Lightwave UV Maps for UV Mapper Users - Lesson 2

This is the fourth tutorial in the UV Mapper to Lightwave UV Tools series. If you haven't completed the first three, I strongly suggest that you read them, at the very least, since we are building on what you have learned there.

Once again, if you click on any of the pictures, you'll get a full size screen shot.

Render of the finished model. This model is much more complex than any we've done so far. It's also the same model that I used in my UV Mapper tutorial, so you can easily compare the workflow in the two programs.

If you want to follow along with this tutorial, you will need to download Vambrace.sit or for the model, and VambraceImages.sit or to get the image files. This time, we are going to match a wire frame of a map while we create our UVs. (This is just for convenience, to make exact placement simpler.)

Load the model, begin a New UV Map, (name it Vambrace_UV,) and use VambraceWireframe.jpg as the Backdrop Image in whatever viewport you are going to use for the UV Map, and as the Color on all the named surfaces. We've done all of that often enough that I'm not going to tell you how, this time.

Merge points, and notice that this causes the model to change. Figure out how and where, so you can return to the pristine state after mapping. As you know by now, in order to map UVs in Lightwave, it's necessary to make sure that every polygon section you want to move on the maps has its own points on all its edges, since no point can be in more than one place on the UV Map. To make sure that's the case, we've been cutting and pasting parts of the model, and unwelding seams, and otherwise blowing the model to bits; then merging points at the end to make the model a seamless whole again.

However, some models aren't supposed to have all their points merged like that! How do you know which are which, and how do you make sure the model after UV mapping is in the same condition it was before you started to map?

The answer is, you check for these points before you start to map.

So, right now, tap 'm' for merge, and let's see if any intentional seams are present. When you do, you will find that 85 points have been eliminated. Whoops! Houston, we have a seam!

Undo. We need to find where it's supposed to be.

Start by looking at the model; some seams are obvious.

Change to Smooth Shaded display in the Perspective viewport, and merge and unmerge again. You are looking for a sharp seam that melts when you hit merge.

You should be able to see it pretty easily; it's where the Padding Strips on the top join the Outer_Leather surface of the Vambrace.

Make sure you have undone the merge, click on any poly of that surface, and select connected. Now tap - (minus sign) to hide those polys, and merge again. No points eliminated. You've got it. All you'll have to do is cut and paste the entire Padding_Strips surface after the final merge.

Sometimes the seam is within a material. In that case, check to see if it's a Part. If not, you might want to make it a Part, so you can copy and paste easily after mapping. Sometimes, the polys in question already belong to a Part you don't want to fragment, or the seam is really a seam, and not any group of polys. In those cases, the easiest thing to do is make the points that must not be welded into a Point Set. After the final merge, you can select the Point Set, and just unweld it.

For now, though, we know what we'll need to do at the end. So, select each surface in turn, by going to Polygon Statistics (w on the keyboard,) selecting the "Surf:name" and clicking the +. Cut each one, and immediately paste it back. This will give you a second set of points to work with, so you can separate the surfaces on the map.

Naturally, this isn't necessary for surfaces that don't share points in the first place, such as the "Buckle" or "Rivets" surfaces in this model. On the other hand, if you aren't sure if there are shared points, it won't hurt anything if you do this step.

Start Mapping with Leather_Outer. Make UVs, select the points along the split. Select the Leather_Outer surface, and Make UVs, as you have in the past.

When the requester opens, take a look at your object, and decide what kind of map is best suited to this part of the model. In this case, a Cylindrical map, along the X axis, is going to need the least tweaking. (When working here it's easy to see which axis you need to use. It's the one that runs the length of the cylinder.) So set those values in the requester, and click OK.

Your map will appear, split where Lightwave wants to split it. Now you have two choices. You can either unweld the points along the split, and drag the vertices to fit, or you can make an endomorph and rotate the model so the split is where you want it. Which is easiest will depend on your personal taste, and the model you are working on. Right now, we are going to use the unweld and drag method, so you can see it. (We'll use the endomorphs, which you are already familiar with, in a few minutes.)

