3D Realisation – Unwrapping Models

Unwrapping a 3D model is the process of taking a model and translating it from 3D space to 2D space. The easiest way to visualise this process is to think of holding the object in your hand and cutting a seam through it to make a net. This is done in 3DS Max by using the “UVW Map” (UVW are used to identify axis in 2D space as XYZ are already used to identify axis in 3D space) modifier.

In my previous 3DS Max post, I showed a few models that I’d made with primitive 3D shapes (you can view these here). The next step in the process of learning how to use the software was to unwrap the box.

Box Unwrapped in 3DS Max

Box Unwrapped in 3DS Max

Above is an image demonstrating exactly what this looks like. notice how each part of the box is joined together (each line that connects with another face of the box is coloured white). This is achieved by stitching them together. You can do this by selecting the edges that you wish to stitch, right clicking and selecting “Stitch Selected”, as shown below.

Stich Selected Option

Stich Selected Option

Once this is completed, you can output a UVW Map which looks a little something like this.

UVW Map Example

UVW Map Example

It is then possible to take this map into image editing software (such as Photoshop) and apply textures to this map.

UVW Maps are important, as they tell a game engine exactly how a texture should be placed on a given model. There are however other ways to do this. Usage of UVW Maps is just one way.

Further to this, we were also tasked with unwrapping a 3D shape in real life using a Pencil, Paper and Scissors.

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3D Shapes – Unwrapping 1

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3D Shapes – Unwrapping 1

First of all, we were instructed to unwrap a few shapes by drawing them out on paper.

After this, we were tasked with picking one unwrapping that we had done. With this unwrapping, we had to cut it out and test that it correctly made the shape. My attempt was very good and was only missing one face.

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