Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Ninja Post #7 Texture Mapping

I've been working on my texture map for my Ninja. The first step was to UV map the model. UV mapping is a bit like backward engineering your model so that you end up with a flat template that if folded and bent in the right places would create a paper model of your character, it's also a bit like a dress makers pattern I suppose. The basic principle is to take a 2d image and wrap it round a 3d cg model.
Above you can see the finished map with a transparent wire frame overlay showing the position of the UVs. It's quite a time consuming and mind bending process to get the 3d model into a flattened state like this. In a similar way to working with a pattern for a dress or suit you get seams with UV mapping and it can be difficult to hide these seams where the characters geometry is split into sections as they form the join between different painted areas of the texture. It can lead to a patchwork effect if your not careful. The U and V of UV represent the 2 dimensions of the map, U for horizontal and V for vertical.
Most 3d software like Maya or 3d studio Max come with mapping tools such as Planar Mapping or Cylindrical Mapping. These tools help you lay out a 2d flattened map of your character that you can then take into photoshop and paint. The painted image is then saved as an image file like a jpeg or targa that can then be applied to the model. Above you can see the first steps I took after finishing my map. I started by blocking in the basic base colours.
 The above image here shows a slightly later version of the texture where I've sketched in more detail and started to put in in some highlights and shadows. Below is the finished texture on the model in bind pose. The texture was all hand painted using a digital tablet and Photoshop.
 Here are some more renders of the textured Ninja model in different poses from the animation set I'm working on. I 'm still hoping to use this model in a Ninja rampage where Ninja factions engage in a manic Ninja war with plenty of back flipping, somersaulting and shuriken chucking.

I'm pretty happy with how that turned out, if you want to see any of the images larger just click on them. When I get a chance I will post up some more animation progress.


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