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Creating UVW Maps in GMAX?

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Friends,I must be dense as uranium in my cranium, but for the life of me, I cannot wrap my brain around the process creating and adding textures to newly designed a/c in GMAX.I've read every tutorial I can find, but most of them seem to leave out important information or steps in the process, often assuming far too much a priori knowledge on the part of the reader, or are concerned only with 'repainting' bitmaps...One that I've spent some time with is extremely well written, and I was making great progress up until it got to the point to 'export' the UVM map for use with LithUnwrap...Uh oh! First step then, is to find a copy of LithUnwrap. Oh dear, it's no longer available, but has become a payware program... A quick search via dogpile.com yielded a website with a version of the 'old' LithUnwrap! Yeah! I grabbed it and installed it. Great! That works ok...Second step is to find out what plugin is needed to enable export of the UVW map: "When the dialog box opens, create a new folder and name it md3. Save the file as type Quake III (*.MD3) in the new md3 folder."Ok, there's a clue! So, a quick trip to dogpile again and I find that "Tempest" gamepak is available to do the job of exporting UVM maps as .md3 (Quake III) type files for importing into LithUnwap.Three tries to install Tempest fail, saying that the GMAXLOC environment variable isn't correct... Hmmm... autoexec.bat is SET(ing) the variable properly, and a SET command at a DOS prompt shows that indeed, the environment is properly specified; so, still no joy.Ah ha! The "tempestinstall.exe" can be opened with WinZIP and extracted manually. Great! But, inside is found the installation instructions! And, what do those well-hidden instructions say? More to the point, why the hell would they put the installation instructions inside of a self-extracting zip anyway??? Talk about stupidity!!!The very first paragraph:"ATTENTIONPlease read this document prior to installing gmax tempest. gmax tempest will not function properly unless gmax, gmax tempest, and your copy of Quake III Arena have been configured properly."Dear God! Will this never end? I don't have "Quake III Arena," and I'm sure as hell not going to buy it simply to install this stupid gamepak! :) At this point, I went to bed and gave up for the night.So, friends... is there a easier way to (a) create the UVW maps, export the UVW Unwapped information, and use it to create the initial base bitmaps for an a/c???Otherwise, I'm very much afraid that the GMAX version of the Socata TB20GT (which is coming along very nicely, I might add!) is going to be rather naked and ugly... :(TIA

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>Bill did you check out the following link, its for 3D Studio >Max, but will work in GMax >>http://home.wanadoo.nl/r.j.o/skyraider/tut...turemapping.htm >>Secondly you dont need Tempest when creating aircraft, thats >only for Quake gamers.In reverse order... The tutorial I was following specified using the Tempest plug-in only for exporting the UVW Map to a particular format so that LithUnwrap could import the UVW map, and then export to file that would serve as a 'template' for creating the actual bitmap texture. IOW, the two middle steps are intended to give you a .bmp file with all the vertices showing as a background image in your paint program.Yes, I've followed that tutorial up to the point where it appears that GMAX doesn't support the features that the full 3d Studio Max offers, most glaringly obvious, the ability to (a) display the UVM Unwrapped image and (:( none of the suggested 'export plugins' appear to be relevant to GMAX, since they all reference specific versions of 3dSMax...This is an example of a tutorial that assumes far too much a priori knowledge... Even then, when attempting to 'fit' a cyindrical UVW Map to the fuselage, instead of wrapping tightly, the cylindrical WVM Map shrinks to a tiny, nearly invisible cylinder, instead of snuggling closely to the surface, as the tutorial indicates it should... The attached .jpg shows what should appear in LithUnwrap, just prior to saving as a background template file. The border around the wing and stabilizer surfaces is the exact size of a 512x512 texture bitmap.

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Bill,Have you tried just extracting the md3exp.dle from the Quake gamepack and placing it in your GMAXplugins folder?

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>Bill, >>Have you tried just extracting the md3exp.dle from the Quake >gamepack and placing it in your GMAXplugins folder? I haven't yet, but given that the lastest 'tutorial' that Dave recommended also requires the Quake III, export plugin, I'll give it a go. At least Finn was kind enough to say to just extract the plugins and put 'em in the GMAXplugins folder... :)I've got to watch his 'lesson one' video this evening.I did find out that one reason why my engine cowling is giving me fits... it seems my designer made the entire thing out of about 40 separate parts. Grouping won't allow me to paint the entire thing as a unit, so I've got to find another way! :)

