The Flatten Mapping method of procedural mapping applies planar maps to groups of contiguous faces that fall within a specified angle threshold. It prevents overlap of mapping clusters, but can still cause texture distortion. The Flatten Mapping dialog lets you control how clusters are defined and mapped.
The Normal Mapping method of procedural mapping applies planar maps based on different vector-projection methods. It is the most straightforward method, but can result in even greater texture distortion than with . The Normal Mapping dialog lets you control how clusters are defined and mapped.
is useful for mapping organic models such as characters and creatures. This feature gives you a special editor with a virtual stretcher and springs that let you easily “pull” a complex UVW map flat. The result more closely approximates the actual shape of the object than other mapping methods, making it easier to create convincing texture maps.
The Render UVs dialog, part of the , lets you export a model's texture mapping data as a template; a bitmapped image file. you can then import this template into a 2D paint program, apply color as needed, and then bring it back into 3ds Max as a texture map to apply to the model. The exported file looks like a screen shot of the editor window, but without any background texture, and has the added options of setting color and alpha options for both the edges and the area they cover.
If you need to match a contiguous selection of texture vertices to an outline in a bitmap, whether an irregular shape, a straight line, or a geometric shape, you can use the Sketch tool to perform the operation quickly, rather than dragging the vertices one at a time.
is useful for mapping curved objects with a cylindrical cross-section, such as a snake or tentacle, as well as curved flat surfaces such as a winding road. This feature lets you use any spline to specify mapping on a mesh surface, as well as manipulate the mapping gizmo via cross-sections for greater accuracy. The result more closely approximates the actual shape of such objects than other mapping methods, making it easier to create convincing texture maps.
After you've separated your object's UVW coordinates into clusters, either manually or using one of the automatic tools on the , you can use the Stitch tool to recombine specific clusters by merging corresponding edges.