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What Does a Good UV Map Look Like?

Hi everyone, I am updating my portfolio and will be showing UV maps alongside my new models. Are there any general expectations/standards for how good UV maps should look in general? My current model is somewhat organic in shape and the UV map looks weird to me. There are no issues such as texture stretching or overlap, I just don't know if the map "looks bad" or could be better. I don't have much experience making proper UVs so any advice is helpful. I am using Maya. Thanks!

Replies

  • gnoop
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    gnoop greentooth
    a) For a thing without hard edges you have too many UV islands   and  too many redundant support loops in the geometry.  
    b)  You could bend your UV islands slightly to be more straight  less curved the way a good packer would pack them a lot more efficient .
  • oglu
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    oglu ngon master
    I wont say that there is to much geo. That depends if this object is goin to be displaced and further scultped.
    If its a low poly i agree.
  • b_beauchamp
    @gnoop Thank you for the advice! I have reduced the number of UV islands and support loops. This is my low poly model, the total vert count is now 8,256 (down from 14k). I am fairly new to Maya and don't know a good method for gently straightening the islands. The "Straighten UVs" tool creates rigid rectangles and deforms the internal edges. What would you suggest? 


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor insane polycounter

    this video shows good overview of most the tools you'll use


  • b_beauchamp
    @Alex Javor Thank you for sharing that video. It was really helpful. I'm feeling a lot better about my UVs. Are they in a good place now or are there other things I should work on? 


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor insane polycounter
    other guys can answer better than i can for stuff like that, but the best way to know if you got good UV's is to start texturing. If there is issues it will become apparent fast, and also you might learn how much "bad" practice you can get away with depending on the asset and it's use. Build up the experience and then it's easier to make judgement calls in the future.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Your object is symmetrical. Does the texture absolutely need to be different on both sides? (most people don't notice texture reuse on sides of things, since you can only see one side at a time!)

    You can overlap shells to save significant space. A key skill for a game artist.

    You can also use non-square textures. As long as they're powers-of-two in dimensions.

    More tips here
    http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/Uv#UV_Tutorials_.26_Threads
  • gnoop
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    gnoop greentooth
    Imo it's better but  still  looks like a hell lot of redundant polygons for real time considering almost no small geometry details at all.     I bet if decimating it twice  there wouldn't be much of visible  difference.    And yet the islands could be slightly bent  with a minimal stretching price.   Isn't MAya has something like "pins"  from Blender or MAx? I recall "Roadkill" plugin  did so (a clone of Blender UV for MAya).    I myself opened MAya  decade ago last time. 


     
  • amoeba
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    amoeba polycounter lvl 9
    I'm very curious about best UV practises. I wish there was a thread here for general UV tips like the giant topology thread and normal baking thread.

    Often I wonder if I'm unwrapping things inefficiently when I end up splitting things to minimize stretching but raising the vertex count in-engine. It seems like a balance between some stretching/distortion or vertex count. In other cases splitting a UV island up allows you to pack it more efficiently to increase texel density so that can be another variable. 

    I generally split my maps always at 90° angles when the mesh has those but it gets a bit muddier where/how to split on more complex organic shapes such as hands/fingers.
     Should each finger have their own island if the hand ends up unwrapping with bent fingers like this if it gives less distortion by splitting it up? 

    Should both sides of the hand be connected or keeping each side a sepearate island? Keeping it as one sometimes gives me ugly areas. 

    Packing is a bit easier as well with it split up as I can give the inner side of the hand less texel density for example if that is rarely seen.

    The screenshots above aren't mine and might be bad examples.

    Sometimes when I unwrap a part of a organic shape, various limbs etc will point out such as here, I've wondered if these should be cut off for nicer packing.

    Another example of something which could perhaps be packed better by splitting it up?



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