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More UV mapping bewilderment...HOW??

I was examining Carenado's Phenom 100 textures and realized that its fuselage is mapped almost the same way as JRollon's CRJ-200 (broken into sections and gracefully flattened out to get that "squashed" look, which I never figured out how to do before) so apparently this is a fairly common technique among aircraft modelers. I can get somewhat close by using the Relax tool on each section but it destroys my straight edges and distorts horribly most of the time. The thing I'm most confused about though is how the painter(s) managed to put any straight lines down the sides of the fuselage with the mapping like this. It gives me flashbacks to the Challenger 605 V1.0 days. :rolleyes:

I'm just trying to avoid going the PMDG route of planar-mapping the left/top/right/bottom sections and stretching them over 3 different texture sheets. It can cause visible seams between sections, plus it's a PAIN to paint on the parts whose borders are separated, like the tail cone and nose section...
 

Attachments

Hello

Agreed, nowadays I am struggling as you do to map some pieces. My head ache is the fuselage as well (hard to guess, is it not? :rolleyes:).
So, you have relaxed only the interior edges and that cause the whole mess. I can't figure out how to make it work; it seems to me that mapping requires
(more or less) the same work as modeling.

Distortion, unmatched edges, you name it; let's keep trying o_O o_O o_O

Have a nice day and good luck!
Sergio.
:wave:
 
Hello

Agreed, nowadays I am struggling as you do to map some pieces. My head ache is the fuselage as well (hard to guess, is it not? :rolleyes:).
So, you have relaxed only the interior edges and that cause the whole mess. I can't figure out how to make it work; it seems to me that mapping requires
(more or less) the same work as modeling.

Have you tested instead using planar-mapping a cylindrical approach? Experimenting with cylindrical mapping to do left/top/right/bottom was crossed my mind many times. Let's see if it works. o_O o_O o_O

Have a nice day and good luck!
Sergio.
:wave:
 

hairyspin

Resource contributor
... it seems to me that mapping requires
(more or less) the same work as modeling
Exactly right. Ozzy, what is the point of the Relax tool in mapping the Challenger? I'm puzzled, or is it a later-than-version-2008 Max feature? However, have you considered Cylindrical mapping, since the fuse is fairly cylindrical for most of it? You're using Max with all those lovely mapping tools, so put the thing to work: you can watch the effects of UVW editing in the main viewport as you go. I had good success using a chequered texture to keep lines straight while doing it, and in Gmax!
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
In Max, I just use left and right normal mapping and roll with that. Granted, it will distort panel lines and rivets near the boundaries on top and bottom of the fuselage, but that can in turn be solved with decals. The most important thing is that the painter won't have to fiddle with aligning logos, stripes, etc... across several pieces of the main texture.
 
I can never get Peel or Relax to work right. It is so unstable, yet the entire gaming industry uses it on everything (rounded). I use it on seats all the time, but on fuselages, it never works. Your stripe that is straight wound bend, etc.

Microsoft were doing this in their models. The Beechcraft Baron, the Cessna 172, they are bloated out like that. Whats cool is you only have 2 sides instead of 4. Whats bad is that everything is in arcs.

The only thing I can think is that they are using a tool to paint with that interacts with max... And there are many, expensive studio tools out there for painting models. Very nice, exotic stuff. I think Colin at Milviz might know of a couple of them.
 
Exactly right. Ozzy, what is the point of the Relax tool in mapping the Challenger? I'm puzzled, or is it a later-than-version-2008 Max feature? However, have you considered Cylindrical mapping, since the fuse is fairly cylindrical for most of it? You're using Max with all those lovely mapping tools, so put the thing to work: you can watch the effects of UVW editing in the main viewport as you go. I had good success using a chequered texture to keep lines straight while doing it, and in Gmax!
The Relax tool is just my "last resort" tool for flattening out pesky meshes. It works great on organic things, but when you need an accurate representation of something like a fuselage, prepare to be disappointed with the results.

Cylindrical mapping is great except for when it comes to noses and tail cones. If you align the cylinder's sides with your fuselage, those parts will look as if they're overlapping each other in UV space. I believe it's due to the center axis of the cylinder being above or below either of those sections.

In Max, I just use left and right normal mapping and roll with that. Granted, it will distort panel lines and rivets near the boundaries on top and bottom of the fuselage, but that can in turn be solved with decals. The most important thing is that the painter won't have to fiddle with aligning logos, stripes, etc... across several pieces of the main texture.
Good old normal mapping might be the way to go then. After all, it's going to be tougher for third party painters to do their work on surfaces that don't translate in a sensible way to the original model. I guess that it's worth sacrificing the top and bottom edges for the sake of manageability. Still, it would be neat to be able to put high resolution detail on the belly of the aircraft...
 
