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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. 3D
Cgi

How to Create a Low Poly Sword in 3DS Max: Part 2

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Follow this tutorial step-by-step to create a low poly sword model that you can use in video games, graphic design and illustration projects whilst learning 3D Studio Max quickly. 

Some of the skills you'll learn in this tutorial include creating basic 3D shapes, modelling techniques and preparing topology for texturing.

In the first part of the two-part tutorial, I showed you how to:

  • Model the Handle of the Sword
  • Model the Hand Guard of the Sword
  • Model the Blade of the Sword

In this, the second part of the the tutorial series, I'll show you how to:

  • Unwrap the UVs
  • Create a UV Map
  • Create a Texture Map in Photoshop

05. UVW Remove

Step 1

In this section of the tutorial I'll go through how to prepare the model so that I can unwrap it. Both UVW Remove and Reset Xform must be performed before attempting to unwrap any of the sword parts.

Ensure you have selected the sword part that you want to unwrap (blade, handle, hand guard etc.). The object must now be converted into an editable mesh. To do this Right Click on the object and select Convert to Editable Mesh

Convert to Editable Mesh
Convert to Editable Mesh

Step 2

Then go to the Utilities Tab and click on the More button. Scroll down the menu and select UVW Remove.

Select UVW Remove
Select UVW Remove

Step 3

Click on the UVW button that appears under Parameters to apply this to the selected object.

Click on the UVW Button
Click on the UVW Button

Step 4

Once UVW Remove has been applied, Right Click on the object and select Convert to Editable Poly.

Convert to Editable Poly
Convert to Editable Poly

06. Reset XForm

Step 1

Ensure that you've selected the sword part that you want to unwrap (blade, handle, hand guard etc.). Go to the Utilities Tab and click on the Reset XForm button and then click on the Reset Selected button.

Click on Reset Xform
Click on Reset Xform

Step 2

Click on the Modify Tab and right click on XForm > Collapse All to apply this to your object.

Secondary click on XForm and then Collapse All
Secondary click on XForm and then Collapse All


07. Unwrapping the Blade

Step 1

To begin unwrapping the blade, ensure you've selected it and ensure you've followed both sections five and six of this tutorial—UVW Remove and Reset XForm.

To make the next step easier ensure that you're viewing the blade from the side view.

Turn the Blade model
Turn the Blade model

Step 2

Delete one half of the blade using the Vertex Selection tool.

Delete half of the blade
Delete half of the blade

Step 3

Make sure that the blade is an editable poly by right clicking on it and then selecting Convert to Editable Poly.

Convert to Editable Poly
Convert to Editable Poly

Step 4

Go to the Modifier List drop down menu and select Unwrap UVW.

Select Unwrap UVW
Select Unwrap UVW

Step 5

In the Modify Tab under the Edit UVs section select Open UV Editor.

Select Open UV Editor
Select Open UV Editor

Step 6

The Edit UVSs window appears. Use the Move Tool and the Scale Tool located in the top right of the window to move the object within the square. Once the object is within the square, click on the Reset Peel button.

Select Reset Peel
Select Reset Peel

Step 7

After clicking on the Reset Peel button, use the Move Tool to move the blade inside the border of the square.

Move the blade in the UV Editor
Move the blade in the UV Editor

Step 8

Use the tools on the top left of the Edit UVWs window (Move, Rotate, Scale) and place it on the right side of the square within the border.

Edit the UVs in the UV Editor
Edit the UVs in the UV Editor

Step 9

Close the Edit UVWs window. Ensure the blade is selected and go to the Modify tab. Right Click on the Unwrap Modifier and select Collapse All

If it becomes an Editable Mesh, convert it into an Editable Poly. Secondary Click > Convert to Editable Poly.

Right click and Collapse All
Right click and Collapse All

08. Duplicate the Blade UVs

Step 1

Use the Edge Selection Tool and select one of the outer most edges of the blade.

Select an edge of the sword
Select an edge of the sword

Step 2

In the Modifier List, scroll down and select Symmetry.

Select Symmetry from the list
Select Symmetry from the list

Step 3

Under the Parameters section, select the following:

  • Mirror Axis: Y
  • Flip
Edit the mirror parameters
Edit the mirror parameters

Step 4

Once the parameters have been selected, your blade should be whole again.

Mirror the blade
Mirror the blade

Step 5

Convert the blade back into an Editable Poly by selecting the blade with Secondary Click > Convert to Editable Poly.

Convert to Editable Poly
Convert to Editable Poly

Step 6

To check that the UVWs have been duplicated correctly, apply the Unwrap UVW modifier on the blade again by selecting it from the Modifier List.

Select Unwrap UVW
Select Unwrap UVW

Step 7

Move the UVWs in the Edit UVWs window to ensure that the blade shapes sit on top of each other nicely.

Check the UVs
Check the UVs

09. Unwrapping the Hand Guard

Step 1

Select the hand guard. The aim of this section is to remove half of each shape, so that they can be mirrored and so that they take up less space on the UVW Map.

Delete half of the hand guard
Delete half of the hand guard

Step 2

Select the middle tube shape and using the Vertex Selection tool, select and delete half of the shape.

Delete half of the shape
Delete half of the shape

Step 3

Select the middle shape and using the Vertex Selection tool, select and delete half of the shape.

Delete half of the shape
Delete half of the shape

Step 4

Repeat the same process for the horns. However I'll only need one half as this will be duplicate four times because we only need one half for the texture map.

