In Part 4, we’ll continue mapping the remaining parts of the jeep. This lesson will cover creating UVs for the seats, handles, dials and steering wheel. By this stage you should feel much more comfortable with Modo’s unwrapping workflow and toolset, so let’s continue.
This tutorial will teach you how to unwrap a hard surface model. For that we will use the model from my previous “Modeling a High Poly World War II Willys Jeep in Modo” tutorial. We will unwrap the Willys jeep using the default Modo tools and the ETEREA UV tools which are a great addition to the Modo toolset.
For most people unwrapping is a tedious task. When you grasp the idea and learn the tools the process will become easy and comfortable. Modo helps in making the process smooth and painless. It gives you only a few tools, but they can easily get the job done. I hope that after you complete this tutorial you’ll understand the UVing process and will feel more comfortable unwrapping.
1. Mapping the Seats
As you can see in the image below, we are close to the end of the UVMapping on the Willys Jeep model. First up, I will show you how to unwrap the seats. I will only go through one of them, since the they are virtually the same.
Add a UV Map and name it body, just as we did before. As you can see all the seats are a single object.
Let’s hide all the geometry in the scene, except for one of the front seats. Here I’ve selected the cushions, and added UVs to them by running the UV Projection Tool with Atlas as a projection type. The Unwrap is pretty solid, but we get a lot of unnecessary seams.
With box like shapes, you can always unwrap them as shown in the picture below. One shell with seams at the corners, and three of the longer edges. For this one, I selected the edges as shown in the image, and ran the Unwrap Tool. As you can see, the shell is a bit distorted though.
Let’s run the UV Relax tool. I used Unwrap mode, with around 200 iterations.
We will do the same for the upper cushion. Just define the edge selection, and run the Unwrap Tool again.
A bit of Relaxing and we get a very clean unwrap.
Scale the two cushions in UV window to more or less match the checker scale.
Isolate the bar running around the cushions. Here I used Project from View to add UVs to the geometry.
Since this bar is built from two feet (a box like shape) and a pipe like part, we will split them into two simple shapes. Select the feet geometry and isolate them.
We will break them into main planes. I could have made the selection less strict and use the Unwrap Tool. I know that the unwrap won’t work well if I do, the object is too irregular in shape. Instead I selected the edges shown in the image, to break the object into main planes.
After running the Unwrap Tool, I get a bunch of separate shells. So let’s stitch them together.
Selected one of the feet in the 3d viewport, and move the corresponding shells down.
First let’s stitch them into three shells as shown in the image, using the sewing tools we used earlier (choosing Selected/Unselected depends on your selection, by now you should be using these tools freely).
I sewed the side planes by selecting only two edges from each side.
As you can see the shells overlap. We will fix this by introducing some distortion. We could leave it to Modo, by stitching the whole side edge loop. It would distort our shell to compensate for the UV distortion. But I want to have nice 90 degree angles in my shells though.
To fix the overlapping, select the vertices shown in the image. Be sure you don’t have any action center selected. You can use different action centers if you like. For example, you can use Element like we did before. Then you could snap the rotating gizmo to the vertex highlighted in blue. But since we don’t need that much precision here, I just clicked on the vertex (blue) with the Rotation Tool activated, just to show that you can move the gizmo with no action center selected.
Now Rotate the vertices around this point. Below you can see how it should look.
Let’s now use an Averaged sewing method on the selected edges.
Below you can see the distortion we introduced into this element. It’s really minor, but if you want, you can try Relaxing specific vertices to get something a bit better. Taking into consideration the scale (size) of this element, decide if you think it’s worth it.
Unhide the rest of the geometry. As you can see, the parts we just Unwrapped are huge.
Scale them down, so you don’t have a huge size difference. Now we will tackle the framing running around the seat. I will unwrap it using the UV Peeler.
First isolate this piece of geometry and select the edge loop running along the bar. I choose the edge loop facing down, so the seam won’t be visible.
Now activate the UV Peeler.
