how to use the projection modifier for UVW?


sorry, I couldn’t think of a better title.

I have sometimes Very high poly objects. Most of the time they aren’t the greatest geometry either. I get them from engineering data. We also usually use Npower, so it’s not even polys unless I convert the objects.

I know the projection modifier should be able to do this, but haven’t figured a way to do it.

Basically I want to create a cage around my complex object, texture it, and project that texture using the normals of the simple object to the normals of the complex object.

Can anyone else figure this out?

Basically I want to make my own UVW projection modifiers by unwrapping the projector and using a custom one that I created.

Can anyone give instructions if they manage to accomplish this? The only hints I can find all point to normal mapping tutorials and I can’t seem to get the projection modifier to do what I want.

This is also very handy if you model a complex character in another program, then want to unwrap it later. What a pain…but you could easily create a simple character and project the UVs using the normals of an outer object.

I wish autodesk would make this easier to do. (that is, unless I just can’t find the right tool).


All you should need to do is select the unwrapped (low poly object) apply a projection modifier. Pick the high res (object that needs the mapping) as the reference geometry. Adjust the cage as needed. Add Project Mapping in Projection rollout. Hit Project or Project All.



Ive had some wierd stuff happen with the modifier. For example i can project vert colors fine, but never been able to project uv’s :expressionless:


yeah, I actually experimented with it just now. Those instructions just seemed so simple.
I had tried that before, but got such strange results that I assumed it was wrong.

If it worked how I expected then it should be easy to create a plain box UV projector for something complex. I don’t understand why it can’t work just like the UVW map. Each face of the projector looks to the object using it’s normals and that’s it. There shouldn’t need to be any more funkyness going on there.

i tried making a box and a teapot (it’s just for a test of course) and tried to get the box to project it’s UVs to the teapot. I was hoping to get the same results as adding a UVWmap modifier to the teapot and choosing box map. No such luck. The map, once applied, looked like someone had strangle triangles all over the place.

Can anyone get that to work?


Isnt the projection modifier for baking normals only?
The first thing I was thinking about when entering this thread is that the subject would be normal maps.

Andrew: If you want a quick guide in how to bake normals onto the lowpoly, using the hipoly as a reference, then please tell me.

Everyone else: So, can you do anything else with the projection modifier, other than baking?



As soon as this modifier came out I asked the discreet guys at siggraph. They said…“sure it could be applied to other applications such as for uv mapping multiple objects as well. That’s easy”

Well, it doesn’t seem so easy now.


Well, it depends on. Creating normal maps is quite easy.
But from your quotation, I wouldnt understand the usage of the projection modifier.

If you want to make a normal map, you need to have the lowpoly UV-mapped, or let the “Render to texture” make an automatic unwrap for you.
Then, you pick the hipoly object as a normal-map projection-reference.
Last thing to do is to render.

Now, that wasnt a step-by step explanation, but rather a description of how simple it is to create a normal map.

If that is what you need, then just say the word.


that’s not at all what I need, but thanks, I appreciate it.
I just wanted to know if anyone had experience using the projection modifier for something Other than normal mapping as those instructions are rather clear already in the tutorials given to you through the help files. I can find those on my own.
Thanks though.

I am specifically wanting this for objects, or groups of objects even, that simply cannot be unwrapped.
Sometimes the shapes are simple like a bent handle, but the grain needs to follow the handle. That’s kinda hard if you can’t unwrap it, but you could easily create some simple geometry around it, unwrap that, and have the mapping information from that object projected to the first.


You may want to look at Chuggnut’s Maptheif it works like the projection modifier, but may give better results.



Projecting uv’s works reasonably well if your highpoly models are not too complex or selfintersecting and the lowpoly model is of similar shape.
There are huge problems around the uv-seams of the lowpoly, though, since Max won’t be able to tell where to put the seam on the highpoly. So if you have just a box for the lowpoly, that problem will be very evident cause you have those seams all over the place and many polies are not clearly assigned to a certain poly of the box. You can help that a bit probably (didn’t try it ) by assigning matching ID’s for that areas and tell the modifier to project only the corresponding ones. Also be sure to adjust the cage, like pixelmonkey said.
Alltogether projecting uv’s is quite unpredictable and needs a lot of cleaning up, so you’d be perhaps quicker by unwrapping the highpoly, especially considering the great unwrap tools that Max8 has now. Even matching uv’s to already existing layouts/bitmaps is quite comfortable with them, imho. If you have zillions of faces or if your geometry is faulty due to import reasons you could try to use procedural 3d textures and local uv-maps/masks for areas that need to be painted.


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