The Unwrap UVW modifier
lets you assign mapping coordinates to sub-object selections, and
to edit the UVW coordinates of those selections. You can also use
it to unwrap and edit existing UVW coordinates on an object. Maps
can be adjusted to the proper fit on a Mesh, Patch, Polygon, HSDS,
or NURBS model.
The Unwrap UVW modifier
can be used as a self-contained UVW mapper and UVW coordinate editor,
or in conjunction with the
Map modifier. If you use Unwrap UVW in
conjunction with the UVW Map modifier, it is usually so you can
use a mapping method unavailable in Unwrap UVW, such as Shrink Wrap.
You can animate UVW coordinates by turning on the Auto Key button
and transforming the coordinates at different frames.
After applying the
Unwrap UVW modifier, open mapping edges, or seams, appear on the
modified object in the viewports. This helps you visualize the locations
of mapping clusters on the object surface. You can toggle this feature
and set the line thickness with the
Open UVW mapping edges
(seams) shown on head model in viewport
Self-Contained Mapper and
UVW Coordinate Editor
Rather than creating
a large modifier stack by first making a sub-object selection of
faces and then adding a UVW Map modifier to specify the type of
mapping, you can use the Unwrap UVW modifier to do both. You can select
sub-object vertices, edges, or faces/patches, store sub-object selections as
named selections, map them using planar and other methods, and then edit
the UVW coordinates for each sub-object selection, all from within
the Unwrap UVW modifier. For example, to map a character's face
using three planar maps, you could create three sub-object selections
of the front and sides of the face, planar-map the selections individually,
and then edit the UVW coordinates for each selection, all without
leaving the Unwrap UVW modifier.
Support for Multiple Unwrap Objects
in Unwrap UVW make it easy to map a texture across several objects.
You simply make your selection and then apply Unwrap UVW. When you
open the editor, you’ll see the mapping coordinates for all selected
objects containing the instanced modifier. The editor shows each
color so you can distinguish the different
Left: Two objects’
UVW coordinates in the editor, showing wireframe colors.
Right (inset): The
objects with a shared Unwrap UVW modifier in the viewport.
TipThe UVWs of different
objects typically start out in the same location in the editor,
so it’s a good idea to separate them before editing. To save time,
use the Pack UVs function on the Tools menu.
What Happens to Existing
When you apply the Unwrap
UVW modifier, it stores the object's current mapping coordinates
in the modifier. If the object has no mapping coordinates, the modifier
creates new ones by applying planar mapping. If the incoming data
on the stack is a face-level or polygon-level sub-object selection,
then only the UVWs for the selected faces are brought into the modifier,
and the modifier's sub-object levels are unavailable.
When the modifier is
evaluated, its UVWs are reassigned to the object flowing down the
pipeline. So if the UVWs upstream are changed, the changes won't
make it past the Unwrap UVW modifier. If the Unwrap modifier is
operating on a selection of faces, then upstream changes to unselected faces
will still be able to flow past the Unwrap modifier.
Native Support for HSDS,
Polygon Object, and Patch mapping
Unwrap UVW supports polygon
faces and Bezier quad and tri patch faces in addition to triangles
Below is a sample of
what the various face types look like based on the incoming type.
For HSDS and Poly surfaces, the basic interface remains the same,
except that the maximum number of sides per polygon increases from
4 to over two billion. HSDS supports only one level of detail: the
level at which the mapping was. Patches have handles on nonlinear
vertices. These handles work just like regular patch handles.
Faces from HSDS and
Poly surfaces; handles appear for nonlinear vertices
not its primary purpose, you can use the Unwrap UVW modifier to
freeze UVWs. You can apply mapping after an animated deformation
and have the mapping stick to the object. For example, you can apply Unwrap
UVW above a Morpher modifier in the modifier stack, apply planar maps
and edit the UVW coordinates. The mapping will follow the morphing geometry.