I find unwrapping in Blender easier, more intuitive than in Max/Gmax. I usually go with a standard "Unwrap" command, then align the UVs manually along vertical lines (simple scale = 0 operation on every edge loop). That way you have the same resolution on most of the fuselage (except belly and nose cone, which I separate from the rest anyway) whilst maintaining alignment for your panel lines and rivets. And yes, there is some work involved in creating a nice UV layout.



The big advantage is: Blender's unwrapping algorithm takes care of distortion all by itself. All you have to do is to place the seams on your mesh in a sensible way.
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
Still, it would be neat to be able to put high resolution detail on the belly of the aircraft...
Clone the belly or top polies, lift them from the original surface by 1 mm or so (or do some Z-Test experiments with materials), then assign a transparent material to them, normal map the polies from top and/or bottom (make sure to keep the scale!) and paint access hatches, rivets, etc onto the resulting texture map. Create an appropriate alpha channel and voilà, you just made yourself a decal map.
Granted, it's another material in the texture pipe, but it makes repainting the fuselage terribly easy while still featuring undistorted rivets and panel lines on top and bottom of the fuselage.

I've tried this technique on my 328 back in the day and it worked pretty well.

You'll probably have to jump through some hoops to get a bump map goin' for the "decal" polies, but it's no showstopper.
 

Paul Domingue

Resource contributor
I don't know how easily this can be done in gMax since I work in Max 9 but why not use multiple poly selects (something I learned form Bill L.) rather then cloning sections of polys? The fuselage or any other part for that matter can be broken down with the poly selects and each poly selection have a planar map (all maps need to be of the same scale for a single object) applied to it which can be manipulated with the gizmo. For instance you could take a cylindrical object and divide it into eight longitudinal sections with planar maps adjusted every 45 degrees (note that eight sections would only require four maps since each map can be used for opposites). When unwrapped each section then can be carefully aligned on the texture sheet so that a straight line drawn across them will fully encircle the cylinder connecting at both ends. How many sections you make will determine how much or how little texture stretching will occur. This method makes it fairly easy for a re-painter's work. Additionally any odd angled portions of the object can have there own planar maps set at an appropriate angle. This works quite well on modern composite type fuselages with flowing curves. The hardest part of doing this is making sure you have a correct poly total from all the sections without duplication or missing polys.
 
Clone the belly or top polies, lift them from the original surface by 1 mm or so (or do some Z-Test experiments with materials), then assign a transparent material to them, normal map the polies from top and/or bottom (make sure to keep the scale!) and paint access hatches, rivets, etc onto the resulting texture map. Create an appropriate alpha channel and voilà, you just made yourself a decal map.
Granted, it's another material in the texture pipe, but it makes repainting the fuselage terribly easy while still featuring undistorted rivets and panel lines on top and bottom of the fuselage.

I've tried this technique on my 328 back in the day and it worked pretty well.

You'll probably have to jump through some hoops to get a bump map goin' for the "decal" polies, but it's no showstopper.
I am starting to think like you lads, I was tearing my hairs to figure out how to do this effect on the nose of my helo and incredibly I had the same idea (without having any clue that this solution would be posted anywhere). Heretic, thanks for this confirmation!!! :wizard: :wizard: :wizard:

Cheers!!!
Sergio.
 

hairyspin

Resource contributor
... The hardest part of doing this is making sure you have a correct poly total from all the sections without duplication or missing polys.
Bill Leaming posted a great way of colour-coding these poly selections with material IDs: I call it the Harlequin method and shamelessly borrowed it for a tut series. Works great in Gmax too.


 
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Heretic

Resource contributor
I am starting to think like you lads, I was tearing my hairs to figure out how to do this effect on the nose of my helo and incredibly I had the same idea (without having any clue that this solution would be posted anywhere). Heretic, thanks for this confirmation!!! :wizard: :wizard: :wizard:
You're welcome!
 

Paul Domingue

Resource contributor
Bill Leaming posted a great way of colour-coding these poly selections with material IDs: I call it the Harlequin method and shamelessly borrowed it for a tut series. Works great in Gmax too.
I had played around with this idea and named selections in poly mode but when I couldn't set a material ID or call up named selections in the Poly Select modifier I gave up. Leave it to better minds then mine to come up with such an ingenious method. I'm always learning something here. Thanks to the Bills for the method and the tut. Now I'm off to make my own multi-material, hum.... bold colors of an oil painting or soft pastels of a water color??
 
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