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Creating and Rigging a Non-Deformable Wooden Character in Maya: Part 3

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What You'll Be Creating

In this part of the non-deformable character series, you'll learn how to apply UVs to your character using Maya's proprietary tools. Topics Include using various UV projection techniques, removing distortion using Maya's powerful relax algorithms, transferring UV's to save time and finally packing. You'll then learn how to setup the appropriate shaders and apply textures. By the end of this lesson you'll have a fully UV mapped, textured character, ready for rigging!


Also available in this series:

  1. Creating and Rigging a Non-Deformable Wooden Character in Maya: Part 1
  2. Creating and Rigging a Non-Deformable Wooden Character in Maya: Part 2
  3. Creating and Rigging a Non-Deformable Wooden Character in Maya: Part 3
  4. Creating and Rigging a Non-Deformable Wooden Character in Maya: Part 4

Project Overview:
This tutorial series covers the modeling, texturing and rigging of a non-deformable character in Maya. Based on 'the Nutcracker', this character features a number of challenges due to it's inorganic nature and unique structure. Throughout the course of this series, author Soni Kumari will show you how to tackle each element and construct the model from start to finish using Maya's default toolset. Later lessons will include texture and material creation, and how to construct an intuitive, animation friendly rig for a hard surface character using Maya's proprietary rigging tools.


Step 1

In the third part of the tutorial, we'll learn how to properly unwrap the model and apply textures to it. So to start, open the file complete model .mb which saved at the end of the last part of the tutorial.


Step 2

First we will unwrap the nutcracker’s upper head. So select the upper head mesh, and then go to the Edit UVs menu and click on UV Texture Editor, to open the Texture Editor window.

You can see the head mesh is unwrapped in the UV Texture Editor window, but it is very zig zag and its faces are overlapped.


Step 3

Here we need to use appropriate mapping to apply the texture image properly. So, with the head mesh selected, open the Create UVs menu and then select the Cylinder Mapping command.

After applying the ‘Cylinder Mapping’, the head mesh now looks to be better unwrapped . But still we need to cut and define its seams to achieve better unwrapping and texturing.


Step 4

In the viewport, you can see the cylinder map’s gizmo which is used for rotating and scaling it according to the mesh projection. Now Right-click on the head mesh, and select Object Mode in the pop up menu.


Step 5

Now to work on the head mesh properly, we need to isolate it. So go to the Show menu in the panel menu bar, and check on the View Selected check box inside the Isolate Select submenu.


Step 6

Press the F10 key to enter Edge selection mode, and then double-click on the corner edge loop as shown in the image below.


Step 7

Then go to the Edit UVs menu and select the Cut UVs Edges command.


Step 8

Then press the F12 key to jump into UV selection mode (or alternatively, you can Right-click and then choose UV.)


Step 9

Now select any one or two UVs inside the cut shell area, and then go to the Select menu and choose the Select Shell command, inside the UV Texture Editor window.


Step 10

Now select all the teeth UVs and then while pressing the Ctrl key, do a Right-click and select the To Shell option.


Step 11

In this way we have now separated all the parts of the head (i.e. the ears, teeth, nose and inner mouth). As shown in the image below.


Step 12

Now select the inner mouth shell, and go to the Tool menu in the UV Texture Editor window, and select the Smooth UV Tool.

It now shows the Unfold and Relax control nodes.


Step 13

Drag the middle mouse button inside the Unfold option. And you will see the shell gets unfolded.


Step 14

Now we will sew the open edges. Press the F10 key to enter Edge selection mode and select any single open edge. Then go to the Polygon menu in the UV Texture Editor, and select the Sew UV Edges command to sew the selected edges.


Step 15

Now select the second edge, and press the G key to repeat the last used command.

Following the same procedure, sew all the open edges as shown in the image below.


Step 16

Now select the inner mouth shell, go to the Tool menu in the UV Texture Editor window, and select the Smooth UV Tool and then again, unfold it. This time the shell gets unfolded quite a bit better than before.


Step 17

Now we will use the relax command. So, with the shell selected, go to the Polygons menu in the UV Texture Editor window and click on the Relax options box.

In the Relax UVs Options window, check on the Pin UV border option and keep the Maximum iterations value at 2. And then click on the Relax button.


Step 18

After relaxing the UVs, we can also modify the UVs manually by using the UV Lattice Tool, as shown in the following image.

With the UV Lattice Tool applied, drag and adjust the lattice points as per your need.


Step 19

In this way, unfold and relax all the parts separately.

