Today we will be discussing common problems encountered when preparing 3D models for texturing.
There are several key points to keep in mind when preparing a 3D model for texturing and they all have one thing in common, UV maps. It’s the make or break point for texturing models.
The first common problem that can be encountered when texturing is texture distortion. This is often a result of the way the UV coordinates are laid out, not giving adequate space to a surface of a model or having to much space allocated. Using a checkers pattern helps to show where the texture may deform. As shown here:
As you can see on the blade the checkers are all undistorted. However when you look at the handle you can see two types of distortion, squished and stretched from the UV maps allowing too much space and not enough space respectively.
This leads into the next common problem, ensuring your model has even texel density. Texel density refers to how much of the texture size is allocated to each of the parts of your model. Even texel density helps to ensure your model has equal levels of detail across the model.
When preparing models in 3DS Max for the application of textures there are tools available to rescale your UV maps to ensure even texel density. It must be said however there are times in which you don’t want even texel density. In some cases you can give more “real estate” to “more important” areas of the model, e.g. giving more space to the face of a model and less to the under side of it’s foot.
It is important to ensure that UV maps have adequate spacing between the different elements. This is because if they are too close then it can lead to texture bleeding which creates errors and unwanted artefacts within the texture.
Along with spacing the UV map elements arranging them in a logical manner can make texturing a more streamline and efficient process. Grouping similar objects together and in such a way that it is easy to know which part of the model you are working on will help to ensure the texturing process is a painless as it can be.
The line along which two elements of a UV map meet on the model is referred to as a seam. Seams are areas in which it can be easy to notice any inconsistencies or errors in the texture as they are put next to each other. When possible it is best for there to be as few seams as possible and for them to be placed in the most inconspicuous areas. This will allow for a more consistent and cohesive texture with the least possible artefacts present.
Additionally and possibly most importantly, for any of this to be useful you need to have a well constructed model in the first place. A good chef can turn bad ingredients into decent food but it will never be great unless the ingredients are great. Similarly even if you are an accomplished “texturer”, if the model itself has errors and mistakes within it, it will never be as good as it can be.
Till next time.