View Full Version : How to map graphics to race car model

04-21-2003, 12:22 PM
Can anyone give me some advice on the best way to apply complex graphics to a race car model? You know, the kind of gaudy graphics and sponsor decals that Winston Cup cars have. I've got jpgs of the graphics already made, but when I tried to UV map them to the car body, the results were awful. I also tried planar, spherical, etc. maps but again the results were not good. Granted, my UV mapping knowledge is weak, so maybe I'm just doing it wrong. Anyone know of a good uv mapping tutorial? Thanks for the help!

04-22-2003, 08:39 PM
Geez, 20 "views" and 0 replies. Am I that dumb or doesn't anyone have an answer? :)

Tom Speed
04-22-2003, 10:58 PM

Feel upto posting some screenshots of the results you're gettings? Maybe then someone can point out where you might be doing something wrong, or a better way of doing it :)

Generaly, mapping logos onto a car sounds straight forward to me. I'd probably use planar mapping if the logos were to go on large areas like the bonnet, roof, doors, wings. Layer the logos with alphas and scale them to fit.

If you want to map a logo around curved areas like bumpers, or overlap from say the bonnet to a wing, then I'd use UV maps. Don't forget you can have numerous UV maps for specific areas.


04-28-2003, 09:32 AM
Thanks for your reply Tom. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner but I've been out of town. Once I get caught up I will post some screenshots of the unsatisfactory results I had. The graphics I spoke of cover the entire side of the car and extend onto the hood (bonnet) and the rear "trunk" area of the car. Once mapped, the grahics are all distorted. Anyway, I'll post some screenshots so you can see. Thanks again.

04-29-2003, 05:23 AM
You mean like this?

04-29-2003, 05:25 AM
And this?

04-29-2003, 05:32 AM
Show off ;)

04-29-2003, 05:46 AM
This was my first LW model/project. As if learning how to model it was'nt enough, when it came time for the textures, that was a whole 'nother headache. What I ended up doing was breaking the model down into smaller (bite size) surfaces for planar mapping once I settled on the main "striping" design, which ended up changing based on how distorted or not the textures were, I just made a UV map with Ernie Wrights "unwrap" (goto Flay) for each surface, making sure that the mesh matched the shape. While in Modeler, I would take say the Main Body, highlight all that was Planar on the left side, assign a surface called Car_Main_L, make the map (save it) hide the selected area, then select the identical polys on the right side, assign surface Car_Main_R and so on and so on. Even the headlight decals were thier own surface. Once I had 1 full surface/side done I copied it to the other surfaces and just changed the maps (don't "replace" in the image editor, pre-load them) and how they were mapped, keeping all other surface attributes the same. What I ended up with was about 12 seperate maps which was a bit of a pain to stitch them together mentally, but I had prepped it well enough. This is a Sub-D model too. Like I said, this was my first, and this is by no means the correct way, but it did produce what I feel to be satisfactory results with almost no distortion. A lengthy work-around at best. Hope this helps.

05-07-2003, 07:00 PM
Wow, nice work Banshee. I'm back on this project now, and will try to follow your suggestions. Will the Flay tutorial give me a good understanding of how to do UV maps? I definitely need help.

I was gonna post some shots but can't get it to work - what's the trick here? I clicked "browse" and selected the file, but it doesn't appear in the preview.

05-07-2003, 07:07 PM
Ah well, I guess attachments don't show up in the preview.... Anyway, here's want I want it to look like. Of course, all I've attempted so far are the blue stripes and so forth. The decals on the side shouldn't be a problem. My concern is getting the stripes indicated by the red arrows to line up right once I divide the image up into parts. Is this just trial and error?

05-08-2003, 04:09 AM
That doesn't seem too difficult, just use UV Maps, they're pretty accurate in OpenGL view, just make sure the texture you wanna tweak is the only one active in the Surface Editor - Textures (just make the rest invisible by clicking the little checkmarks off)

for tutorials:
Lightwave Tutorials on the Web (http://members.shaw.ca/lightwavetutorials/)

And offcourse CGTalk texturing Goddess', Leigh Van Der Byl tutorials:
Texturing Workshop Part 1 (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=6648)
Texturing Workshop Part 2 and 3 (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7681)
Texturing Workshop Part 4-1 (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11053&perpage=40&pagenumber=1)
Texturing Workshop Part 4-2 (http://www.lightwave3d.com/tutorials/surface/texturing_for_dummies_004/index.html)

i think Leigh's Texturing Workshop Part 2 and 3 is the one you want...