Change to Point selection (F4, or hit the Spacebar a couple of times,) and use the right mouse button (or Command+mouse) to lasso all the points along the seam. Do this on the map, not on the model. (Notice that they only appear on the right hand portion of the model.) Make sure that you have only picked up the seam points; there should be 19 of them. If you need to, drop extra points by clicking on them, or pick up any missed points by Shift-clicking.

Unweld those points. (Control+u/ctrl+u or Detail > Points > Unweld) Instantly, corresponding points appear on the right. (Remember, we've done this before, on the Swoop Can.)

Move the right hand polys to mend the split. Go back to Polygon selection (F3 or Spacebar) and select the polys on the left hand side of the map. Change to the Move tool (t,) hold down the Control/ctrl key to restrain the movement, and drag the polys to the right until the seams match up. Make this as exact as you can by zooming in and eyeballing it; but it doesn't have to be the kind of exact that it does in modeling. Although you are changing the UV placement, the points are still exactly where they were in XYZ space.

When it matches, drop the selection.

Leave as two sections, Resize, Rotate, and Position. Flip if necessary. Leaving it as two separate sections, select the entire surface, then rotate and resize to fit the portion of the map labeled "Leather-Outer" as usual, and position it on the map.

Check the big red R, and make sure it doesn't need to be flipped. (If it does, flip it, of course.)

For the rest, memorize where LW was splitting the map, and make a Mapping endomorph. Now, if you select the Leather_Inner surface, and make the same kind of map, you will find that you have the same kind of split, in just the same place. Lightwave has to split cylindrical maps, naturally, so you can predict that kind of thing.

To fix it, since we have several more surfaces that we want to map cylindrically on the same axis, we are going to make an endomorph of the model, and rotate it so the opening in the surface is where Lightwave was splitting the map.

(Remember where that was? The points you unwelded were all along that spot. If you don't remember, make a map, memorize the position of the split, and undo.)

Rotate the model in the endomorph, so the opening straddles the split point. So make a Mapping endomorph, as you have before.

Then make sure you don't have anything selected, get the Rotate tool and rotate your model on the X axis until the opening in the vambrace straddles the zero point where Lightwave was splitting the map.

No more split! Resize, position, flip if needed. Select the Leather_Inner and make the cylindrical UV map again.

There you go; all one piece. Place it in the appropriate spot on the map, resizing, flipping etc. as needed. Then drop the selection, of course.

Make UVs as usual for the Trimming surface. Select the Trimming surface, and make the UVs again, keeping the same settings. Notice that the map is still splitting just where you want it to. This is the advantage of making the endomorph when you have several materials you want to split in the same place. Place it on the map, where it belongs.
Rotate 180° to prepare for the next set of maps. The next surface we want to map is the Strap. This surface has two parts; the strap that is riveted to the inside of the vambrace, and the strap that is buckled at the wrist. As you can easily see, both of these are currently centered over the split that Lightwave will put in the map. (If you don't believe me, try making the UVs, and see for yourself.)

The solution is easy; just rotate the model 180°.

Select all three Strap materials for the arm section, and manipulate as one. Now we come to one of the many advantages of using Lighwave's built-in UV tools.

The map will probably be better if the part that is riveted is made with a planar projection map, instead of a cylindrical one; but the strap around the wrist needs cylindrical mapping. In UV Mapper, because the two pieces are the same materials, we would have to make a planar projection map for each material, then select the wrist strap, and make a cylindrical map for it.

Here, because we can select polys on the fly, it's much easier.

Click once on a wireframe view in the area where the riveted polys are, and then tap the ] key (or go to Display > Selection > Sel Connected) to select all the polys that are connected to those. This should get the riveted portion of all three materials.

Make UVs, choosing Planar, Z axis. (You can see that this is the one you need by glancing at the side view in the viewport.)

Size them to fit in the allotted space for the Strap_Outer surface, still manipulating all three as a single object. (If you find they need flipping, save that for later, since one of them is bound to because they are back to back. Flipping now means you'll have to flip part again later. Waiting means you only have to flip once.)