Once again by using the blue ‘+‘ signs, work on the proportions in the UV window until the checker pattern looks OK. It won’t look perfect, you’ll see some skewing. Unwrapping this part in a single shell won’t give us a perfect result.
You can improve the unwrap, by breaking the shell on the corners. It will give you more shells and more seams, and it’s also easier to texture one shell. So you have to see what will work for you. It also depends on how much detail you want to put into this element. But be aware, more detail will make the distortion easier to spot.
Below you can see how I have broken this shell. I selected the top part of the tube, and moved it with the Tear Off option checked.
I relaxed the shells with Adaptive relaxing. You can see the checker pattern looks much better now, but the shells look worse.
I also straightened the edges, as we did in the previous parts of the tutorial, using the ETEREAS palette.
Unhide the rest of the seat geometry (besides the bolt holding the seat to the car’s main body, we won’t unwrap that yet.) Using Pack UVs, unify the scale. I didn’t use Orient here, because I was pretty happy with the shell’s orientation.
Unhide the rest of the model to be able to compare the checker’s scale. Scale down any shells to match the overall size. Remember that we will use Pack UVs later, to make the scale more consistent (it won’t create a mess when the scale is more or less similar.)
2. Mapping the Accessories and Handles
Now let’s jump to the box below the car. Here I just used Atlas projection and Modo broke this boxy shape into several planes. Just sew some of them together, and be sure the seam is hidden.
Scale this shell down and move it away.
The next element is a handle. I will show how I approach this element. By doing so you will be able to unwrap the rest of the handles on this model.
Below you can see the selection I used for the Unwrap Tool. If you are comfortable with how the tool works, you can easily predict the results by looking at the selection. Try to look at the main shapes of the element. For this one, it’s a tube and two boxy shapes.
Since there is some distortion on the corner of the tube, I relaxed it a bit.
I also oriented the shell horizontally, and straightened edges (only the horizontal ones.)
And that’s it… The Unwrap Tool will often be enough, if you choose good edges for the seams. Just as before, Scale it down and move it away.
3. Mapping the Steering Wheel
Let’s jump to the steering wheel. First let’s unwrap the bolt on top of the steering wheel. Notice I deleted the geometry which is seated inside other geometry. You can’t see it, and there is no point in wasting UV space for those polygons. To flatten it, I just selected the two objects and ran the Unwrap Tool. As you can see, the result is a bit distorted.
Adaptive relaxing made this unwrap a bit more consistent. As you can see, it’s not perfect but it’s easy to texture. The object is so small, it’s really not worth creating fancy UVs.
Let’s continue by selecting the top cap and using the Unwrap Tool. Hide the geometry you have already UV’d.
Select the other caps, and use the Unwrap Tool to quickly unwrap them and then hide the geometry. This is a good way of unwrapping more complex objects. Unwrap the simpler shapes first, and then hide them.
The next simplest shapes are the two cylinders. Again I used the Unwrap Tool with Planar mode. If your result isn’t as clean, just mess around with the Pinning Axis and Projection Axis. Depending on the orientation of your model, you may get different results.
The final simple shape is the cylindrical part to which the steering wheel connects to. To flatten it, just define a vertical seam and run the Unwrap Tool.
Now let’s tackle the final part. This part is pretty complex, but once again you can think of it as three boxes and a tube. Unfortunately the boxes aren’t that regular in shape. So I started with the selection you see below and ran the Unwrap Tool, which separated the boxy shapes from the tube. It also broke them each into four main planes. The wheel itself doesn’t have any specific edge selection, which would help when unwrapping.
So hide those boxy parts. Select edges as shown in the image, and use the Unwrap Tool again . It should give you three nicely unwrapped shells.
I then Relaxed them using Adaptive mode , to get a better result.
You can now sew the edges (marked below) and create one long shell.
The vertices where I stitched the shells were still a bit wonky. Remember you can always select specific vertices and relax them separately.
Lets use the Pack UVs feature now, to unify the scale and sort the shells.
Using ETEREAS tools, you can align them better, but for now I just matched the scale to the rest of the model, and moved them away. I will align them when we pack this whole model into 0-1 space.
4. Mapping the Bolts and Dials
Now let’s tackle the bolt I mentioned before. It’s obvious you won’t need to unwrap each bolt separately. The best workflow for such things, is to unwrap one or two bolts and then place them on the model. By using overlapping UVs, you can texture one or two bolts and then copy them all over your model. You don’t need that much variation in your bolt textures, so if you texture two unique bolts, it actually gives you four variations, because you can use both sides of each bolt.
Unwrapping a part like this is really straight forward. Just use Atlas Projection or the Unwrap Tool, and sew some parts.
Now let’s jump back inside the jeep. With the dials you can do something similar. You can model one dial and unwrap it, then duplicate it and just scale it down. By doing so, you won’t have to unwrap five versions of the same part. Since you want different things on your dials when you texture them, you will need to move the UV shells so they don’t overlap.
For the dial, the Unwrap Tool + the UV Relax will do. There is no need to break it into a series of cylindrical stripes which go around the shape, because the distortion is unnoticeable.
Here I have moved all five of the unwrapped dials outside the 0-1 space. Later you might want to scale these dials up, since they might need more resolution for the detail you want to put on them. Or you can also use a separate UV map and texture for them.
The next part we will unwrap will be the reflective part at the back of the body.
Using the Sharp… edges selection, you can quickly select the edges for the Unwrap Tool. It won’t be able to cut the cylindrical planes though.
You can add a few edges to the selection, to allow the Unwrap Tool to flatten those.
Just like many times before, just align and pack the shells. Then Scale them down and move them away.
5. Mapping the Petals and Gearshift
Now we need to unwrap the pedals and gear shifting stick. Let’s start with the pedals. I selected the sharp edges using the automatic method and used the Unwrap Tool. The UVs are pretty flat, but we most definitely need fewer shells.
Isolate the main pedal geometry, and define the selection like in the image below. (It’s the same selection I used for the previous box like shapes.)
Below you can see the final unwrap. It seems like the jump between the previous and current layout is huge, but if you look closely, I didn’t skip too much though. The four top shells belong to the pedal (the first from the left in the 3D viewport.) Just two shells for the polygons running around the pedal, and two shells for top and bottom.
Then there are two shells I got from the previous step. Then finally we have four shells for the part on which the pedal sits. But where did the caps of this part go? I deleted them. There is no reason to keep them. Also the geometry that is not selected in the 3D viewport, is just duplicated polygons with overlapping UVs. As you can see, I didn’t do anything new. Just old tricks used the right way.
The final element for this part of the tutorial will be the stick. First I used Project from View, just to give it some UV information. Sometimes it’s easier to start from something, than from blank UV space.
Here you can see the selection I defined for the Unwrap Tool. The top ball is split horizontally in two. The stick itself is just a bent cylinder, but those UVs are pretty messy though.
Relaxing those gave me a bit better of a result. But I’m still not happy with the shape of the base of the stick.
Lets use the Uv Projection Tool with Cylindrical as the Projection Type. As you can see, it treated this part as a cylinder and filled the 0-1 space.
Let’s Scale this piece down. You can see the UVs are now pretty solid, but they get worse where this part tapers.
To fix this, select the top polygon loop and move it up. By doing so, you’ll give the loop below it a bit more space. Move it up and down and watch how the checker pattern changes.
Do the same for the top edge loop.
Also straighten the stick’s vertical edges (horizontal in the UV window), and pack those pieces together.
Just like before, match the scale of the checker pattern with the rest of the model and move the shells away.
That’s it for this part. We got almost everything unwrapped. I will unwrap the rest of the main shapes like the seats or handles, so I can show you packing with more parts.
In next part of the tutorial, we will unwrap the wheel onto it’s own UV map. We’ll also pack this whole model into the 0-1 space, which will conclude our unwrapping in Modo tutorial.
Thank you for reading this tutorial. If you have any questions leave a comment or write me an email.