Adding Textures to the Polyfighter with UVW Unwrap

Brian C. Morris - American College of Thessaloniki tutorial


In this tutorial, you use the Unwrap UVW< modifier to add textures to the spaceship. The modifier lets you group all of your textures on one bitmap, and then adjust the texture vertices on the map. Make sure, you map all areas, line up seams as reference renders indicate, and there is no distortion of texture when you render.


Make the texture material:
  1. Reset 3ds max
  2. Open PF_unwrap_Morris_2006.max
  3. Press M to open the Material Editor.

    The upper-left sample slot is active.

  4. In the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, click the blank gray button next to the Diffuse color swatch.
  5. In the Material/Map Browser dialog > map list, double-click Bitmap.
  6. In the Select Bitmap Image File dialog that is displayed, choose polyship_Fix_DM.jpg as your texture map.
  7. In the Bitmap Parameters rollout > Cropping/Placement group, click View Image to see the texture map. After viewing the image, close its dialog.
  8. In the Material Editor, click Show Map In Viewport
  9. Name the material spaceship
  10. Drag the material from the sample sphere to the spaceship in the viewport and click And click theshow map in viewport button.
  11. Click the render button. The “Missing Map Coordinates” dialog comes up. This is because the spaceship still needs mapping coordinates. Hit the Cancel option.
USE Unwrap - Part ONE:

1.      Select the spaceship, and then, in the Modify panel > Modifier List, choose Unwrap UVW.

This applies the Unwrap UVW modifier to the spaceship. Because the modifier automatically applies mapping coordinates to any unmapped object it's applied to, the texture map is now visible on the ship's surface. But it's not mapped correctly yet.

2.      In the modifier stack display, click Unwrap UVW. This highlights the text in yellow (default color), indicating that the default sub-object level is active. In this case, it's the only sub-object level: Select Face. If you like, click the small + icon to open the modifier hierarchy; you'll see that Select Face is active.

3.      Select only the polygons that make up the top of the starboard wing.

4.      In the Parameters rollout > Sub-Object Params group, click Planar Map. This assigns specific texture coordinates to the selected polygons, which override the default ones assigned when you applied the modifier. Thus, a different part of the texture now appears on the polygons.

5.      Toggle through the X, Y and Z options and watch the planar map gizmo realign itself. Leave it set to Averaged Normals.

6.      Maximize the Perspective viewport, if necessary, and then pan and zoom the viewport so the plane is visible in its lower-right quadrant.


7.      On the Parameters rollout, click Edit.


The Edit UVWs window is displayed with the texture coordinates of the spaceship overlaid on the bitmap. These look like the wireframe view of the ship. But by manipulating the vertices, you change which part of the texture map is applied to the faces, rather than the geometry of the ship.

If the image is not clearly visible, click the Show Options button at the bottom of the Edit UVW dialog. In the Bitmap Options group, at the lower left, increase the Brightness setting so you can see the texture map better.


Turn off Tile Bitmap.


Also turn on “Highlight Selected Verts”.


Change Width and Height to 512. (Note: if the Edit UVWs window later becomes sluggish change it back to 256)


8.       Click the Filter Selected Faces button to make it easier to work on the correct faces in the Edit UVWs window.

9.         If necessary, move the edit window away from the ship. Arrange the window and the geometry so both are visible.

You're going to move the wing coordinates to overlay the upper wing in the bitmap. As placed by the software, the wing coordinates need to be rotated approximately 180 degrees, and scaled down. The vertices are already selected in the editor window, so you're ready to start transforming them all together.


10.      On the toolbar of the Edit UVWs dialog, click the Rotate tool, and then drag one of the
texture vertices vertically until the wing wireframe is rotated about 180 degrees.
After you rotate the texture vertices, the viewport updates.
Note: The top edge of the wireframe should be horizontal, for the most part.

11.       Use the Scale tool to reduce the wing wireframe's size to match that of the wing on the



12.     On the Edit UVWs toolbar, click Move. And then drag the wireframe over to the right wing in the image


13.     Adjust the points so they evenly cover the upper wing area. Move the points individually so they line up with the bitmap. Zoom in to line up the vertices exactly.

Tip: To select an individual vertex, first click anywhere in the Edit UVWs window to deselect
everything, then click the vertex you want to move.


14.     Minimize the Edit UVWs dialog.


Use Unwrap to map the side of the tail:

1.      Select the polygons for one side of the middle fin. Rotate the viewport to make face selection easier.

2.      On the command panel, click Planar Map and maximize the Edit UVWs dialog.

3.      Move and scale the texture vertices to reposition them over the map. Watch the changes in the viewport. You might need to Pan and Zoom the viewport, or resize the Edit UVWs window.

4.      Minimize the Edit UVWs dialog.

5.      Rotate the viewport and select faces for the side of the nose section.

6.      Click Planar Map and maximize the Edit UVWs dialog.

7.      Transform the vertices to reposition them along the bitmap. Scale into the appropriate shape, then reposition over the image. Zoom in and adjust individual points.

8.      Minimize the Edit UVWs dialog.

9.      Rotate the viewport and select the 4 faces along the top of the fuselage on the right-hand side of the ship.


10.  Again click Planar Map and maximize the Edit UVWs dialog.

11.  Click the Rotate +90 button. Then rotate manually until horizontal.

12.  Scale the faces horizontally. Select the points and move them again in pairs until they line up with the bitmap.


13.  It will take some work, but slowly repeat the process for all the faces of the spaceship. Use the images as guides.

Note that the upper half of the central bitmap image is the spaceship as seen from the top, while the lower half is as seen from the bottom. Also the left side of fuselage will use the same UVW space as the right side of the fuselage.

In some cases, you'll need to flip the vertices. The numbers will be reversed on the bottom wing and the opposite side of the fuselage, if this project was for production then we would have to use an extra bitmap image or have separate UVW space for the opposite sides.

Also...some examples below show more that one selection and planar map together. In these cases select, planar map and position UVWs,  one selection at a time.


So Keep going…


14. The side


15. The wing bottom section. This is 3 separate selections and planer maps


16. The bottom center


17. The canopy


18. The top and bottom nose section


19. The top center section


20. Top additional parts 1


21.  To map the engine glow at the back of the spaceship, use the yellow square.


22.  Now map the opposite sides, and opposite wings. Remember don’t worry about the numbers being backwards since you will flip the vertices and use the same UVW space.


23.  There are still some areas that need to be mapped, liked the engines, the back edge of the wings, the vent intake areas, the side of the vents,

24.  Now continue to map and fine tune the model as needed, check your work against the final renders below. MAP ALL AREAS, I will be checking

The finished mapped spaceship, top and bottom views


The finished mapped spaceship, side, front and back views….next page



25.     Save your final model as studentID#_PF_unwrapped.max.


© Tutorial by: Brian C. Morris