Step 3: Unwrap the Arms and Hands

The biggest issue I have with Hicks' arms is his fingers. There's a lot going on there with all the joints and skin folds. However, because there won't be a whole lot of texture detail on them, and most of the hand will be covered by fingerless gloves, unwrapping and texturing it won't be too hard. We can simply split the arm down its length and divide the hand in half. Sound good? Well, if you were a movie producer and needed this character in your film, that wouldn't sound good at all. In fact, digital movie characters nowadays have every point of their UVs carefully mapped and placed across multiple maps, because extreme detail is of utmost importance. But, because nobody will notice the itsy bitsy finger detail in a video game, why bother?

1. Select the arm object and isolate it from the rest of the body using the Tools, Isolate Selection command. Then apply the Unwrap UVW modifier to the arm/hand object (see Figure

2. Select all the polygon faces for the arm from the wrist up with the Ignore Backfacing option disabled. Then deselect the object cap at the end of the arm where the elbow is. Create a seam running along the inside of the arm using the Point to Point Seam button (see Figure

Figure 5.23 The arm is selected, and a single seam is defined that runs along the arm.
Figure 5.22 Apply the Unwrap UVW modifier to the arm object.

3. Click on the Pelt button to apply a Pelt mapping, and then click on the Edit Pelt Map button to view the Stretcher. Click several times on the Simulate Pelt Pulling button in the Pelt Map Parameters dialog box to smooth out the Pelt map into a square section (see Figure 5.24)

Figure 5.24 Using a Pelt mapping, the forearm stretches out to a square.

4. Close the Pelt Map Parameters dialog box, and click the Pelt button to exit Pelt mapping mode. Then drag the UVs in the Edit UVWs window off to the side and out of the way (see Figure 5.25).

5. Add a seam that splits the hand in half into a palm side and the back of the hand. You can use the Point to Point Seam button to make a seam that runs up and down each finger and down the sides of the hand (see Figure 5.26).

Figure 5.25 Move the UVs for the arm out of the way in the Edit UVWs window.

6. With the seam in place, select all the faces in the hand object, and click the Exp. Face Sel to Pelt Seam button. This selects only one side of the hand along the seam (see Figure 5.27). If nothing happens, you have a gap in your seam. Zoom in close to the seam, and make sure it's complete.

7. With the faces selected, click the Pelt button followed by the Edit Pelt Map button. If you stretch the hand, the resulting finger UVs are pulled completely out of place. To maintain the basic shape of the hand, click on the Snap to Seams button in the Pelt Map Parameters dialog box. This makes the stretcher the same shape as the hand seams. Then scale the stretcher up, and click the Simulate Pelt Pulling button to stretch out the Pelt map (see Figure 5.28).

8. Drag over the remaining UVs in the Edit UVWs window to select the other half of the hand. Repeat step 7 for the opposite side of the hand, and drag the stretched UVs for the opposite side of the hand away from the other parts in the Edit UVWs window (see Figure 5.29).

9. Select all faces in the Edit UVWs window, and choose the

Figure 5.28 Use the Snap to Seams hand is Pelt maPPed just like the Palm'

button to make the Stretcher be the same shape as the hand.

Figure 5.28 Use the Snap to Seams hand is Pelt maPPed just like the Palm'

button to make the Stretcher be the same shape as the hand.

Tools, Pack UVs command to condense all the UVs together (see Figure 5.30).

10. We're done with one hand. Just repeat for the other hand. If you need to save texture space, attach both arm objects into the same object and stack the top parts of the two palms together as one piece, as well as the bottom parts. This way we can texture the top and bottom of the hand separately. You can stack the fingers in one clump.

Figure 5.30 The Edit UVWs window shows the packed arm and hand UVs.

That completes the arms. Just move the components away for now, and at the end, we'll organize the map neatly. Before you continue, save your file so that you won't lose your work. Now let's move on to the body portion of Hicks.

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Film Making

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