Creative Futures

Topology, Texturing and UV Mapping

Whilst Scott was constructing the rig for the boy, the next stage for production was unwrapping the UVs in order to create textures – another challenge that I had yet to tackle during my experience at university to date.

However, before textures could be created, the primary objective was to first create a clean topology layout for the boy’s head. As he had been sculpted in Z-Brush Core and the base of his body deleted once the clothing geometry had been created, his head was the main focus of concern. The head mesh contained a high poly count, which would have significantly slowed down both the importation and rendering processes in the later stages of production.

There was another significant reason for the reduction in topology for the head, and that was facial rigging. With such a dense mesh, it would be extremely difficult for Scott to produce any blend shapes for the character expression. Therefore, it was vital that I produced something with significantly less poly-count, and that the topology around the features such as eyes and mouth had a cohesive construction that could be manipulated in order to mimic the movement of facial muscles.

Before re-topologising with the use of the modelling kit, I began by using the Z-Brush re-mesh tool within the sculpting programme in order to significantly reduce the poly-count to a moderate number. The intention was that the hair mesh would be left untouched, whereas the face would undergo a full topology overhaul. Once that had been completed, I reimported the mesh into Maya to begin the process.

thumb_img_2040_1024(E.1 – Shown above, the process of retopology whilst following an online tutorial) 

Shown above in example one is a photograph that I had taken during the retopology stages within Maya, using one of the tools from the modelling toolkit to manually place each individual quad upon the surface of the mesh. The process was time-consuming, as expected with such a laborious task. However, following the tutorial (featured here) was very beneficial as it provided me with the knowledge to place quads in particular patterns in order for the mesh to be manipulated into expressions during the blend shape creation.

Once the head was completed, it was passed along to Scott so that the focus could then be directed towards creating UV maps for the entire boy model, in order to paint textures. Again, this is a process that was entirely new to me, and as such, I had to enquire with my team members in order to investigate the most efficient way to carry out such a task. Katie directed me towards an easy to follow tutorial that proved to be the most efficient way to improve my comprehension of the technical approach.

I began with the clothing, as the basic shape of the material was the kindest way to ease into the task. Once I gained familiarity with the process, my speed increased and the mapping was occurring within an efficient time frame. During my experience, I found that the socks and the head provided the most challenges due to the folds of the material, and the volume of the boy’s hair – through trial and error, I was able to use the layout and stitching features to eventually create a clean and cohesive UV map. The issue of seams did occur during the process, especially on areas of the mesh that were not clothing such as the head and hands, but through logical exploration,  I was able to locate areas on the mesh that would conceal the seam quite proficiently.

(E.2 – Shown above, the UV completed maps for the boy model) 

Once the mapping was completed, the next stage was painting the textures for the boy. The process was a mixture of hand painted with some texture manipulation for the garments of clothing, to create an impression of differentiating materials. The skin and hair textures were entirely hand painted, with intricate details such as a rose tint to the cheeks and nose, and the freckles on the boy’s face.

(E.3 – Shown above, the material textures that were gathered to be used as overlays. References included below)

When placed together in a grid style layout, the earthy colour scheme really becomes apparent – true to the conceptual designs that were created for the boy. The textures that were sourced from online were edited in such a way that they would suggest subtle detail to the clothing material, without looking out of place when combined with the purely painted textures of the skin and hair.

(E.4 – Shown above, the painted textures that feature on the boy model) 

Included below is a turnaround of the boy model with the textures applied to the mesh. I am delighted with the finished result and feel that the outcome has retained the true aesthetic appeal that was evident in the two-dimensional drawing. My technical intellect has increased significantly during this stage of the process, as I now have the knowledge to unwrap a model from scratch manually – without the assistance of a plug-in or additional feature. I was able to incorporate my existing skills with photoshop in order to paint the textures by hand, with the additional option of using sourced images to give the clothing a textured appearance. The team and I are very pleased with the outcome of the model, and are looking forward to seeing how he will appear in the final renders once he has been rigged and animated.


(E.5 – Shown above, a turnaround for the boy featuring the textures) 


96-2446-83563_z. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2015].

easttextilesClassic. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

HAB-2. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

kntiq1. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].

rubber_texture1320. (n.d.). [image] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2016].


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