The Blender Pipeline (part 3a)

Sorry for such a late episode, I completely forgot about this series. But, better late than never, I’m back! I’m back to shed my knowledge of the Blender Pipeline. So sit back, relax, and let’s discuss the next step in the Blender Pipeline, Texturing.

Okay, as said earlier, modeling really effects the later steps. Not only will a bad model effect the rigging and animation, but it will effect the way the textures go on the model. If you have a model with poopy topology, you will have poopy, stretched out textures.

There are two different ways to texture a model, it just depends on what render engine you use. Today, we will talk about the Blender Internal Engine texturing process. Not only is this way a heck of a lot easier, but it will give just as good of an outcome as the Cycles method of doing it.

The two ways that I like to texture are UV texture mapping and regular materials and assigning vertices. The latter is a lot easier than the former, and it doesn’t have as good of a result. UV mapping is my favorite way to go.

But first, let’s get something out of the way…

What is UV Mapping?

Well, as said on the BlenderArtist page;

When you do UV mapping, you are remapping the XYZ coordinates of your object in a new 3D space. The coordinates of this space are renamed UVW to distinguish from XYZ, and since our texturing is usually in 2 dimensions we use the UV coordinate axes and ignore the W.

Basically, it’s the process of translating a 2D image into the 3D environment.

To start off, you need to check if your character has the proper topology. Look up some reference photos and check how your character’s laid out. There should be edge loops around the arms and legs. This is important.

Right-clicking the edge loops and pressing Ctrl E will bring up the edge select menu. Click on “Mark Seam”. Why?

Think about a stuffed animal. The animal is stitched together at certain seams. If you were to cut apart the stuffed animal at the seams and see where the seams lie, you can use this as a reference to UV Mapping. You are basically doing the same thing. You are placing seams so that the character’s UV’s are unwrapped and easier to texture. Hence UV Mapping being translating a 2D object into a 3D environment. The stuffed animal’s fabric is flat when cut out. But when stitched at the seams, it creates a 3D stuffed animal.

If you want more information about UV unwrapping, search up UV unwrapping tutorials on YouTube for help. CGboorman gives a very good tutorial on this topic. So visit his channel if you’d like.

Once UV unwrapped, press U on your keyboard and a little menu should pop up. Various options can be chosen here but I would click on simply “Unwrap”. Don’t click on “Smart UV Project” because that lets the computer determine the seams for you and unwraps it also. This can get messy and confusing, and it doesn’t always do a good job.

Once UV unwrapped, where it says “Default”, click on the button on the left to show a drop down menu of the various interfaces. Click on “UV Editing”. While in Edit Mode and with all the vertices selected, the unwrapped UV’s should be seen in the UV Editing window. Export the UV layout. The option should be in one of the menus at the bottom of the UV Editing window. It isn’t always there, but be sure to find “Export UV Layout” in one of the menus.

Save the UV layout and make sure it is saved as a PNG file. Then open up the image in an image manipulation software such as Photoshop or GIMP. I prefer using GIMP. Mainly because it’s free.

Paint your texture onto the UV layout. Just like they told you in Kindergarten, don’t color out of the lines. Whatever goes out of the lines doesn’t show up on the mesh. Export as a separate PNG file.

Click on the “Image” menu at the bottom of the UV Editing menu. Click on “Open New Image” and load in your file. The image should line up perfectly with the UV map.

I know what you are thinking right now, “Now I will just hit render and I will see that nothing happened…what? Nothing happened? Why?”

I’ll tell you why extremely ignorant person, we haven’t set the image as a texture yet!

Oooooooohhhhhhh…..

Now, go to the Materials tab and add a new material. You don’t need to change anything here. Now go to the Textures tab and add a new texture. Change that texture to “Image or Movie” and load in the image you made earlier.

Now your saying, “So now I go ahead and hit render to see– OH MY GOSH! That’s not my texture! that’s a freaky, stretched out monster! What did I do?”

I’ll tell you what you did Mr. Overconfident, you forgot to change the mapping to UV.

Oooooooohhhhhhh…..

But seriously, you need to wait for me until you start rendering.

So scroll down the Textures tab until you see something that says:

“Mapping: Generated”

Change that so it says:

“Mapping: UV”

Then if you render, you will see that you will now have a perfect texture!

Yay!

So that’s the Blender Internal Render Engine texturing process. Next time, we will talk about how to texture in Cycles to come off with a more realistic outcome.

See you later, Animators!

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3 thoughts on “The Blender Pipeline (part 3a)

    • I really loved to draw when I was younger, but my animations never looked very good. That’s when I found Blender. The minute I downloaded it, I was frustrated on how it worked. So I stopped for a year. I came back and started learning. I learned everything I needed to know, decided to make a film, and here I am!

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