UV mapping and Retopology (Current and future State)

Hello Tech artists, i like the process of unwrapping models and a long time have passed since ive done a serious UV mapping so im wondering about its current state :

1 - is it still used extensively in CG industry ?
2 - ive seen that automation has grown in CG in the form of smart materials and denoising algorithms, will it make UV mapping fully automated ?
3 - Is the skills of UV mapping and Retopology still relevant in the industry ? or it has become something easily done by anyone in the team ?
4 - Will this part of Tech-art die soon and get replaced by new processes or its still going to be there for more years to come ?

Replies

  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    I'm sure eventually AI will be able to do this work, but that may not be for years to come. I for one will be sad to see unwrapping go as I really enjoy doing it. :)
  • Noors
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    Noors polycounter lvl 10
    I'd say for offline rendering, stuff like triplanar mapping, smart materials, (Ptex ?) are already commonly used, because obviously fast. But you can't triplanar everything.
    For real-rendering, it's heavy calculation shader wise, (uv projections on the fly) so it is reserved for special objects (terrains) or effects, because you have an aesthetic gain by using it. There wouldnt be visual improvement by using it on a character, and it would be far heavier so that will always be wasted resources.
    Uv tools are also a lot better, almost fully automatic now, even for a character. As for the future, even with some AI, there's always a specific case you might want to control manually.
    unwrapped uv are cheaps and still useful and imo people should learn to do it properly (with a proper software, aka "not 3ds Max", it's even soothing)

  • Bilelwartworks
    I'm sure eventually AI will be able to do this work, but that may not be for years to come. I for one will be sad to see unwrapping go as I really enjoy doing it. :)
    me too, i liked the whole process :/
  • Bilelwartworks
    Noors said:
    I'd say for offline rendering, stuff like triplanar mapping, smart materials, (Ptex ?) are already commonly used, because obviously fast. But you can't triplanar everything.
    For real-rendering, it's heavy calculation shader wise, (uv projections on the fly) so it is reserved for special objects (terrains) or effects, because you have an aesthetic gain by using it. There wouldnt be visual improvement by using it on a character, and it would be far heavier so that will always be wasted resources.
    Uv tools are also a lot better, almost fully automatic now, even for a character. As for the future, even with some AI, there's always a specific case you might want to control manually.
    unwrapped uv are cheaps and still useful and imo people should learn to do it properly (with a proper software, aka "not 3ds Max", it's even soothing)

    lol, 3ds Max not a big fan of it but i like Maya alot :)
    so UV mapping will still be there for a while ?
  • Bilelwartworks
    and what about Retopology ?
  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    and what about Retopology ?
    Eventually it will be fully auto and mostly optimal, but yes there will still be some manual input. Even a solution where you manual retop difficult areas lile shoulders and hips, place some markers for directionally, and the machine fills in the rest. Hardsurface autoretop at the moment is missing 2 key factors: clean hard edges and large planar surfaces with minimal geo.

    Again, AI will be the key probably. Imagine a community system where 10000 volunteer artists feed an online AI with 1 million cleanly modelled or unwrapped meshes.....sit back and wait.... ;)
  • RacePeaceDay
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    RacePeaceDay polycounter lvl 5
    If there will be voxels instead of polygons, there probably wont be need for retopo. But for now they're too laggy.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    What's most advanced unwrap tool currently?. Packing udim tiles tightly, able to use texel size priority, not just equal texel size everywhere?       Stitching lost parts automatically like  this   https://youtu.be/hVOU-ylpKPU?t=84
    All in one place?      Maya?   Rizom LAb?   Elsewhere?   I seams couldn't find a convenient tool  that would suite me and hate UVing a lot.



  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    @gnoop I suppose Rizom is probably up there at the moment. I refuse to use it though as it has one of the worst designed UIs I've ever fumbled around in.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks musashidan.   Looks like I need to give it another try.   It doesn't look easy last time I did. Probably because of the interface and I love the tools which are simple and instantly self explaining.
  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    @gnoop yeah mate, it's definitely easy to learn and very powerful, but my UI/GUI ocd kicks in big time in Rizom. The design and amount of space wasted is just shocking to me, and it can't be customised.
    I tested it months back though, maybe the UI has improved since then. Pretty hypocritical of me though, considering I used the crazy 90s Headus UI for years. :D

    I should really get back into it though as I'm currently putting Blender through its paces as an eventual semi-replacement for Max, but Blender's unwrapping tools just aren't up to scratch as a serious solution.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    Blender UV have a few hidden treasures but haven't got any true update for years.  It was actually its UV decade ago when I switched from Max . Was so much superior that time.  Even in Maya people used Killroad plugin done of Blender code.   But now it's totally other way around. Sadly in new 2.8 too
  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    Well, when the Textools addon gets ported to 2.80 then I can see it being a serious option. UDIM support badly needed too. I remember the Roadkill standalone from years back. A lot of unwrap tools ended up with some form of that LCSM algorithm at some stage. 

