In the previous tutorial we have went through the process of unwrapping organic models with 3ds max 2012. However in most cases, especially when dealing with simpler geometrical models there is a much easier way.
Part 1 – Unwrap with Flatten Mapping
Download and open this simple 3d model (max 2012 format).
Let’s start by applying an Unwrap uvw modifier to it.
In sub-object mode choose “face” and select all the polygons of the object.
Open the UV editor, go to the mapping drop-down menu and select Flatten Mapping and click “ok” (without changing any parameters).
With all the generated clusters still selected click on “rescale elements” under the “Arrange elements” menu. This will correctly re-scale each cluster in relation to the others.
The automatic unwrapping looks good but we still have to do some manual adjustments.
In order to paint the UVW layout in photoshop easier, we will have to stitch some clusters together.
We will start by stitching the clusters of cylindrical part. Select the 2 vertices like in the screen capture bellow
As you can see, after having made the selection, 2 other vertices turned blue. That means that those 2 clusters should be stitched together. Move the 2 clusters outside the square area and position them so that the 2 vertices initially selected overlap the other 2 blue vertices (like in the picture bellow)
Now select all 4 vertices and go to “tools” drop-down menu and click weld selected.
At this point the green line between the 2 clusters should turn white, which means that they are now stitched in a single one.
At this point you could repeat the step above to stitch the rest of the clusters. However, there is an even easier way to do it.
Select the edge from the newly created cluster like in the screen capture bellow and look for a line that turned blue in one of the other clusters.
Now hold Ctrl and select the blue edge as well. Go to tools and choose “stitch selected”.
This is the method that you will use in 99% of the situations but I wanted to go through the process of welding the vertices as well just in case you will need to go that way for some reason.
Now repeat the previous step to stitch all the clusters that form the cylindrical part.
Note: Even though we have used the rescale elements command, it does not always work perfectly, so you might need to do some minor tweaks to each cluster before welding the vertices.
That’s about it. Your should end up with a UVW layout similar to the one bellow:
Part 2 Manual unwrapping
In this part of the tutorial we will go through another way of unwrapping geometry, using quick planar maps.
Reset 3ds max and in a new file create a simple chamfer box.
Add an UVW unwrap modifier, select all the faces and try a Flatten Mapping (like we did in the previous part).
As you can see the geometry is split into clusters but there are quite a lot of small clusters that would need to be manually stitched.
Depending on how many of these little patches you get, it may become very time consuming to manually attach them to the main clusters.
Fortunately, there is another way to do it.
In the “Channel” menu, click on Reset UVWs.
In the “face” sub-object mode select the faces like I did in the screen capture bellow:
In the “Projection” menu, click planar (select z in this case) and open the UV editor.
Click on “planar” again to deactivate it and move the cluster away.
Repeat the same step for the opposite side of the chamfer box.
Now select the polygons on the right side like in the image bellow, use a planar projection map again and detach it from the rest.
Repeat the steps above for the remaining faces, arrange them in the square area (you can use move and rotate without any problems but when you use scale, use it on all the elements at once).
The final uvw layout should look similar to the one bellow: