Step 2: Unwrap the Legs

Next we'll move onto the legs and the pelvis region. The legs are symmetrical, but the items around Hick's utility belt are different on each side, so we'll need to create a separate mapping for the pelvis region. Let's start by getting the legs unfolded and stashed away. Here we have the option of symmetrically stacking the legs for texturing or texturing each one separately. For this character and Hicks' utility belt, we'll keep the legs separate. This uses up some of the precious texture space, but it gives us a chance to add different details to each leg.

1. Select the legs body part and apply the Unwrap UVW modifier; then select the Face subob-ject mode. With the legs selected, choose the Tools, Isolate Selected command to zoom in on Hicks' legs. Then click the Lasso Selection tool. In the Command Panel, disable the Ignore Backfacing option so that your selection will include faces on the other side of the model, too. Draw a selection completely around the leg (see Figure 5.12).

Figure 5.12 Use the Lasso tool with the Ignore Backfacing option disabled to select one of Hicks' legs.

2. With the leg faces selected, click on the Point to Point Seam button, and define a seam that circles the top and bottom of the leg and runs down the inseam (see Figure 5.13).

Figure 5.13 Pelt seams are defined along the top and bottom of the leg and along the inseam.

3. Click on the Pelt button in the Command Panel. This adds a Planar gizmo to the scene. Rotate, manipulate, and position the Planar gizmo so that it runs the length of the leg (see Figure 5.14). The easiest way to do this is to click the Best Align button.

Figure 5.14 Rotate and position the Planar gizmo to run the length of the leg.

Remember that anything we do to the texture points in this program does not physically affect the vertices of the mesh model. We're only messing with the model's texture coordinates, which, before unwrapping, represent a 1:1 correspondence with the mesh's vertices.

4. Click the Edit Pelt Map button to open the stretcher for the Pelt mapping. Click several times on the Simulate Pelt Pulling button to stretch out the Pelt mapping UVs (see Figure 5.15). This stretches the entire selected leg except for the kneepad and shin area. Close the Pelt Mapping Parameters dialog box to hide the stretcher. Click the Pelt button to exit Pelt mode, and drag the UVs in the Edit UVWs window to the side, away from the rest of the UV faces.

Figure 5.15 Stretch out the Pelt mapping in the Edit UVWs window.

5. Click on the Exp. Face Sel to Pelt Seams button. This selects the kneepad and shins that weren't stretched. With these UVs selected, drag them away from the rest of the leg (see Figure 5.16). Then select and separate the UVs for the bottom edge of the leg.

6. Repeat steps 2 and 5 for the opposite leg, so that the UVs

Figure 5.16 Select and drag the kneepad and shin objects away from the rest of the leg.

Figure 5.16 Select and drag the kneepad and shin objects away from the rest of the leg.

for the opposite leg are also separated from the rest of the UVs (see Figure 5.17).

If two objects are symmetrical, you can match the UVs on top of one another so that you can use a single texture for both objects. This saves texture space, which can quickly use the available memory for a game.

Figure 5.17 Repeat for the other leg.

7. Select the faces that make up the flashlight on the left hip, and apply a Pelt mapping. Then stretch out the mapping and use the Exp. Face Sel to Pelt Seams button to select and separate the cylinder at the end of the flashlight. With the cylinder selected, choose the Mapping, Unfold Mapping method. Then scale down the cylinder to be fairly small (see Figure 5.18).

Figure 5.18 Unwrap the flashlight object, including the cylinder positioned on its front.

8. Repeat step 7 for the first aid kit on the back left hip of Hicks (see Figure 5.19).

9. Select all the remaining UVs in the Edit UVWs window. Then add the seams along the top of the pelvis and down the outer left leg along the flashlight, and create a Pelt mapping. Split the pelvis into two parts, and create a Pelt mapping for each half (see Figure 5.20).

Figure 5.19 You can also unwrap the first aid kit independent from the rest of the pelvis.

10. After you've mapped the entire lower body, select all the UVs and choose the Tools, Pack UVs command to consolidate all the UVs into the texture area. Then move through the UVs and separate any overlapping vertices to clean the overall map (see Figure 5.21).

Figure 5.20 The remaining faces are split into two halves of the pelvic region.


If at any point you try to relax your cut selection and something out of the ordinary happens (for instance, the selection suddenly becomes enormous), something is wrong with the mesh of the object. The only thing you can do is return to 3ds Max and fix the problem. Usually the problem is something as simple as an open face, an isolated vertex that's attached to nothing, or something similar. Just zoom close to the mesh, and you'll usually see the problem.

Figure 5.21 Pack and clean up all the UVs to make them easy to texture.

Figure 5.19 You can also unwrap the first aid kit independent from the rest of the pelvis.

This concludes the leg. I think the most valuable portion of all of it was fixing the mesh. Kinda cool, yes? Now, normally I'd just say, "Repeat for the arms." However, our character's arms are quite different from those of other characters, so we'll do that next. It would also be a good idea to save your file so that you won't lose your work. Oh, and if you wanna take a little break to stretch your own legs, go ahead. I'll wait.

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