Also relax the main head part by using same tools.


Step 20

Now arrange and scale all the parts to keep them inside the dark gray rectangle area, which is used for applying the texture image onto the snapped UVs.


Step 21

Now we will unwrap the jaw mesh by using the mapping tool. But again, we first need to make it isolated. So with the jaw mesh selected, go to Show menu and turn on the View Selected command inside the Isolate Select submenu.


Step 22

If you check the UVs of the selected jaw mesh in the UV Texture Editor, it will look something like this. We need to unfold it.


Step 23

This time we will apply a Spherical map. So with the jaw mesh selected, go to the Create UVs menu and select Spherical Mapping.

After applying the Spherical Mapping command, the jaw mesh gets unfolded like this.


Step 24

Now press F10 for Edge selection mode, and then double-click on the corner edge of the jaw to select the edge loop like this.

With the edge loop selected, go to the Edit UVs menu and select the Cut UV Edges command.


Step 25

Now double-click on the top corner’s edge to select its loop, and then apply Cut UV Edges here too.


Step 26

Now select several UVs inside the UV Texture Editor window, and then go to the Select menu and choose the Select Shell command, to select the shell UVs as shown in the image below.

With the shell selected, move it away and make it separate.


Step 27

In this way we have separated all the shells carefully. Now we need to sew them according to the projection.


Step 28

Now, to sew the shells, we will apply the same command as we did previously. So with the corresponding edges selected, go to the Polygon menu in the UV Texture Editor window, and select Sew UV Edges.


Step 29

After sewing the shell’s edges, go to the Tool menu in the UV Texture Editor window and select the Smooth UV Tool.

Now, drag the middle mouse button over the Unfold option. You will see the shell gets unfolded.


Step 30

Following the same way, unfold all the shells.


Step 31

Now, we will unfold and rearrange the rest of the shells. So press F10 for Edge selection mode, and then select the loop of edges shown in the following image. Then go to the Polygons menu inside the UV Texture Editor window and select Cut UV Edges, to cut them at the selected part.

Again select the edges where we want to sew and then go to the Polygons menu inside UV Texture Editor window, and select the Move and Sew UV Edges command.


Step 32

In this way we have unfolded and relaxed all the UVs shells and arranged them properly inside the UV area.


Step 33

Now unhide all the character mesh objects to unwrap them.


Step 34

Now we will unwrap the UVs for the character’s hair using another mapping tool. So with the top hair mesh selected, go to the Create UVs menu in the main menu bar, and select the Automatic Mapping command.

After applying the Automatic Mapping command, you will see something like this in the UV Texture Editor window.


Step 35

You can manually unfold and relax this type of UV layout. So select a shell and unfold it by using the Scale and Move tools.


Step 36

Select each row of UVs one by one and then straighten them out with the help of the Scale tool.


Step 37

In this way we have completed one shell, as shown in the image below.


Step 38

After unfolding and arranging the rest of the shells properly, we'll fit them into a layout. So with all the UVs selected, go to the Polygons menu in the UV Texture Editor window, and then select the Layout command.

Now, you will see all the shells are arranged automatically inside the layout.


Step 39

Next we will unwrap the character's chest. So first isolate the chest mesh object.

In the UV Texture Editor, it looks something like this.


Step 40

With the chest object selected, go to Create UVs menu in main menu bar, and this time select the Cylindrical Mapping command.

The cylindrical mapping gizmo appears on the chest object.


Step 41

After applying cylindrical mapping, select the bottom projection area by double-clicking on the bottom corner edge loop. Then go to the Edit UVs menu and select the Cut UV Edges command to create a shell.


Step 42

Now select a few of the UVs in the UV Texture Editor, and then go to the Select menu and choose the Select Shell command to select the shell.


Step 43

After selecting the shell, move it down as shown in the image below.


Step 44

With the shell selected, go to Tool menu in the UV Texture Editor window and then select the Smooth UV Tool.


Step 45

Also use the Sew UVs Edges command wherever needed (as we have before).


Step 46

Now the complete unfolded and relaxed shell should look like this.


Step 47

Following the same process, complete the upper shell also.


Step 48

This time, select the hip mesh object and go to the Create UVs menu and use Cylindrical Mapping.


Step 49

After applying the cylindrical mapping, we need to make the top and bottom face projections separate shells.


Step 50

With the top and bottom corner edge loops selected, go to the Edit UVs menu and then select the Cut UV Edges command.


Step 51

After cutting the shells, select and move them properly to unfold and relax the UVs.


