Sunday 11 December 2011

Texturing my X-Wing Ship

 Body and Wing Textures

For my X-wing I needed to texture individual parts of the ship so I couldn't directly use the materials editor to just project a texture on. I used the UVW unwrap modifier to achieve this, the UVW unwrap modifier essentially takes the selected faces of an object and displays them in a format that can be easily edited. To make things easier for myself I used multiple UVW maps, this way I could texture over the entire model bit by bit and the maps are much simpler to understand.

Below is a UVW map for the main body and the wings of the X-wing. There are various options for displaying the map under the 'Mapping' tab such as 'Normal' 'Flatten' and 'Unfold'. This map is flattened to show every edge if the body and wings.

The map then has to be rendered in order to be exported. This is what it will look like when saved as a JPEG. With this map of my ship I can start texturing it.

These are the two main textures I selected to use for these parts of the ship.

The first one is a light grey colour with small marks in it making it look uneven and worn like a ship would be.

Accessed 06/12/11 -

I picked this texture to use on the wings as they are made up of various colours and shapes giving the impression of electronics and parts that are inside the wings of the ship.

Accessed 10/12/11 -

Using Photoshop I imported the the UVW map as well as my textures. As you can see in the below image I simply cut shapes out of my textures and placed them over the shapes where I wanted that texture to go. One large problem I ran into was the fact that once the map was flattened I had no idea what came from where. For example the tops and bottoms of each wing looked identical to each other so I had no idea which was which. To solve this problem I started by placing texture onto just one wing and then loading it back in 3DS Max to check it. To load the map back in 3DS Max I used the Materials Editor to project the image directly back onto where it came from. I saved the map as a .PSD file so it could remain editable within Photoshop, A big advantage to putting textures on this way meant that I could keep adding bit by bit to the map and saving, then it would automatically be updated within 3DS Max as I was directly editing the source file.

Some of the smaller parts of the map such as the nose, cockpit window and rear of the ship needed different textures to the body and the wings but I felt that it was unnecessary to use created textures as they were such small parts, instead I just used colours to complete these parts.

When I was happy with what my map looked like I just saved it again and it automatically updated within 3DS Max. This is what the body and the wings looked like when textured:

Engine Textures

For the main engines I used the same technique to export the UVW Map from 3DS Max but as the engines were rounded objects I used 'Normal' mapping instead of 'Flatten' mapping because this would have created many edges to texture due to the rounded shape. Using the 'Normal' mapping gave me a nice simple view of the tops and bottoms of each engine.

This is the texture I selected for the engines. I picked it because it has a similar effect to the texture of the wings but its different enough to clearly separate them from each other.

 Accessed 10/12/11 -

As I just wanted the image wrapped around the engine it was just a matter of placing cut outs on top of each engine. Normally in situations like this I would just load the texture straight into the materials editor and project it on but in this case I wanted the detail to be small and repetitive so I chose to do it this way. If I had used the materials editor to directly put the image on it would have created a large stretched image around the engine.

This is what the engines looked like once I had applied the texture. It is possible to see the lines where the texture ends and connects back to the start of the texture but I felt it blends with the square jagged shapes enough not to worry about.

Gun Textures

As the guns were also rounded object I exported them in exactly the same was as the engines.

 This is the texture I selected for use on the guns. I was only keen to use the darker areas of the texture as they has the effect of buttons and a dark metal colour that you might find on a gun. So before applying the texture I used Photoshop to cut these areas.

Accessed 10/12/11 -

I then simply put these images on top of the guns on the UVW Map. Again I did it this way rather than directly through the Materials Editor so I could have more detail and keep things small.

and had kept with similar colours to the rest of the ship but with enough of a colour change to be able to spot the differences.

Robot Texture

For this UVW Map I exported the map for the 'Vertex' level of the modifier, This was because I simply needed a top down view of the sphere that I could texture from the inside out and it would automatically stretch the map back over it.

This didn't use any textures from the Internet I just layered various grey and blue filled circle shapes on top of each other and then erased sections of the blue to give the uneven effect that R2D2 has in the film.

When applying the map back to the shape the Materials Editor stretched the  map over the sop of the shape just like a hat.

This gave me my final fully textures X-Wing fighter.

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