric of some sort. Lots of leeway. :)

That sums up the issue nicely: LW's ability for precision/complex UV work is seriously lacking, but for basic placement/arrangement tools its UV tools are viable if a bit limited.

Also, as with many other areas of LW, there doesn't seem to be a clear "intended workflow" for anything beyond the most basic scenarios. There are tools but when you try to do end-to-end UV'ing with anything non-basic you discover lots of annoying absences, as if more-complex scenarios weren't really considered/tested.

bazsa73
01-28-2017, 02:57 PM
I tried today Blender's UV unwrap and was greatly satisfied. It unrapped my mesh perfectly, I could re-pack my UV island automatically. And super easy to use.