Thursday, 24 May 2012

Texturing with UVWs

Work on Building 77 is progressing... steadily. There have been many improvements since last I posted, mostly with texturing the model. I wanted this post to focus specifically on one area that I've found really useful, and that is texturing using UVW maps.

I used this for my gorgeous aurochs horns that I have decorating the north-east platform. I wanted a really good bone texture but 3DS Max was lacking in standard ones! Which isn't really a surprise. In order to create my own texture I decided that a UVW map would be my best option, especially given the unusual shape of my horns. It meant I could create the texture myself using my mesh as a template and then "wrap" my texture around them.

I followed this very good tutorial which gave a decent overview of how to go about doing this: An In-Depth Look at UV Mapping an Object in 3DS Max 

I'm not going to go into the details of how I did everything, as there are far better tutorials out there already! Rather I want to show you what I started with and what I ended up with, with a few steps thrown in along the way.

I started with my untextured horns:

Once these were converted into a mesh I could apply the "unwrap UVW" modifier to them. I chose to map them "normally", front/back as that offered good coverage. From there I rendered a UVW template like so:

This was then opened in Photoshop and I chose to invert the colours and delete the background, creating an "overlay" from the map.

Now was time to chose a texture. I found this lovely photograph of an aurochs horn online so used it as my base:

Using the shiny and helpful "clone stamp" tool in Photoshop, I was able to begin building up my own texture, as shown below:

Once it was complete, I saved a jpg image of it with the base map turned off:

This was then imported back into 3DS Max as a diffuse colour in a new material. Which I then applied to my horns.

The result looks... not bad!

It's far from perfect, but it is looking better than before. Ideally I would like to add further texture to them in the form of bump maps. But that's for another time!

So there we have it. A simple(ish) way to create some horny-looking aurochs horns!

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