05-08-2003, 04:51 AM
Will the Flay tutorial give me a good understanding of how to do UV maps?

Actually what I was directing you to was Ernie Wrights "unwrap" plug-in. It lets you export the uv-map as an image in whatever size you specify. Much easier than taking a screenshot and cropping in PS at an increased resolution without decreasing mesh-outline quality (IMHO). It looks like for this decal-job, it would be best to "pancake" the whole mainbody mesh, I would guess by creating an endomorph to get the map, using Meni's http://www.menithings.com
technique and/or the"Smart Map" tutorial http://www.jackydaniel.com/pages/Tutorial.htm (Meni's tut enhanced) Have'nt tried them yet but check them out.

05-08-2003, 08:51 AM
Thanks a ton, guys. I will check out the references.


05-08-2003, 03:49 PM
Ok, I've worked through a simple tutorial for uv mapping and understand the gist of it. I checked out the tut on MeniThings and don't understand where he says, after unwelding the points on the endomorph, "Create your custom UV in the Endomorph." Does he mean to "cut" up the model so that you get the "skinned carcass" effect he refers to? If so, how does that subsequently appear in the UV viewport? Seems like my simple mind needs a few more explanatory steps than what is offered in the tutorial.

Banshee, is this basically what you did when you "broke the model down" into smaller pieces. Except you didn't use uv's, correct?

Lord have mercy, my head is swimming with confusion!:confused:

05-09-2003, 04:59 AM
Banshee, is this basically what you did when you "broke the model down" into smaller pieces
Kind of, without the endomrphs. Basically I "hand selected" every poly that was pretty close to being on the same plane (x,y, or z) that would be for each individual planar surface, left side, right side, top etc... without cutting up the model. It stayed intact and I just renamed/created individual surfaces. Take a box for example. Each side (6 total) can be individually surfaced, mapped, transparent, luminous etc... without seperating the box. This is the same principal I used except the car is more of a curvey-contoured box. I was not about to get into endomorphs on my first model. I was still learning and trying to get over the "intimidation factor" of LW. The second link to jackydaniels tut has a better description of menis process. The "full" original thread can be found on the "old" newtek message board. http://forums.newtek.com/discus/index.html
You'll have to search around using keywords, but there is still a lot of great info here.

BTW: My driver beat your driver last year for the championship. :p

05-09-2003, 08:29 AM
QUOTE BTW: My driver beat your driver last year for the championship. :p

Yeah, well, I guess Viagra can only do so much.....!!

So you did use UV's to do the mapping, just w/o the endomorph technique?

With the Meni/JackyDaniel methods, I still don't get how they would "pancake" or flatten out the car body. Do they do it manually in order to make it appear flat in the uv viewport? I appreciate the tutorials, but they need to "dumb it down" a bit so I can understand it.:rolleyes:

05-10-2003, 03:46 AM
So you did use UV's to do the mapping, just w/o the endomorph technique?
Yep, applied as planar without the endomorphs. From what I understand, to "pancake" the mesh, it would have to be done manually. The way I perceive it is, you unweld points where you will bend it and/or what will be moved, rotate to the same plane as what would be the main view, and then flatten each rotated section I guess by setting a point value for everything. This would be the endomorph which never actually gets applied to the model except for the purpose of mapping.
Again, think of a box and how you would flatten it while keeping it connected. Look at pic.

:confused: Someone please correct me if I am wrong :confused:

05-12-2003, 07:02 AM
Ok, thanks for the pictures!

As far as the image itself - did you break up the actual graphics to match the way you "broke up" the car model surfaces? Could you post your images for me to see? I appreciate all your input!

05-15-2003, 03:48 PM
Here's the UV for the right side of the car for planar mapping. As you can see, I did break-up/design the graphics to "get around" the mapping for each surface. Like I said, a lengthy work-around at best, but minimal distortion. I think there was more distortion on the modeling side of it. I admit, patience was a virture in "disecting" each area for mapping and having to select all the polys manually.