Wednesday, 15 December 2010

2nd Test

I originally planned to UV Map the whole of the 'Max for Maya' rig, however I encountered some problems to do with the assigned materials to the character in the hypershade, it seemed like the rig was locked and I couldn't assign any new shaders or materials to the geometry even though I could remove them, this was a problem because I needed separate Lambert materials for for the body and the head and since it wasn't allowing me to alter or change anything I had to call quit working on it and find a different rig. The rig I needed to successfully practice on would need to have no UV Mapping in the Texture Editor and for ease of use not have too many materials assigned to the geometry in the Hypershade.

I ended up going through a lot of commercial rigs before I could find one that suited my needs. I started working on a rig called 'Moom'. Before fully unwrapping a character in Maya, I wanted to try a technique where you select parts of the geometry and save it as a 'Set', after this you can quickly select whatever Set that you want to quick select different parts of the body geometry instantly, doing this also unwraps the geometry in the Texture Editor. The best thing about doing this is that it applies a checkered texture to the sets which shows how the textures will wrap around the geometry, this is useful to see if the UV mapping I've done is efficient and doesn't stretch any imported textures or apply them in any odd ways to the Sets, it's almost like a preview to make sure everything is layed out properly before you start working in photoshop on textures and then finding out problems once you start trying to apply them.

Using the Paint Tool in Maya I quickly selected all of the faces which make up the characters Torso. Using the Paint Tool is a lot quicker than selecting each face individually and you don't have to worry about selecting faces behind the ones in front because it will only detect the ones that are visible through the current view that is being used e.g. perspective, top, side. It's also much quicker than selecting each face individually with the Select Tool.

Once I had selected all of the faces that I needed,  I went to Create > Sets > Quick Select Sets and made a new set called 'Torso', after that, whenever I want to select the torso just on it's own I would only have to go to Edit > Quick Select Sets and then pick the Set named Torso, this will select all of the faces in the set and allow me to work on them rather than having to reselect them all individually every time that I need them.

Once I have the Set selected I have to make sure I have 'Hardware Texturing' turned on in 'Shading', after that I can make a Planar Projection which will then show a checkered texture on the geometry. As you can see in the image above, the black and white checkered pattern is layed out equally on the geometry and has no signs of tearing over the object which means that it is a good UV Map and any textures I make in photoshop will apply to the character perfectly.

In the above image you can see that the checker pattern has more black and white squares to this, this is because you can adjust the size of it as well as rotate it to make sure that it is laid out correctly on the geometry.

To make sure that i'm competent with this process I tried it out on another rig of a Troll. I made a UV Set of the trolls chest and stomach and then made a planar projection on it. The checked texture laid out fine so I decided to do the next step of taking the UV map into photoshop, painting a quick texture and then applying it to the Set.

For some reason when I applied the texture it would not work properly, it was tearing and smearing over the geometry and I couldn't find out why so I went back and re-did everything in case I had made a mistake along the way.

After re-doing it all it seemed to work alright, I still don't know what went wrong whether it was something that I had done or if it was just Maya having a little glitch. I still noticed one major problem though which I found to be very frustrating, In the image you will see that on the top and bottom part of the texture there are grey parts which look like they have been left blank; at first I thought that it was something to do with the materials in the hypershade but when I checked there was only 1 Lambert material assigned to the geometry. I'm still not entirely sure what the problem is but I've found this whole process to be more hassle than it's worth. As long as I unwrap the models I'm working on in a logical and simple way then there should be no reason to go through this process of checking the UV layouts with a checkered texture. I personally still prefer the process of painting the texture in photoshop, applying it to the model and then making adjustments back in photoshop if it's not working correctly, I feel I have more control doing it that way whereas this method still seems a little flaky and unreliable, however I will not completely dismiss it because I'm positive that it will be useful for more organic shaped objects as well as a lot of hard edged ones.

Above is the texture I made for the testing of this process, it's very basic and has only he minimum amount of colour and tones to show enough of the detail required to know if it was projecting properly on the geometry and was applied in the correct place.

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