Turbosquid Models for Element 3D

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Old 04 April 2014   #1
Turbosquid Models for Element 3D

Hi,

I'm an After Effects girl and have only very basic knowledge in 3DS Max, so this is really a newbie question:
I'm planning to buy a 3D model on Turbosquid and modify it so it can be imported into Element 3D in After Effects (done by detaching certain surfaces from the model and applying different materials to them, so Element recognizes them as separate parts that can then be re-textured/animated individually within Element, as explained in this Video Copilot tutorial: http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/simple_car_rig/ )

Being a novice in 3DS Max, however, I'm not sure what criteria the model I buy needs to fulfill in order for the described workflow to be applicable to it (beyond being UV mapped). For example, is it crucial that the purchased model have unwrapped UVs? Can they overlap, or would that cause problems? I should mention that I'm not looking to modify the model textures/materials in any way, just to import the model and textures successfully into Element.

The workflow in the above tutorial assumes that the model is accompanied by texture JPGs in the format that I've attached - that is, files that show all the different textured surfaces of the model spread out on a black background. That image is then applied to the model in Element 3D as a diffuse map.

So I'd be very grateful if someone could tell me what the professional terminology for what I'm looking for is, so that I can try to find something suitable on Turbosquid.

I'd really appreciate your help!
Jen
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 2012_ford_explorer_exterior_diffuse.jpg (32.8 KB, 3 views)
 
Old 04 April 2014   #2
In turbosquid you will see a '3d model specification' section. What you want to look out for is:

Textures: Yes
Unwrapped UVs: Yes
There should also be a good description of the model in the 'info' section.

The UVs should already be baked into the mesh when you import it to Max so you won't have to worry when you detach the various elements of the mesh.

The quality will obviously vary depending on it's price or whether it's free.

Also, look out for the 'checkmate pro/lite' tag on the models. This is a turbosquid quality guarantee.
 
Old 04 April 2014   #3
Thanks so much for your reply! I'll be sure to look out for those. Just two more things, though:

1) There is also specification on Turbosquid, whether the unwrapped UVs are overlapping or not. Is this crucial for what I'm trying to do?

2) I need a JPG file like the one attached in the original post in order to re-texture a model once it's imported to Element 3D. Most models I've encountered on Turbosquid don't come with these. I'm guessing there must be a professional term for these images that show all of the textured surfaces spread out like that, right? Should I look out for models that proclaim they include them, or is this something I can generate myself within 3DS Max from a model with baked textures?

Thanks again
Jen
 
Old 04 April 2014   #4
Overlapped UVs won't be an issue in your case. When they are purposefully overlapped it just means that different UV clusters share the same UV space/texture space.

In the info section on Turbosquid it should list the texture maps supplied with the model: diffuse/colour, specular, normal/etc.

The image that you linked is the UV template. It is essentially the 3D model uvw unwrapped or flattened to UV space.(the uvw is just used as the term to translate xyz)
So what you see on the image is the texture map painted over the 3D model's UV coordinates.
If you were to look at the UV template in Max's unwrap modifier window you would see all the models vertices/edges/faces flattened to 2D.

Here's a quick visual example of what I mean:

 
Old 04 April 2014   #5
Thanks for the screenshot, that clears it up well! So as long as the model is UV mapped, I can just go into the Edit UVWs dialog in 3DS Max, apply the "Flatten Mapping" option, save that as an image and use that image for re-texturing?

By the way, if some objects on the model don't have unwrapped UVs but simple UVs, it can still be a relevant model, right?

Last edited by amirsorek : 04 April 2014 at 01:23 PM.
 
Old 04 April 2014   #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirsorek
OK, I think I get it. So as long as the model is UV mapped, I can just go into the Edit UVWs dialog in 3DS Max, apply the "Flatten Mapping" option, save that as an image and use that image for re-texturing?


Basically yes. The image you posted shows that the UV isn't overlapped, ie it is the UV template with a texture applied. You could make new a texture in a number of ways, either in Max or in Photoshop by using that template in and putting a new texture over the old one.
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Old 04 April 2014   #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirsorek
Thanks for the screenshot, that clears it up well! So as long as the model is UV mapped, I can just go into the Edit UVWs dialog in 3DS Max, apply the "Flatten Mapping" option, save that as an image and use that image for re-texturing?

By the way, if some objects on the model don't have unwrapped UVs but simple UVs, it can still be a relevant model, right?


No. UV mapping is just a method of projecting UV coordinates, whereas UV unwrapping is assigning specific UV coordinates to 0 to 1 UV space(for a single UV tile unwrap)
So if you took a model with simple Uv mapping as opposed to UV unwrapping, then Element won't respect that and the UVs will just be a jumbled mess.

As for flatten mapping(or automapping) in the unwrap uvw modifier: this will just break each single face of the mesh apart and place it in 0 to 1. This is OK if the mesh will be painted in a 3D painting application but impossible to texture in 2d(photoshop) Plus it will have a UV seam around each and every face(not good)
 
Old 04 April 2014   #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dillster
Basically yes. The image you posted shows that the UV isn't overlapped


Another important distinction to make, regarding overlapping UVs, that I mentioned earlier, is that there are essentially 2 kinds. The error kind, and the intentional kind.

The former being an error in UV unwrapping which can lead to artifacts in maps. And the latter being intentional in the sense that it is done on symmetrical models with a symmetrical texture, so as to save on UV space, (mostly game models) because the more space a UV shell occupies in UV space, the greater the texture resolution it receives.
 
Old 04 April 2014   #9
Thanks so much for all your help and patience
I understand that now about the unwrapped UVs. If the model comes correctly unwrapped as you recommended, does that mean that the surfaces will all be layed out neatly in the Edit UVWs dialog box and I could simply render the UVW template without having to apply any modifications to it (e.g. Flatten Mapping, etc.)?

(I'm asking all this in advance simply because I'd hate to have bought an expensive model only to find out that I can't work with it)
 
Old 04 April 2014   #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirsorek
Thanks so much for all your help and patience
If the model comes correctly unwrapped as you recommended, does that mean that the surfaces will all be layed out neatly in the Edit UVWs dialog box and I could simply render the UVW template without having to apply any modifications to it (e.g. Flatten Mapping, etc.)?


No problem. That's what these forums are for

Yes. A quality model should have the UVs unwrapped and nicely laid out in UV space. Also, do you intend to repaint the texture, or use the one that comes with it? I only ask because if you are using the supplied map, then there's no further steps required. You just import the model to element(after you follow the steps in Andrew's tutorial) and plug the maps into the relevant channels in AE.

You could always e-mail the creator of the model you intend to purchase if you have any doubts.
 
Old 04 April 2014   #11
Cool, I just imported a sample model using your advice and it worked perfectly!
I'll be using the textures as they are without applying modifications to them, so this should work with the real model as well!

You've been a great help, I really appreciate it!
Have a great week,
Jen
 
Old 04 April 2014   #12
Cheers. Glad it worked out for you
 
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