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Pixel Perfect Templates

Author: Crescent

Tools Needed


Need to quickly make a template so you can see exactly where each material goes?

Want to take advantage of the crisp, clean material lines?

This is the tutorial for you.

Step 1 - Why do it?

Why do this? Why make a template with each material on a separate layer?

1 - It's simple to match up seams when you can see where each material begins and ends.

2 - You can easily make trim by loading up a material as a selection, contracting (or expanding) the selection, and painting in the detail. (In Photoshop, you can even create paths from the selection and stroke the path with different brushes for very detailed trim.)

3 - You can get a better idea where on the texture you're detailing if you know which material you're working on at the time.

4 - To isolate materials that are surrounded by other materials, such as the lips on Michael or Victoria. (Not only does it keep the texture map clean by keeping colors inside the correct material zones, but it makes it easy to create textures with different colors/designs that easily swap out with MAT files, such as different lipstick options.)

5 - For body suits, it makes great generic superheroes - Clashman and Clashgirl! ;-)

Step 2 - UV Mapper, pt 1 - Isolating 1 Material

In UV Mapper:

1) Open up UV Mapper and import your item. (File: Open Model.) For this tutorial, I'm going to use the Michael 3 Body Suit, but this method will work with any mesh that has multiple materials. (By default, the suit can be found in Runtime:Geometries:DAZClothing:MilMan:M3.)

This will generate the UV map.


2) Click on Select: All then Select: Display: Hide. (That's Ctrl+A then [ for you keyboard gurus.) This will hide the entire map. Now go to Select: Deselect (Ctrl+D) so your template appears blank.

3) Now we need to select just one material and unhide it. Select: Select By: Material. (Ctrl+M.) For simplicity's sake, I'd suggest going alphabetically and selecting the first material on the list. For the body suit, that would be “Crew.”

Note: Normally I like to view my materials by color. However, some colors are pale and may not contrast well enough for the Magic Wand in Photoshop. I recommend keeping the entire template in black and white to avoid this problem.

4) Select: Display: Show. (That's the ] key.) Now you can see just the Crew portion of the body suit.

The first material has been isolated. It's time to save.

Step 3 - UV Mapper, pt 2 - Saving Each Material

5) Go to File: Save Template. Select the following options:

The “Exclude hidden facets” option will save just the material that is currently visible on your template map.

Note: You can set the size of the material to any size you want, but you MUST use the same size for each material you export.

Save the template as Bodysuit-Crew. (Or meshname-materialname if you're using a different mesh. Always include the material name in each template so you can keep track of them.)

6) Hide the material. Select: Display: Hide. (The good, old [ key again.)

7) Select the next material. Select: Select By: Material. (Ctrl+M.)

8) Show the material (Select: Display: Show or the ] key.)and save it.

9) Repeat as needed until all the materials have been saved individually.

Step 4 - Creating the template in layers

In Photoshop (or another image editing program):

1) Open up the first template. It will look something like this:

2) Use the Magic Wand tool to select the white area of the template map. Click somewhere in the large, white expanse - far away from the visible material.

3) Invert the selection. This will select just the material.

4) Create new layer. Give it the same name as the material.

5) Fill the selection(s) on that new layer with a bright, solid color.

Step 5 - Putting the layers together

6) Open up the next material and repeat the instructions in Step 4. Use a different, bright color each time. You want the colors to clash. It makes it easier to tell the materials apart. (Just don't make them clash so badly you can't look at the template!) ;-)

7) For Photoshop, hold down the Shift key and drag the new material layer to the first image. This will drop the layer on top and keep the correct location. Other photo-editing programs will have similar functions to align the layers properly.

YOU MUST ALIGN THE LAYERS! This is a jigsaw puzzle - each piece must be snapped back into it's original place.

8) Do this for each material, dragging the new layer to your original material, until you've built up the template.

Now you have each material on it's own layer.

9) Save the file as bodysuit-template.PSD. (Or whatever type of file that supports layers for your photo-editing program.)

Don't forget, you can always make a copy of this file and merge some layers together for ease of use. For example, if I wanted to make some pants for this body suit, I'd merge the hip, thigh, and shins together. I might also merge the other layers into a shirt.

You can also overlay the original wireframe template overtop the colored one for even better seam guides.

Now go forth and texture!