Lightwave UV Maps for UV Mapper Users - Lesson 1

If you are used to using UV Mapper, you will find it easy to use the built-in UV tools in Lightwave instead. There are just a few things you have to remember.

  1. Although UV Mapper will allow you to have a single point in several maps at once, Lightwave will not. Solution: Cut the surface, and then paste it back in, or just unweld the points. Either one gives you as many points as you need and eliminates the problem.
  2. UV Mapper will automatically split a material as it maps it; Lightwave will not. Solution: manually select the “seam” you want the material split along and unweld the points; then map it. This has the added advantage of giving you much more control.
  3. UV Mapper will allow you to rotate the model, and then apply a map from the new angle. Lightwave assigns the UVs by axes only. Solution: create an endomorph, rotate the model into whatever position you need, and make the map from there. Once again, the obvious advantage is that you can see how you are rotating the model.

With these solutions in place, there are many advantages to creating your UVs in Lightwave. Among them;

Given these advantages, I think that it's well worth the effort to learn to use Lightwave's tools; especially since they are quite easy to use!

Shall we begin? (As you go through this tutorial, you can click on the picture to see the full screen for that step.)

Finished Swoop Can We're going to start with a simple model, so you can get the idea without going into a lot of complex stuff. (We'll go there later.)

The first model we are going to map is a simple can; in this case, a can of Swoop Tasty Dragon Treats for your little dragon. If you want to follow along, you can download the model, SwoopCan.sit or, and the image that we are going to use for the map, SwoopCanColor.jpg and SwoopCanBump.jpg. (The images are stuffed together in a file called SwoopCanImages.sit or

Change the TL Viewport to UV Texture Load the object into Modeler, and set your window up so you have four viewports. Choose UV Texture for the top left Viewport.
Load Image where Viewing Mode usually is. Under the flippy where you can usually choose the viewing mode, you can now choose to load an image.
In Display Options - Backdrop Tab - TL load SwoopCanColor.jpg and change the resolution to 1024. Load the SwoopCanColor.jpg image. This is the map that we will use to place the UVs where we want them. This step is equivalent to showing a background image by using ctrl+B in UV Mapper.

The resolution will probably be too coarse to use when it first loads. To fix it, open the Display Options by tapping the d key, go to the Backdrop tab, and choose TL for the Top Left viewport (where the image is.) Change the Image Resolution to something that you can work with. (I usually just go for 1024, so it will remain clear even if I zoom way in.)

Set TR viewport to Perspective, Texture Set the Top Right viewport to Perspective, and use the Texture viewing mode.
Click the T at the bottom, and then (new) To start a new map in UV Mapper, you would load the model. Here, you start a new map by going to the Map tab, and clicking the Texture > New UV Map button, or simply clicking the T (for Texture) at the bottom, and choosing (new) from the menu there. Let's go ahead and do that now.
Name the map, and uncheck Initial Value This will open the New Map Requester. In the Texture Name text field, type something that will allow you to choose this map from many others in a scene; say, SwoopCan_UV.

Make sure that Initial Value is unchecked. We don't want Lightwave to make a map for us; we are much better at making it ourselves.

Open the Surface Editor, and click T to add a texture map. One of the advantages of making the UV map right here in Lightwave is that you can watch the map being applied while you are making it. But this only works if you are using it on the surface.

So, open the Surface Editor, and choose the Swoop_Can surface. Click the T next to Color, to use a texture in that channel. This will open the Texture Editor.

Choose UV Map type, SwoopCan_UV for the map, and SwoopCanColor.jpg for the Image. Make sure that the Layer Type is set to Image Map (the default,) and that the Blending Mode is Normal, and the Layer Opacity 100%. In the second section, set the Projection to UV. This will cause the UV Map menu to appear. Choose SwoopCan UV for the UV Map, and SwoopCanColor.jpg for the Image. Leave everything else at the default.
In Perspective view, click the middle lid poly, then type } six times; cut and paste right back. In UV Mapper, faced with a model like this, you would probably choose the Cylindrical Cap mapping type. Lightwave doesn't have that choice; but that's OK, because it's easy to choose the polygons you want to map. Even though there is only one material here, we won't have any problems.

In the Perspective view, click on the polygon on the top of the lid to select it. Then, hold down the Shift key and tap the } (right curly bracket) key (or go to Display > Selection > Select Connect) to select all the polys that are connected to this one. Repeat this step 5 more times, to select all the polys that make up the top of the can.

When they are all selected, cut them, and immediately paste them back in. This will allow you to manipulate the top in the map. (If you skip this step, the vertices will stretch when you try to move them.)

In the Perspective view, click the middle bottom poly, type } 7 times, then cut and paste. Select the middle poly in the bottom, and tap the } key seven times, to select all the polys that make up the bottom of the model. Cut and paste them right back in.
Click a side poly, then type ] That's it for the prep work. Now we are ready to start making the map.

Select the can itself by clicking on any of the side polys, and then tapping the ] (right square bracket) key (or going to Display > Selection > Sel Connected) to select all the polys that will get the label on them.

Go to Map > Texture > Make UVs. Choose Cylindrical, Y When they are all selected, go to Map > Texture > Make UVs. This is equivalent to choosing “New UV Map” in UV Mapper.

The Assign UV Coordinates requester will open, allowing you to choose the kind of map you want to make.

The first text field is Texture Name. You can use it to assign these UVs to any map that is attached to any open object, which makes it very handy if you want to make two or more maps for an object (or one map for two or more objects.) Right now, it should say SwoopCan_UV.

The next field allows you to choose the Map Type. There are four types available.

  • Planar is exactly what it is in UV Mapper; it makes a simple flat projection from one of the three axes.
  • Cylindrical and Spherical also make the sorts of maps you would expect, just the way they do in UV Mapper.
  • Atlas spreads the polys all over, so each one is fully exposed; but they aren't in any kind of easily paintable order, (unless the model is a cube or other simple geometric shape.) You can rearrange an Atlas map and make it usable; but it's generally easier to just make the map from scratch.
  • Missing are the Box and Cylindrical Cap methods. In situations where you would have used them, you will have to select the polys by hand, as we are doing here.

Right now, of course, we are going to be using Cylindrical, since we are mapping a cylinder; so go ahead and choose it.

The Y axis runs the length of the cylinder.

The next part allows you to choose the axis you want to use for the map. This is just like the Alignment choice in the UV Mapping dialog in UV Mapper. (Except, of course, that you can see which one you want!) If you look at the viewports, you will see that the Y axis runs the length of the cylinder. So, in this case, we need to map around the Y axis. Go ahead and click on it.

Settings is something like Offset and Map Size in UV Mapper. If you leave it at Automatic, it will map from the center of the model, and arrange the polys to fill the whole map. If you click Manual, you can enter values yourself; but it's... ummm... quirky. Usually, it's easiest just to leave it on Automatic, and that's what we are going to do.

There is no choice for gaps in the map, because Lightwave doesn't do gaps. If you want them, to you have to add them yourself. There is also no choice for rotation; once again, you have to do that using an endomorph if you want it. (That's covered in the next lesson.)

Click OK to map the cylinder.

Click OK, and the label is mapped to the can.. As soon as you do, you will see the whole image mapped around the can. We need to pull the label part up. To do that, of course, all we have to do is shrink the polys on the map so the break is where the green and purple meet.

Go to the next page, and we'll finish this model.

If you have a question, write to me and ask it!

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