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Essential Blender 10 UV and Painting Tutorial

Essential Blender 10 UV and Painting Tutorial

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Published by Ahmad Musaffa

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Published by: Ahmad Musaffa on Jan 12, 2009
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07/12/2011

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Chapter 10: UV Unwrapping and Painting: TutorialBy ModronThe process of UV Mapping a mesh is very much like taking a physical paper model of an object, cutting it invarious places, and flattening it onto a table. Once that is done, photographs can be fastened to it, or it canbe painted directly. Then, the flattened paper is reassembled into its original 3D configuration. In UVMapping in Blender, mesh models are cut and unwrapped into a flat UV Editor window where textures andimages are applied. Of course, because this is 3D graphics, you can do other cool things once you have thisbasic procedure down, such as painting directly on your model in the 3D view and baking lighting andtexturing information for later use.Although there are several methods for unwrapping mesh objects, Blender's automated unwrapper doessuch an excellent, easy job that it's the one we'll cover.In this tutorial, you'll unwrap an organic shape using Blender's live unwrapping feature, and do some texturepainting in the UV window.Unwrapping an Organic ShapeBefore you begin, either run Blender or, if it's already running, start a new session with Ctrl-X. When thedefault screen appears, use the MMB to split the 3D view into two separate windows (see Chapter 2 if youneed a reminder of how to do this). Then, change the right hand 3D view into a UV/Image Editor windowusing the Window Type icon menu on the far left of the header.The default screen, with the 3D view split and set to a UV/Image Editor window.
 
 You could unwrap the default cube, but that would be boring. RMB select it, and get rid of it (X-key). Youneed something worthwhile to unwrap, so go into a front view (Numpad-1) and add Suzanne to your sceneby choosing Add->Mesh->Monkey from the spacebar toolbox. (Suzanne is the pet name of Blender's defaultMonkey primitive.) If you know how from the Mesh Modeling chapter, you can Set Smooth on Suzanne andadd a Subsurf modifier (Shift-O) so she looks a little nicer.Defining Seams, or How the Mesh Will Be CutThe Suzanne mesh is added in Edit mode, which is what you want. If the mesh you are working on is not inEdit mode, use the Tab-key to get there. Imagine for a moment that Suzanne is made out of a skin of rubber, or fabric, and the idea will be to make cuts in a way that the surface could be laid out flat, withminimal stretching or bunching.The main consideration is to place the seams in areas that will create "islands" of faces where continuousdetail will be needed. If there is going to be a highly visible area with lots of detail or a smooth gradient, youdo not want to put a seam there. Seams should be placed in unobtrusive areas, as though you were aplastic surgeon trying to hide your cuts.To make a seam, select an edge and press Ctrl-E. From the Edge Specials menu that pops up, choose"Mark Seam." Any edges marked as seams will display with twice the thickness of a normal mesh edge, andwill be a dark orange in color. Seams that are mistakenly marked can be cleared with the "Clear Seam"option in the Ctrl-E menu.In the illustrations below, you can see where we have chosen to set seams on the Suzanne model. Reallythough, you can make your seams wherever you like. We encourage you to experiment with different seamplacements later to get a feel for how unwrapping works. For now, though, try to at least approximate theconfiguration in the illustrations, so that the rest of the tutorial follows what you are doing. One thing to keepin mind while making selections for seams is that Edge Select mode and Alt-RMB Edge Loop select can bevery useful.

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