To use Unwrap UVW with the standard mapping methods:
This procedure offers
a general overview of using the basic Unwrap UVW tools available
on the Modify panel and the
UVWs dialog. Unwrap UVW provides many
additional tools not described in this procedure, particularly in
For procedures detailing
other mapping methods available with Unwrap UVW, see
use Pelt mapping and
use Spline mapping.
- Apply the modifier and a texture-mapped
material to an object. Set the material to display in the viewports,
set at least one viewport to be shaded (for example, press F3 to toggle between Wireframe and
Smooth+Highlights), and, if necessary, turn off Shade Selected Faces
(press F2) for that
viewport so the texture mapping is visible.
- Go to the Face sub-object level of the
Unwrap modifier and make a selection of contiguous faces. You'll
use a single mapping type on this selection.
Within the single modifier,
you can apply as many different mappings as you like to different
- Name the face selection using the
Named Selection Sets function
on the main toolbar. This makes it easy to return to the selection
set in the viewports for subsequent mapping adjustments. For example,
if you're working on a house, you could use names such as roof.
ImportantBe sure to press Enter after typing the selection
NoteNaming each face
selection set isn’t strictly necessary, but it is highly recommended.
- On the Map Parameters rollout, click
the appropriate mapping type button (Planar, Box, etc.) and then
adjust the gizmo using any combination of the transform tools (Move,
Rotate, Scale) in the viewports and the Align buttons (Align X,
etc.) on the Map Parameters rollout.
TipYou can often save time by starting with
the Best Align command and then adjusting manually from there.
After each adjustment
of the mapping gizmo, the texture display in the viewports updates
to reflect the mapping changes, as do the green seam lines on the
object that show where the open edges lie (depending on the object
shape and mapping type; the seam lines don't change with Planar
mapping). To cause the viewports to update in real time, turn on Edit
You can also open the
editor (Parameters rollout Edit)
to view the changes in the generated texture coordinates as you
adjust the gizmo.
- Click the mapping type button again to
turn it off and exit mapping for this face selection.
- Continue making and naming selections
and applying mapping until the entire mesh is mapped. Use the green
seam display lines as a guide. If you don't see them, make sure
Parameters rollout Display
Map Seam is on.
- Open the
dialog (Parameters rollout Edit).
By default, the editor
displays a checkered background. To view the map in the material
on the object, you need to change a setting.
- At the right end of the editor upper
toolbar, click the drop-down list that currently reads CheckerPattern
(Checker) and choose the map that's applied to the material.
The map appears as the
By default, all the UVW
clusters display. To work on one cluster at a time, you need to
filter the UVWs.
- On the Edit UVWs dialog lower toolbar, click (Filter
At this point, the editor
shows only faces you select in the viewport, and hides the rest.
You can select faces to show directly in the viewport, or choose
a named selection set. In the next step, you'll use the latter method.
- On the main toolbar, open the Named Selection
Sets drop-down list, and choose one of your named selection sets.
The viewports show the
selection as active, and the UVW coordinates for the selection appear
in Edit UVWs window.
- In the Edit UVWs window, select
and move a UVW face.
In the viewports, the
texture slides around the selected portion of the object mesh.
- Choose a different selection set and
edit its UVW coordinates.
Again, the viewport display
reflects the editing changes.
- In a viewport, drag to select a group
of faces by region.
The faces' UVW coordinates
display in the Edit UVWs window. This is another way of choosing
what you want to work on.
As you can see, from
within the Unwrap UVW modifier you can assign multiple mapping types
to different, optionally named face selections, and then edit the
UVW coordinates to fine-tune map placement on the geometry.
To perform quick planar mapping:
You'll find the Quick
Planar Map controls on the Map Parameters rollout of the Unwrap
- Apply Unwrap UVW to an object.
- Go to the Face sub-object level.
- Select the faces to map.
The Quick Map gizmo appears
juxtaposed over the face selection, showing the default Averaged
- If you prefer a different orientation
for the mapping, choose X, Y, or Z.
- Click Quick Planar Map to apply the mapping.
To map additional faces, proceed from step 3.