Step 52

After unfolding and relaxing the UVs, it should look like this.


Step 53

Now, we will unwrap the arms. So with the left arm mesh selected, go to the Create UVs menu and select the Cylindrical Mapping tool.

After applying the cylindrical mapping tool, you will notice the mapping gizmo is not in the right direction (horizontally). So we need to rotate and scale it according to the direction of the arm mesh. To rotate the mapping gizmo, click on the red wire (the T-shape) as shown in the image below.


Step 54

After clicking on the red T wire, the rotation gizmo appears. Now rotate the gizmo to the desired direction.

After rotating the gizmo. Also Scale it, so it completely covers the arm mesh horizontally.


Step 55

Now you can see the unwrapped faces in the UV Texture Editor window.


Step 56

After that, unfold the UVs as we have done previously.


Step 57

Next, apply Cylindrical Mapping onto the forearm mesh and arrange its gizmo as we have done previously.

This time we need to cut the shells.


Step 58

Press the F10 key to enter Edge selection mode, and then double-click on the corner edge of both sides of the forearm mesh.


Step 59

Now with the edge loops selected, go to Edit UVs and select the Cut UVs Edges command to cut them.


Step 60

Now, this time we will use a different way to unfold the shells. So press F11 to enter Face selection mode and then select any one the faces. Then choose Select Shell in the UV Texture Editor window.


Step 61

After selecting the shell face, go to Create UVs in main menu bar and select the Planer Mapping tool.

It should now look like this image.


Step 62

In this way, we have unfolded all the created shells (as shown in the image below).


Step 63

Now we will unwrap the hand mesh. So with the hand mesh selected, go to Create UVs in main menu bar and select Automatic Mapping.

After applying Automatic Mapping, the UV Texture Editor looks like this.


Step 64

Now we will unwrap the thumb mesh. So with the thumb mesh selected, apply Automatic Mapping as we have done previously. In this way, we complete the unwrapping on all the parts of the left hand and leg.


Step 65

Since we have unwrapped all the parts on the left side, we will now transfer the UVs to the right hand and leg parts.

This image shows the UVs of the left arm mesh.


Step 66

Now, first select the left arm mesh and then select the right side arm mesh and go to the Mesh menu and click on the Transfer Attributes options box.

It opens the Transfer Attributes Options box. In this box, turn on the Current and Component radio buttons, and then click on the Transfer button to transfer the attributes to the right side UVs.


Step 67

Now you can see the right side’s UVs are as same as the left side’s UVs.


Step 68

Following the same procedure, transfer all the UVs from the left side meshes to the right side meshes.


Step 69

So now we have unfolded and relaxed all the parts of the character.


Step 70

Next, select all the parts of the character and go to the Edit menu, and then select the History command inside the Delete by Type submenu, to delete all history.


Step 71

Finally we will apply a texture onto the unwrapped parts. So go to the Window menu, and select the Hypershade command inside the Rendering Editors submenu.

In the Hypershade window, select a Blinn shader to create a shader node as shown in the image below.


Step 72

Now right-click and choose the Rename option and then rename it as Head. Then press the OK button to rename the shader node.


Step 73

After renaming the shader node, press Ctrl+A to open the Attribute Editor and then click on the Color checker button to open the texture render node. Here click on File.

Browse to the texture image to apply.


Step 74

To better position the texture on the UVs, we have to create a UV map. So go to the Polygon menu in the UV Texture Editor and select UV Snapshot.


Step 75

In UV Snapshot options box, set the File name and location, keep the Size X and Size Y values at 2048, Image format as JPEG then click on the OK button. It will then save the file as Head Uvs.jpeg to the hard disk.


Step 76

Now, open the saved Head UVs file in Photoshop. And then import the texture image and edit it according to the UV Map as shown in the image below.

Something like what shown in this image.


Step 77

After editing the texture image, apply it onto the upper head mesh in Maya. If you need to edit the flow of the texture, you can adjust the UVs in UV texture Editor window.


Step 78

Now, again open the Hypershade window and select the Head shader node to apply a Bump node in the work area.

For this, select the texture file, press and hold the middle mouse button and drag and drop it onto the main Head shader node, then choose the Bump Map’ option in the fly out menu to apply the bump texture.

This opens the bump node attributes. Here keep the Bump Depth value at 0.020.


Step 79

Through this process , we have completed our texture map and applied it onto the character’s body. Now save the file as Complete Texture.mb. And in the next part of the tutorial, we will complete the rigging of the character.


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