Just to keep the ball rolling …. I spent a little time this evening looking into UV unwrapping. I’ve never had to do anything this involved before. There’s no need for complex mapping when all you’re doing is planets and gaseous objects and the like.
There are different ways to go about colouring or texturing 3D meshes.
One way you can do it is by “sticking” a bitmap image onto the surface. But even with simple shapes, applying a 2D image to a 3D surface is going to result in some distortion. Imagine trying to glue a piece of paper all the way around an orange, and all the wrinkles you’d get. It’s impossible to do without cutting the paper.
It’s the same texturing a 3D model. You have to put in a bit of work to minimise distortions. The UnwrapUVW modifier in 3ds Max allows you to do this. UVs are basically coordinates that determine which part of a bitmap is applied to which part of a mesh. As you can see from the post image, the checker pattern is far from uniform. The aim is to get that pattern as uniform and undistorted as possible.
Here’s what the UnwrapUVW interface looks like now, before any editing ….
I watched this group of Autodesk tutorials as an introduction. I’ll apply the methods used in the final couple of tutorials to my firefly and post the results.