Example: To restore the original mapping
coordinates after swtiching to a non-default channel:
An object contains 99
different sets of texture coordinates; each mapping modifier controls
one of these. When you change the Unwrap UVW modifier Map Channel
setting, 3ds Max copies the texture coordinates from the previous
channel. If you want to use the original coordinates stored in the
channel it’s necessary to reset the coordinates to restore them
from lower on the modifier stack or from the object’s internal mapping
- Add a box primitive to the scene.
- Apply a
UVW Map modifier
and set Mapping to Cylindrical.
Note Map Channel is set
to 1 by default.
- Apply a second UVW Map modifier, set
Map Channel to 2, and set Mapping to Spherical.
- Add an Unwrap UVW modifier (note Map
Channel is set to 1 by default) and click Edit on the Parameters
Note the cylindrical
mapping coords, inherited from the UVW Map modifier in step 2.
- On the Parameters panel, set Map Channel
The mapping in the editor
doesn't change because the modifier copied the cylindrical mapping
coordinates from channel 1, thus replacing the spherical coordinates
from the second UVW Map modifier (from step 3).
- On the Parameters panel, click Reset
The spherical mapping
coordinates are recovered from the second underlying UVW Mapping
modifier into map channel 2 in the Unwrap UVW modifier.
TipWhen you use Reset
UVWs, any edits to the current channel’s mapping coordinates are
lost. Thus, if there’s any chance you might want to use the edited
coordinates later, first store the coordinates in a disk file with the
Save function on the Parameters rollout. Alternatively, collapse
the object’s stack and then apply another mapping modifier.
To export texture coordinates to a paint
- Apply the Unwrap UVW modifier to your
object and use the modifier tools to set up the mapping. Texture-coordinate
clusters that will use the same texture area should overlap.
- From the Edit UVWs dialog menu bar, choose
This opens the Render
- Set the Width and Height values to the
output resolution you want in the rendered template. You'll usually
get good results by setting the desired width and then clicking
Guess Aspect Ratio.
TipWhen creating texture maps for gaming and
other real-time 3D engines, be sure to set both dimensions to powers
of 2: 256, 512, 1024, etc.
- Change the remaining values as needed.
By default, the template is rendered with the edges as white and
opaque (alpha=1.0), and background is empty and transparent (background
alpha=0.0), but you have a variety of choices here, as detailed
Render UVs Dialog.
- At the bottom of the dialog, click Render
This opens a new
frame window containing the rendered template
as a bitmap. Inspect the output, and if changes are necessary, make
them on the Render UVs dialog and re-render.
- When you're satisfied with the results,
then on the rendered frame window toolbar, click (Save Bitmap), and then
use the file dialog to specify the file type and name. Click Save
to export the file.
If you want to use the
rendered transparency information in the paint program, be sure
to save in a format that supports the alpha channel, such as TIF
- Open the exported image in a paint program
and use the rendered edges as a guide for painting the texture map.
Save the image when done.
Be sure to paint over
or erase all the edges so they don't appear in the final texture.
- Back in 3ds Max, create a material,
set the Diffuse map to Bitmap, and open the file from the previous
- Apply the material to your mesh object.
The painted texture map
follows the outlines set up by the exported UVs.
After applying the modifier,
its panel appears, consisting of the modifier stack plus two rollouts:
Modifier Stack display
Normally, when you apply
Unwrap UVW to an object, the modifier stack provides access to Vertex,
Edge, and Face sub-object levels. These are synchronized with the
corresponding selection modes on the
UVWs dialog. The Vertex and Edge sub-object
levels are useful for making UVW vertex and edge selections in the
viewports, where texture mapping on the object surface is more readily
visible, and the Edge level is also useful for setting up edge selections
that you can later convert to pelt seams.
If you apply Unwrap UVW
to an active face selection of an Editable/Edit Mesh/Poly object,
or to an active patch selection of an Editable/Edit Patch object,
no sub-object levels are available in the Unwrap UVW modifier. You
can use Unwrap UVW to edit only the selection that was active when you
applied the modifier. Changing the sub-object selection in the object doesn't
affect the Unwrap modifier contents, because the modifier obtains the
face selection when you first apply it.
