Daily Progress: More UV Headaches, the Glory of Substance Painter, and Rethinking/Redoing the Texturing Approach

Today I find myself continuing much of my work with texturing. The good news is that I’ve made progress. There isn’t really any bad news for once, but it has become apparent that I must rethink some of how I am/will be doing texturing.

Last I wrote, I had developed some textures, imported them into Unity, and applied them to my models. The results were pretty good and promising. The biggest issue was the UVs, which were quite messed up at the time, causing messed up texture application. Here’s the funny thing; UVs aren’t super tough for meshes that aren’t very complicated. In fact, it’s rather easy for many types of meshes. The key word, however, is not complicated. Both models I’m working with right now have fairly complicated meshes.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.36.18 PMScreen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.37.10 PMThe Aerial Skirmisher model, to be fair, isn’t super complicated either. It’s still a pain to work with, but not as much as the Garud Mk. 1. The Garud Mk. 1 has only some very complex shapes: the fuselage and the bottom facing VTOL engines. However, look closely:

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.37.22 PM

The VTOL engines are very complex. Unwrapping those will be…painful to say the least. The fuselage will also be equally painful, unfortunately.

The article here was fairly helpful with how to unwrap UVs and also introduced some special tools which can speed up the process. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how well the auto unwrap tool can work in my case. I tried it, and it hasn’t been a superb journey, so rather than spend too much time, I moved on. In general, I combined some ideas presented in the video (in the article) with some of my own. I decided to start with an automatic UV mapping to at least pick out some aspects of the complex shape. Then I planar map some areas, sew them together, unfold, and repeat. I used the layout tool a couple of times, scaled the UVs a bit, and got results which weren’t too terrible. I decided it was time to move on to Substance Painter rather than continue the ‘export to Unity and apply Substance Designer texture’ approach.

Now this was the good part of today’s progress. I decided to drop my mesh into Substance Painter. Apparently all UVs must be unified for me to be able to paint the entire mesh, so I applied a lambert to the entire mesh, and dropped it into Substance Painter again. I experienced the full glory of Substance Painter for the first time. There is something to be said about the ease of which I can apply textures to the mesh. I tried some test textures, like a worn steel one (for kicks):

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.49.32 PM.png

The next thing I tried was using my custom texture from Substance Designer. I realized that a tile texture doesn’t really make for the best painting material. So here’s where I had to rethink my approach.

Screen Shot 2017-03-27 at 9.22.58 PM

I got rid of what makes my textures tile textures (the panel lines) and realized that I could insert the panel lines manually, which in many ways, suits me much more than using tile texturing. It also means that I can add in manual wear, edge wear, etc. and use the particle weathering system to generate a much better texture. It also means that the textures I generate from this for Unity will not be tile-textures, since they more or less are painted right on the UVs. The best part is that I don’t seem to need an amazing UV set; just something that works, is facing the right way, and laid out nicely. In short, while it does mean changing my approach somewhat, it also means that the benefits are much higher. Substance Painter has become my new most loved software, followed closely by Substance Designer. Allegorithmic has made my texturing life so much easier.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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