    I've noticed a Blender branch with using the Slim UVs algorithm and it looks good, but most of my unwraps are hardsurface anyway.
  • poopipe
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    poopipe quad damage
    Maya 2017/18  auto unwrap/packing tools are pretty much all you need - it matches (or often betters) results I was seeing from custom in-house algorithms used on a couple of quite well known titles I worked on and is about 1000 times faster.

    Getting into specifics when you're doing something as half arsed as autopacking is largely a waste of time in my experience.. If you want perfect results you'll spend just as much time setting up unique parameters for individual assets as you would unwrapping the thing by hand in the first place and if you don't want perfect results you might as well just smash the auto-unwrap button and deal with the performance and visual consequences down the line.

  • Noors
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    Noors polycounter lvl 10
    I think Maya unwrap "recent" revamp is based on Unfold3d. Yeah, not sure what happened between Unfold3d vs Rizom (some $hit obviously) but i'd say rizom is the best unwrap tool actually.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    I haven't tried Maya for years.  Always had an impression that Maya is a kind of " Thanks for buying our soft , now kindly hire a programmer"     Can it pack UDIMS efficiently ?  Or do something like  https://youtu.be/hVOU-ylpKPU?t=84

  • musashidan
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    Blender, Zbrush and Clarisse mostly.   But have to use Max for  game export 
  • poopipe
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    poopipe quad damage
    You'll be pleasantly surprised by maya 2018, it's got nightshade built in (the code still has nightshade comments in) so it's pretty modern by autodesk standards. 
    I choose it over max for multi object unwraps and layouts even though maya is fundamentally a pile of unstable shit that has no right to cost what it does. 


    I'm still laughing at the idea of anyone thanking you for buying maya, I've always felt like they actively treat customers with utter comtempt
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    BTW, what's the difference in between Real and Virtual space of Rizom?  I have never tried Real space. Should I?
  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    @gnoop can you clarify why you have to use Max over Blender for final asset export? Clients, boss, or just personal choice? I'm still only dabbling in Blender with my day to day still being very much in Max. Just wondering in case I do end up getting deeper 8nto Blender.

    Not entirely sure feature wise about the Unfold flavours, but this is what I got:

    Virtual Spaces caters to games, VFX and VR; and Real Space is targeting product design and laser texturing.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    Thanks musashidan. 

        I have to use Max because our custom engine works only with a special Max exporting script , lods, custom properties, special material setup and so on, It's a company pipeline tool. 
        But once I first switched from Max to Blender a decade ago when Blender was actually ahead of Max in many regards  even if this isn't that way any more  I am just feeling more homely in Blender and do all actual modeling there.   Especially after I found  "make manifold" button in Blender "print 3d"  addon from the default set.   Before I sometimes had problems with non-manifold geometry coming to Max from Blender.
       Imo it's kind of simpler,easier and more straight forward for routine mundane  things.   Less of hidden check-boxes you have to recollect all the time with how you did it before.     Something in the interface and the program logic I guess.    
         

        
  • jRocket
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    jRocket polycounter lvl 14
    UVing is pretty easy these days. Just mark your seams and auto-unwrap. Auto-layout if you have good software that supports it(not stock Blender) or manually layout for better coverage. I remember back in the day it was a lot more work because we all had to manually apply planar or cylindrical projections to different parts of the mesh and stitch everything together- and of course layout everything manually as well. 
  • musashidan
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    musashidan insane polycounter
    @gnoop Cheers. I didn't realise you were a decade Blender user.

    @jRocket ; Haha! Please don't remind me. The good old days of stacking tons of uvw mapping>poly select modifiers for every single planar map...... hard to believe now that there was no such thing as a unwrap modifier or a packing algorithm. :D
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 9
    Yeah, I recall the firm I worked for that time had an in-house unwrapper because  Max 2  didn't have any  at all.  I remember I missed that tool a lot after they closed their doors and for a while  did my unwraps in Wings3d.   Surprisingly It's still there and pretty nice actually.   At first I prefer it to Blender.   It's also totally hotkey driven  with everything  on hotkeys in just a few clicks.  Simple like 2x2, self-explaining and minimalistic.
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