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YOu may group and include any number of parts into one texture map. For example, I mapped my whole fuselage, nosebay doors, cabin door, dorsal fin, ventral fin, and tail bumper in a single map.1. Select all the items you want in one map. Hide everything else.2. In the modifiers list rollout, select Selection Modifiers, Mesh Select.3. Now select the faces/polys of the objects you want in the first part of the mapping. For example, right front of fuse. Select in either face or poly mode. Helps to turn on edged faces or shading of selected faces.4. In the rollout, select UVW Map5. Size the map large enough for the total group of objects and make the dimensions square.6. Select the UVW gizmo and rotate it so that the green side is always clockwise to the handle.7. Position the object in the map where you need it.8. Now flip to left front side view (in my fuse example)9. Select from the rollout Mesh Select10. In Edit menu at top, select Invert(if opposite side) otherwise select faces/polys11. In the rollout, select UVW map12. set UVW map size the same as above map size (step5)13. Position the gizmo over the objects so as not to overlay the previous map steps.14. Repeat steps 8-13 for as many times as you wish to finish mapping all object faces/polys15. When done, export selected, as MD3 type files16. Open Lithunwrap, model open and select the md3 file just created.17. If it looks good, then select UVW map Save. Select the pixel width (256 or 512 or 1024 etc) and Save. This becomes your base template for painting textures.18. Go back to gmax, open Material editor, create new, click Diffuse Map, open the UVW bmp you just created, and apply to the still selected objects.The UVW maps a s base textures can be taken to ImageTool, converted to 8bit, then use in a paint program to apply textures. These textures then go to your aircraft folder after you convert them to your desired format in Imagetool.Hope this Helps.Milton

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Yep, in 3DS Max a free plugin called 'Texporter' is used really widely to produce 'texture templates' - but of course no plugins in gMax other than gamepack ones, so we need a workaround. Luckily the Quake gamepack is free (you don't need Quake to use it, I certainly don't have Quake and have no plans to either!) and exports to a format that Unwrap3D can use. It was just a bit of bad luck that Lithunwrap went payware literally within a week of me developing the technique...Mapping in gMax is fairly complex - until you've figured out how to do it! Once you've done it once or twice it's actually really easy and doesn't take terribly long either. You also have far more control than you do in something like FSDS, and you don't have to worry about wobbly lines either.I hope you find the videos useful, between them they cover almost all aspects of texture mapping. I'm a little busy this week unfortunately but feel free to ask any questions related to them - also the same techniques are covered in some printed tutorials you can find at FreeFlightDesign.Have funFinnPS By the way if you are using Lithunwrap still and find it useful I really do suggest buying Unwrap3D. It's very cheap and the author provides good support too - it's always nice to return the favour.PPS When watching the videos pay especial attention to the 'named selections' bit that I mention in passing. This allows you to quickly define a 'group' (it isn't strictly speaking a group in the gmax sense) that you can select and export individually. It isn't necessary, but if you're working with an plane with lots of objects it a VERY important time-saver. Unlike groups for example you can make a named selection across all parts of your hierarchy.

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Bill,BTW there are several plugins in the Quake zip file, make sure you get them all. I put them in my copy of GMAX last night, can't say they would do anything since I don't have anything to import/export but at least they showed up as options.

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>YOu may group and include any number of parts into one >texture map. For example, I mapped my whole fuselage, >nosebay doors, cabin door, dorsal fin, ventral fin, and >tail bumper in a single map. >The UVW maps a s base textures can be taken to ImageTool, >converted to 8bit, then use in a paint program to apply >textures. These textures then go to your aircraft folder >after you convert them to your desired format in Imagetool. Milton (and everyone else!)Thank you for your detailed and cogent steps. Thanks to the help from all of you who responded, I now have all the tools necessary, and have actually managed to create a UVW map (an easy part: l_wing), export it to LithUnwrap, save it to .bmp, apply it in GMAX, and 'paint it' with Adobe Photoshop.It is far from perfect, but at least it serves to prove to myself that (a) I have all the tools now, and they work! and (:( that I am not totally a bereft of intelligence as I'd begun to fear... :)One of the reasons I like Adobe Photoshop is the ability to work in RGB multi-layers, and then flatten the image and save as 8-bit, without having to use Imagetool. I've also found DXTbmp more flexible and useful that Imagetool, at least so far with my limited experience... :)Thanks again to everyone!

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>Luckily the Quake gamepack is free (you don't >need Quake to use it, I certainly don't have Quake and have >no plans to either!) and exports to a format that Unwrap3D >can use. It was just a bit of bad luck that Lithunwrap went >payware literally within a week of me developing the >technique...Well, a quick search with dogpile.com found a website that still has version 1.2 of LithUnwrap available. The 'demo version' is useless to me for testing purposes since it won't save, and apparently the only use for the program at all is to simply convert the UVWunwrap map file to a .bmp file... I will certainly pay for Unwrap3D eventually, but first I had to 'prove to myself' that I was capable of following instructions, and the process would work for me... :)>- also the same techniques are covered in >some printed tutorials you can find at FreeFlightDesign. The videos are extremely useful! I made my first 'success' to prove the process following the excellent tutorial from FSAlpha Design Group, which covers the process in excellent detail.>PPS When watching the videos pay especial attention to the >'named selections' bit that I mention in passing. Unlike >groups for example you can make a named selection across all parts of >your hierarchy. Excellent! My fuselage consists of three sections (each composed of many objects!): engine cowling, cabin, and tail. It is my intention to create one, single UVW map starting with a cylinder, to make creating and applying pinstripes easier!Thanks again to everyone who's helped!!! You folks are great!

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>BTW there are several plugins in the Quake zip file, make >sure you get them all. I put them in my copy of GMAX last >night, can't say they would do anything since I don't have >anything to import/export but at least they showed up as >options. Really, I only saw the one that I particularly wanted, the other is tempest.dlo... That doesn't seem like it would be useful for anything I'm likely to need... Oh well, I'll drop it in anyway before I 'uninstall Tempest!'Thanks, from the "other Bill"

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