All three sub-object
levels are synchronized between the modifier stack and the
Modes group on the Edit UVWs dialog. When
you activate a sub-object level in one, it's also activated in the
other. Similarly, selecting sub-objects in a viewport selects them
in the editor and vice-versa.
Selection Parameters rollout
Use these settings to
make or modify a sub-object selection for use by the modifier. If
you've passed a face selection up the stack, for example from the
Poly Select modifier, Unwrap UVW uses that instead, and makes these
- + button
Expands the selection
by selecting all faces adjacent to selected faces.
- - button
Reduces the selection
by deselecting all faces adjacent to non-selected faces.
Expands an edge selection
by selecting all edges parallel to the selected edges. Ring applies
only to edge selections.
Expands the selection
as far as possible, in alignment with selected edges. Loop applies
only to edge selections, and propagates only through junctions of
even numbers of edges.
- Ignore Backfacing
When region selecting, prevents
the selection of faces not visible in the viewport.
- Select By Element
- Planar Angle
Lets you select contiguous
coplanar faces with one click. Turn this on, and then set the threshold
angle value that determines which faces are coplanar. Then click
a face to select it and all contiguous faces whose angles are less
than the threshold value.
Planar Angle is available
only at the Face sub-object level.
- Select MatID
Enables face selection
ID. Specify the material ID to select,
and then click Select MatID.
Select MatID is available
only at the Face sub-object level.
- Select SG
Enables face selection
group. Specify the smoothing group to
select, and then click Select SG.
Select SG is available
only at the Face sub-object level.
- Reset UVWs
Restores the UVW coordinates
to the original status.
Clicking this is almost
the same as removing and reapplying the modifier, except that a
map assigned in the Edit UVWs dialog is not deleted. For example,
if you forgot to turn on the Generate Mapping Coordinates check box
for an object, and then applied the Unwrap UVW modifier, the modifier
would have no UVW coordinates to use and its settings would be wrong.
If you then go back in the Stack and turn on Generate Mapping Coordinates,
you'd need to click the Reset UVWs button. When you click this button,
an alert warns you that you're losing any edits you've made.
Saves the UVW coordinates
to a UVW (.uvw) file.
Loads a previously saved UVW file.
Each object can have
up to 99 different UVW mapping coordinate channels. The default
mapping channel (from the Generate Mapping Coordinates toggle in
is always channel 1. You can specify texture coordinates for any
channel by using a different Unwrap UVW or UVW Map modifier for
When you change the
Map Channel setting, 3ds Max copies the current edits to the
new channel. To access the texture coordinates stored in the channel
prior to the copy, use the Reset UVWs command (see preceding). To
edit the texture coordinates of multiple channels (thus for different
maps), use a different modifier (Unwrap UVW or
for each one.
If you already have
edits in that channel from another modifier, those edits could be
overwritten. To ensure preservation of your edits, save them before
changing the channel and then reload the saved edits as necessary.
- Map Channel
Sets the identification number
of the texture coordinates controlled by the modifier. This channel
value corresponds to the Map Channel value set in a map’s parameters,
so that the modifier controls how maps set to the same channel are
applied to the object surface. Default=1. Range=1 to 99
You can use multiple
Unwrap UVW modifiers in the modifier stack, each set to a different
map channel and thus controlling the mapping coordinates of different
maps in a material.
If you specify a different
channel, make sure any maps in the object’s material that should
use that mapping are also set to that channel.
The map channel setting
is available in various places in 3ds Max, as follows:
- Generate Mapping CoordsThis
check box, present in the creation parameters of most objects, assigns
map channel 1 when on.
- UVW Map, UVW Xform,
and Unwrap UVWs modifiersThese modifiers let you set
the map channel to 1 through 99, thus specifying which UVW coordinates
the modifier uses. The modifier stack can pass these channels simultaneously
for any face.
- Material Editor Channel
AssignmentYou assign the channel to be used by a map
on the Coordinates rollout at the map level in the Material Editor.
The Explicit Map Channel option must be active.