Delete 34 of the horns
Delete 34 of the horns

Step 5

Select all the hand guard shapes and select Unwrap UVW from the Modifier List.

Select Unwrap UVW
Select Unwrap UVW

Step 6

Using the same process as what was done for the blade, Reset Peel and arrange the shapes within the square. Ensure all the objects are attached to one another.

Arrange UVs in the UVW Editor
Arrange UVs in the UVW Editor

Step 7

Convert the shapes back into an Editable Poly by selecting the blade and going Right Click > Convert to Editable Poly. Using the same process as what was done with the blade, use the Symmetry modifier to make the hand guard whole again.

Select symmetry from the menu
Select symmetry from the menu

Step 8

Ensure that the symmetry modifier gives you the correct results by choosing the right parameters. You can also apply Unwrap UVW modifier again to check the UVWs are placed on top of each other like the blade.

Delete half of the hand guard
Delete half of the hand guard

10. Unwrapping the Handle

Step 1

Select the middle section of the handle.

Select the middle section
Select the middle section

Step 2

Using the Vertex Selection tool, delete half of the handle.

Delete half of the handle
Delete half of the handle

Step 3

Repeat the same steps as above to remove half of the handle for all the objects.

Delete half of all the handle objects
Delete half of all the handle objects

Step 4

Ensure all the objects are attached to each other and apply the Unwrap UVW modifier.

Select Unwrap UVW from the menu
Select Unwrap UVW from the menu

Step 5

Using the same process as what was done for the blade and the hand guard, Reset Peel and arrange the shapes within the square. 

Arrange the UVs in the UVW Editor
Arrange the UVs in the UVW Editor

Step 6

Convert the shapes back into an Editable Poly by selecting the blade and going Secondary Click > Convert to Editable Poly

Using the same process as what was done with the blade and hand guard, use the Symmetry modifier to make the handle whole again.

Select Symmetry from the menu
Select Symmetry from the menu

Step 7

Ensure the symmetry modifier gives you the correct results by choosing the right parameters. You can also apply Unwrap UVW modifier again to check the UVWs are placed on top of each other like the blade.

Apply the symmetry modifier to the handle
Apply the symmetry modifier to the handle

11. Render UVW Map

Step 1

Attach all the objects together with Secondary Click > Attach, then apply the Unwrap UVW modifier.

Select Unwrap UVW fromt he menu
Select Unwrap UVW fromt he menu

Step 2

Open the UV Editor and ensure all the shapes are arranged within the square and are not overlapping each other. You can still edit them at this stage using the Move, Scale or Rotate tool.

Arrange the UVs in the UVW Editor
Arrange the UVs in the UVW Editor

Step 3

Once you are happy with the arrangement of the UVs go to Tools > Render UVW Template.

Select Render UVW Template
Select Render UVW Template

Step 4

Select the dimensions you would like to render the UV Map to and then click the Render UV Template button.

Edit dimensions to render the UV Map
Edit dimensions to render the UV Map

Step 5

Once the map has been generated, save it to a location using the save button on the top left hand corner of the window. 

Save the UV Map
Save the UV Map

12. Create Texture Map

Step 1

Import the UV map into Photoshop and create a new background layer below the UVs.

Import UV Map to Photoshop
Import UV Map to Photoshop

Step 2

You can make the UVs easier to see by changing the colour of the lines. To do this, right click on the UV layer and select Blending Options.

Select Blending Options
Select Blending Options

Step 3

Select Colour Overlay and choose a white colour.

Select Colour Overlay and choose white
Select Colour Overlay and choose white

Step 4

Create a new layer underneath the UVs and create a colour map so that you can select the shapes efficiently.

Create a colour map
Create a colour map

Step 5

Using the UVs and the colour map, create a new layer and create some base colours for the blade.

Create the base colours for the blade
Create the base colours for the blade

Step 6

On a separate layer, create some base colours for the handle.

Create the base colours for the handle
Create the base colours for the handle

Step 7

You can create a new layer on top of your base colours to create some details to the sword. You can add some highlights, cracks and battle damage to make it look more interesting.

Create some details for the texture map
Create some details for the texture map

Step 8

Once you are happy with the results, save your Texture Map as an image file.

Save the texture map
Save the texture map

13. Apply the Texture Map

Step 1

Ensure you have the sword selected and then click on the Material Editor button on the top menu bar.

Select the Material Editor
Select the Material Editor

Step 2

Once the Material Editor window appears go to Mode > Compact Material Editor.

Select the Compact Material Editor
Select the Compact Material Editor

Step 3

Select one of the spheres that you want the texture map to appear on and then click on the empty box next to Diffuse.

Select the Diffuse
Select the Diffuse

Step 4

Scroll up to the top of the Material/Map Browser and select Bitmap.

Choose bitmap from the menu
Choose bitmap from the menu

Step 5

Select the Texture Map image that was created in Adobe Photoshop.

Select the texture map
Select the texture map 

Step 6

Ensure the sword model is selected and then click on Assign Material to Selection and then click on Show Shaded Material in Viewport

Apply the texture map
Apply the texture map 

Step 7

This should apply the texture map to the 3D Sword Model.

The texture map has been applied to the sword model
The texture map has been applied to the sword model

Conclusion

And with that, the 3D Low Poly Sword is complete. Feel free to share the own creations below. Explore different objects, shapes and colours to find out what works best for your model.

You can also render the model and export it to Adobe Photoshop to create an image for your portfolio.

Final sword model including the texture map
Final sword model including the texture map

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