Untextured 3D Model - Best Practices?

inScapeDigital Posts: 709 Just Starting Out*

I found this model of a spaceship on Turbosquid. It works in HitFilm, although I did have to checkmark "Unify Normals" and set it to "Generate Faceted + Auto Smoothing" to get rid of some of the blocky cut out pieces. I don't know what any of that means, so if someone could explain I'd appreciate it.

My main question is this: the model itself is untextured. I know nothing about UV wrapping/texturing models, so I'm wondering what the best approach for this would be? I threw on a simple grunge texture as the Diffuse in HitFilm, but I know that's definitely not the proper way to do things.


  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,171 Expert

    @inScapeDigital I downloaded this model cause it looks cool and will play around with it.   I'm looking forward to the answers you get because I am in the same boat about texturing and uv wrapping.  Hopefully @spydurhank will chime in cause he's got that **** down cold.  All his textures look so real.

  • JMcAllister
    JMcAllister Posts: 593 Enthusiast


    Blender is your friend-er. 

  • Stargazer54
    Stargazer54 Posts: 3,740 Ambassador

    @inScapeDigital I'm afraid you're going to have to bring your model into Blender (or another 3D package) and do the UV mapping there.   Since it is a native Blender model then you are at least in luck there since Blender is free.

    I use Lightwave, but I know a guy who is a master at texturing in Blender.

    Calling @spydurhank . . .

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,511 Ambassador
    edited March 2017

    Hoo, boy, I know just enough about this topic to say it might be beyond the scope of this forum. 

    It's a bit like when a Hitfilm newbie asks how to "make a Star Wars type UI," which means create the graphics, animate the graphics, then do screen replacement with the graphics and the user is totally unaware of the existence of masking tools and the lightning effect, so you're really being asked for a complete course on Hitfilm.

    You'll need a full-3D program to correctly break down the model into bits to paint, so, if you don't have one, go download Blender then start the YouTube tutorials on the interface. 

    Here's the basic (conceptual) steps for the process. 

    First you'll probably want to fix the geometry issues. Blender has a one-click button to face all normals outwards, so this isn't that hard. It's buried in the Object menu... 

    So, to UV unwrap you first have to break the model into correct groups. For this particular model you probably (certainly) need multiple groups/textures. On the other hand, certain things can be reused--like once you define and texture one solar panel/radiator you can reuse the same map for each one. 

    For each model group you'll have to "slice" some seams for the unwrapping. This is the true art of the process. Imagine slicing an orange skin and trying to stretch it flat. In reality it won't work... You need multiple slices and get gaps in the skin--well, the computer will help stretch things so they don't gap, but that's image distortion, so, usually you're setting slices to pick your gaps and try to get good, flat areas to pain..  Still, conceptually, you try to slice things to get a flat wrao to define XY texture coordinates (and it IS XY coordinates. UV is used to avoid confusion with XY transformations. 

    If you slice and flatten correctly you'll have a map of "islands" of polys, which you'll see as a flat "grid" (mostly triangles as the grid is poly edges) which you should be able to more or less "read" as the correct shapes. 

    Then its paint and repaint until it looks good. 

    @spydurhank is, of course, a Blender expert @Asshan is a relative Blender newbie who is already attaining gorgeous results, so I'm sure they might have specific Blender hints. My advice is still get Blender and start Youtubing tutorials. Interface first, then you can skip to unwrapping/texturing tutorials for now. 

    Oh--generating normals in Hitfilm. Picture a tabletop. Put a pencil in the middle, perpendicular to the surface. The table is a poly. The pencil represents a normal. The normal is an imaginary line perpendicular to the face of the poly which defines its facing--a poly has a "front" but no "back." So the normal defines the "front" and is also the reference line used to calculate angle of incidence/reflection for lighting. 

    Generate/Unify normals in Hitfilm attempts to correct incorrectly pointed normals. Faceted/smoothing is telling Hitfilm/any render engine if something is "flat" or "curved" since all polys are flat. 

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,613 Enthusiast

    I've been You-tubing tuts and Blendering in cycles for a few weeks now. Man are there a lot of commands to remember!

    Right now I'm struggling with just putting seams on a sphere so I can unwrap the sphere and put a uv map on it.  (S)calling the seam to top/bottom of a sphere is a bit tough...but I'll get it.

    You know I'll be watching this thread :-)