- NURBS Surface Objects
and Sub-ObjectsLet you specify which map channel the
- Vertex Color Channel
Define the channel as
a vertex color channel by choosing this option. Be sure to match
any material mapping in the coordinates rollout to be Vertex Color
as well, or by using the
Vertex Colors utility.
This setting determines
whether and how pelt seams and mapping cluster boundaries, also
known as map seams, appear in the viewports:
- Show Seam
When on, pelt boundaries
appear in the viewports as blue lines.
- Show Map Seam
When on, mapping cluster
boundaries appear in the viewports as green lines. You can change
this color by adjusting the
- Thin/Thick Seam Display
The display thickness setting
applies to both pelt seams and map seams:
- Thin Seam DisplayDisplays
map seams and pelt seams on object surfaces in the viewports with
relatively thin lines. The line thickness remains constant as you
zoom the view in and out.
- Thick Seam DisplayDisplays
map seams and pelt seams on object surfaces in the viewports with
relatively thick lines. The line thickness increases when you zoom
the view in and decreases when you zoom out. This is the default choice.
- Prevent Reflattening
This option is used mainly
for texture baking. When turned on, the version of the Unwrap UVW
modifier automatically applied by
To Texture, named, by default, Automatic
Flatten UVs, will not reflatten the faces. Also, make sure that
both Render To Texture and the modifier are using the same map channel.
Map Parameters rollout
You can apply any map
type to selected faces, patches, or surfaces, and align the mapping
gizmo in any of a variety of ways.
The mapping controls
on the upper part of the rollout are available only at the Face
sub-object level. Also, the Quick Map controls are available only
when no mapping mode button (Planar, Pelt, etc.) is active. However, the
controls are available at all sub-object
NoteWhen a mapping type
button is active, you cannot change the selection without first
exiting the mapping operation.
- Preview Quick Map Gizmo
When on, a rectangular planar
mapping gizmo, applicable to the Quick Planar Map tool only, appears
juxtaposed over the face selection in the viewports. This gizmo
is not manually adjustable, but you can use the following control
to reorient it.
- X/Y/Z/Averaged Normals
Choose the alignment for
the quick map gizmo: perpendicular to the object's local X, Y, or
Z axis, or based on the faces' average normals.
- Quick Planar Map
Applies planar mapping
to the current face selection based on the orientation of the Quick
Applies planar mapping
to selected faces.
Make the selection, click
Planar, adjust the mapping using the transform tools and Align buttons
on the Map Parameters panel, and then click Planar again to exit.
Applies pelt mapping
to selected faces. Clicking this button activates Pelt mode, in
which you can adjust the mapping and
the pelt map.
NotePelt mapping always
uses a single planar mapping for the entire pelt. If you've applied
a different type of mapping, such as Box, and then switch to Pelt,
the previous mapping is lost.
Applies cylindrical mapping
to the currently selected faces.
Make a face selection,
click Cylindrical, adjust the cylinder gizmo using the transform tools
and Align buttons on the Map Parameters panel, and then click Cylindrical
again to exit.
NoteWhen you apply Cylindrical mapping
to a selection, 3ds Max maps each face to the side of the cylinder
gizmo that most closely matches its orientation. For best results,
use Cylindrical mapping with cylinder-shaped objects or object parts.
Applies spherical mapping
to currently selected faces.
Make the face selection,
click Spherical, adjust the sphere gizmo using the transform tools
and Align buttons on the Map Parameters panel, and then click Spherical
again to exit.
Applies box mapping to
the currently selected faces.
Make the selection, click
Box, adjust the box gizmo using the transform tools and Align buttons
on the Map Parameters panel, and then click Box again to exit.
NoteWhen you apply Box
mapping to a selection, 3ds Max maps each face to the side of
the box gizmo that most closely matches its orientation. For best
results, use Box mapping with box-shaped objects or object parts.
Applies spline mapping
to the currently selected faces. Clicking this button activates
Spline mode, in which you can adjust the mapping and
the spline map.
- Align X/Y/Z
Aligns the gizmo to the X,
Y, or Z axis of the object's local coordinate system.
