UV mapping complex forms like airplane noses

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  12 December 2012
Question UV mapping complex forms like airplane noses

Hi, I'm new to CG Society and I have about 1 year of 3ds Max experience. I'm modeling a jet for Flight Simulator X and I've gotten to the point where it requires textures, and to make them look realistic, I need to map parts like the fuselage VERY well, so there isn't any distortion or blurring present on the texture. I saw this video once where a 3D artist named Javier Rollon was mapping his airplane (The video goes really fast though) and it looked like he used some kind of Shrink Wrap mapping, but I'm not sure. Here's the link:


And here's a picture of the real plane, so you can see the real shape of the nose:


I tried Shrink Wrapping mine, and it almost looked like the one in the video, but still I was unhappy with the results. Is there some kind of secret technique that I haven't discovered yet to UVW map objects like this? I'm REALLY picky about how my textures look. (By the way, please don't suggest planar mapping the whole fuselage.)

Thanks in advance to whoever can guide me to do this the right way!
  12 December 2012
Anybody here? :(
  01 January 2013
You're probably not getting any responses because this is a modelling question, not a texturing one. I'll move this to the Max forum.
  01 January 2013
Think of the nose of the plane as if you were trying to make it out of paper. You'd need a seam from the tip to the base of the cone. You could do it without but you won't have consistent polygon scale. I'd run a seam all the way around the fuselage at the back edge of the cockpit windows and the another from the tip of the nose straight down the underside of the fuselage to where it meets the first. That should unwrap nicely and give you fairly consistent scale.

In the video it looks like they did the same thing only they bisected the entire front of the fuselage into two pieces instead of just going from the tip. That would work fine too.
  01 January 2013
I actually did a CRJ recently. Started off with a model that was provided and it was planar mapped from the side, and then I split the outer fuselage in half and then that was further split into 3 sections, each was then flattened out on a separate channel for lightmaps (this was for a UDK project). 3ds max has a flatten tool that will try and flatten it with minimal distortion, as long as you've got the seams in the right place. The outer fuselage works pretty well this way.
The Z-Axis
  01 January 2013
See, whenever I try to flatten the mapping, Max always breaks it up into millions of tiny pieces. Is this because I haven't set seams?
  01 January 2013
You want to create all the seams yourself and use relax rather than flatten. For difficult sections that relax has trouble with you can use pelt to unravel them first and then relax it from there. The three options in the "mapping" dropdown menu are automatic and never do as good a job as you can do yourself.
  01 January 2013
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