Change the TL Viewport to UV Texture Then, go to the Statistics window, find Strap_Outer, and click on the - (minus sign) in the window to drop the polys in that material. That will leave you with Strap_Inner and Strap_Edges selected.
Drag the two remaining materials into position. Get the Move tool (t) and drag the remaining materials away from the Strap_Outer. Resize them, and place them in the spot reserved for the Strap_Inner. (Since the inside and edge of the riveted portion of the strap are the same color, we'll leave them together.)

Return to the Strap_Outer riveted portion, and Flip UV if necessary. (I flipped V this time, because of the way the pattern on the map had been made.)

Make a Cylindrical map for the wrist part of all 3 Strap surfaces, then separate them and place exactly the same way. Select the wrist portion of the three Strap materials on the model, catching only the part that goes through the buckle, the same way that you selected the riveted part. (We're going to treat the part that the buckle is attached to slightly differently.)

Make UVs, but this time, choose Cylindrical mapping on the X axis in the Requester. Separate the surfaces as before, placing each one where it belongs, shrinking and rotating as necessary.

Select the strap that goes around the buckle. When they are in place, select the part of the strap that goes around the buckle.
Rotate so it's vertical in the Right Viewport. Once you have it, rotate it so that it's square to one of the axes. (Which one is up to you.) Don't worry that the model is going to come apart when you do this. This is the mapping Endomorph, remember. We are about to tear it to ribbons!
Make UVs, position, then drag the points into place. Hide the rest of the model (that's the = (equals sign,) in case you have forgotten.) Then select the back part of the strap, and "uncurl" it exactly the same way that we flattened the book jacket. (It's probably easiest to do this by selecting polys from all four parts of the material in the Perspective view, and then expanding the selection.) It can be as bumpy as you like; we are going to fix that by dragging the individual points.

Make UVs, using a planar map for the axis you chose.

Then arrange it on the map template, dragging the points out to fit. (Don't forget to take note of which part will need flipping, while you can still see the R on the surface.)

While you do this, keep an eye on the pattern emerging on the strap itself. (If it's hard to see, increase the resolution of the map on the model by opening the Display Options (d) and increasing the Texture Resolution on the Layout tab. That will bring it into focus. This is even more fun if you switch the texture on the Surface to VambraceColor.jpg, and turn off "Show Polygon Selection" in Display Options.)

When it's in place, drop the Strap_Outer material, like you did before, and move the other two into position in the lower left corner of the map.

Select the "Keeper," and straighten it out. The remaining part of the strap is the "keeper" that is right behind the buckle. Select it, the same way you did the other pieces, hide everything else, and uncurl it, either using the method we have used before, or the "Bend" tool, whichever you are most comfortable with.
Make UVs, and position on the map, exactly the same way. When it's more or less straight, Make UVs and position it on the map in the usual way, placing all three surfaces in the Strap_Outer spot, tweaking if necessary, then moving the Strap_Inner portion to the corner. (Don't worry too much about the point placement; they don't need to be lined up perfectly.)
Select the Strap_Edge surface, then deslect the armband polys by lassoing on the map. To finish off the strap, we need to get the Strap_Edge for the wristband only. (We didn't do this earlier, because I wanted to show you a couple of other things.)

So; we need to have the strap all curled up again, like it was before we morphed it. To do so, we'll make another endomorph. We can make as many as we want, after all. Do that, by clicking the M button and choosing (new), as always, and call it Mapping_2.

Select the Strap_Edge surface, and then deselect the part that's on the riveted strap by drawing a lasso around it right on the map. Since polys selected on the map are also selected on the model, and vice versa, you can use whichever selection method is easiest!

Make Planar UVs, and postion on the map. Make UVs, choosing Planar X, and resize them to fit in the allocated spot. See? Just like in UV Mapper, you can make a new UV map at any time, and the program will collect the polys from wherever they are on the map, and map them fresh and new.

Let's go on to Page 2, and we'll finish mapping this model.

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

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