- Best Align
Adjusts the mapping gizmo's
position, orientation, and scale to fit that of the face selection,
based on the selection's extents and average normals.
Scales the gizmo to the extents
of the selection and centers it on the selection. Does not change
- Align To View
Reorients the mapping gizmo
to face the active viewport and adjusts its size and position as
necessary to fit the extents of the selection.
Moves the mapping gizmo
so that its pivot coincides with the center of the selection.
Scales the gizmo to fit
the selection and aligns it with the object's local space.
- Normalize Map
When on, scales the mapping
coordinates to fit into the standard coordinate mapping space: 0
to 1. When off, the mapping coordinates are the same size as the object.
The map is always tiled once in the 0-1 coordinate space; the part
of the map based on its Offset and Tiling values on
For example, if you take
a sphere of 25 units that's planar mapped from the top, and then
apply Unwrap UVW and turn off Normalize Map, then when you open
the editor, the radius of the sphere's mapping coordinates is 25
units. As a result, the texture map is tiled onto the sphere surface
many times. With Normalize Map on, both the sphere and the map fit
into the 0-1 coordinate space, so they're the same size.
In general, for best
results, leave Normalize Map on. One reason to turn it off would
be to turn it off is if you want to map several elements of different
proportions with a texture of a specific aspect ratio, such as brick, keeping
the texture the same size on each object.
These tools, which give
you different ways of specifying pelt seams, are available at all
sub-object levels of the modifier. Pelt seams apply to
mapping, as well as to
mapping when you
- Edit Seams
Lets you specify a pelt seam
by selecting edges with the mouse in the viewports.
This process is similar
but not identical to standard edge selection:
- Click an edge to add it to the current
- Alt+click an
edge to remove it from the current selection.
- Drag to select a region.
- Point To Point Seam
Lets you specify pelt seams
by selecting vertices with the mouse in the viewports. Pelt seams
specified with this tool are always added to the current seam selection.
In this mode, after you
click a vertex, a rubber-band line extends from the vertex you clicked
to the mouse cursor. Click a different vertex to create a pelt seam,
and then continue clicking vertices to create a seam from each vertex
to the previous one. To start at a different point in this mode,
right-click, and then click a different vertex. To stop drawing
seams, click the button again to turn it off.
While Point To Point
Seam is active, you can pan, rotate, and zoom the viewport at any
time using contextual controls (middle-button drag, Alt
+middle-button drag, turn mouse
wheel, respectively) to access a different part of the mesh surface.
You can also navigate using the
After doing so, 3ds Max still remembers the last vertex you clicked
and draws an accurate seam at the next click. Similarly, you can
adjust the viewport using the
and then return to selecting
the seam. If the control requires more than a single click, such
as Pan, exiting the control by right-clicking in the viewport restores the
rubber-band line, extending from the last vertex you clicked.
TipThe algorithm Point
To Point Seam uses to calculate a path might create a different seam
than what you have in mind. If this happens, undo (Ctrl+Z) and specify the desired
path by plotting points closer together.
- Edge Sel To Seams
Converts the current edge
selection in the modifier to pelt seams. These seams are added to
any existing seams.
- Exp(and) Face Sel to Seams
Expands the current face selection
to meet the pelt seam border(s). If multiple seam outlines contain
selected faces, the expansion takes place only for the last-selected
face; all others are deselected.
The heart of the Edit
UVWs dialog is a window that displays a lattice made up of UVW faces
and UVW vertices. Each UVW face, which has three or more vertices,
corresponds to a face in the mesh.
- Edit UVWs Dialog Menu Bar
UVWs dialog menu bar provides access to
a number of important editing commands. Some of these commands are
replicated on the dialog toolbar and the Unwrap UVW command panel;
others, such as the Mapping, Stitch, and Sketch tools, are available
only from the menus.
- Unwrap UVW Shortcuts
To use keyboard shortcuts
for the Unwrap UVW modifier, the
Override Toggle must be on.
- UVW Editor Dialogs
These topics describe
support dialogs for the Unwrap UVW modifier.