Texturing Overview


Smoothing UVs

First of all when we’re importing and generating texture maps between programs it’s important to make sure we’re always smoothing UVs for hires (subd) characters and objects. Most important is the mudbox settings!

Maya will have smoothed UVs on by default you can see the difference below.

Smoothed UVs


Not Smoothed UVs

Note: UV borders aren’t smoothed by default in Maya or Mudbox. So our UV borders can stay hard. That’s ok.


Mudbox Smooth UVs

By default Mudbox 2014 seems to have Subdivide UVs and Smooth UVs ticked off. This won’t match Maya. Go

Mesh > Add New Subdivision Level Options > check both Subdivide UVs and Smooth UVs

Resulting Settings in the Mudbox UV Editor…



UV Tiles allow us to have gain texture resolution on a model by assigning multiple image maps to a single object.


Multi UV Tile Setup in Mudbox

Mudbox autamatically recognises multi tiled UVs. Sweet! It will automatically extract maps with multiple textures too.

Couple of things to remember
1. When object turn a strange colour blue that potentially means it’s trying to save memory by not displaying the textures. Press up with the cursor over the object to show the textures.

up arrow (mouse over) = show textures
ctrl + up arrow = show all textures.

2. Try to use tifs, Mudbox won’t display some types such as png.

3. Mudbox assigns a naming convention to the end of each texture. Eg.


the u and v represents the offset in tile space. U1_v1 is the same as the default UV Space in Maya.

Importing Tiled Textures into Mudbox (via Photoshop)
Name your textures correctly and Mudbox only needs one texture and automatically sets the other tiles up for you. naming convention is


One tile right would be

One tile down would be

Digital Tutors Multi Tiled Textures 7 min


Multi UV Tile Setup in Maya

New way of doing UV tiles in 2015

Setting up multi tiles in Maya is as always a bit of a pain.

There’s a couple of ways to do it.
1. Maya Dirty Method
Create Separate Shaders and individually assign them to the faces. The UVs will tile automatically by default settings. If you’ve imported from mudbox, mudbox sets up it’s shaders this way.

2. Recommended: Use a Layered Texture Node
The Layered Texture node is the nice way to do layered textures, once you do this a few times it becomes very easy, and means you only need one shader for an object. There’s an important checklist to follow…

1. Create a layered texture node in the texture slot

For each texture use the following steps 2 – 8.

2. Create a new texture in the layered texture
3. Find your file texture for the tile in your browser
3. Set the default colour of the texture to black
4. In it’s place2dtextureNode, turn off “wrap” for both U and V
5. Now in the place2dtextureNode adjust the “Translate Frame” the uv tile to it’s correct position
Default position is 0,0 one to the right is 1,0 one down is 0,-1 etc.
7. Back in the Layered Texture node set the Blend Mode to “Add”, all textures should be set to this
8. If layering displacement or bump and working in 32 linear color
Set color Profile to “Linear sRGB” For other textures leave as default colour profile, unless you are using 32 bit texture maps.

Repeat steps 1 – 8 for each tile.

Layered Texture Tutes


Digital Tutors – Layer Texture Tute.

3. Use a Plus Minu Average Node to split up Your Textures
The Layered Texture method has been claimed to be buggy, I haven’t found this but if so there’s a 3rd method, guaranteed to work.


Multiple UV Tile Setup in ZBrush

In ZBrush we paint with polypaint where each polygon represents a pixel, so no need for UVs. However when it comes to exporting we need to use the Multi Map Exporter

Z Plugin > Multi Map Exporter

Once all the maps have been exported you’ll notice that we need to flip the v direction on all the maps. We can do that in ZBrush or in Photoshop.

To Import multi UV textures we have to divide our object into polygroups and hide everything we don’t need while we’re converting the textures to polypaint.

Digital Tutors Multi UV Map ZBrush

(old below)
Multiple Tiled UV textures can be exported from ZBrush, however it’s reported not to be great for Normal Maps.

1. Bring in your object into zbrush with its multi tiled uvs
2. Make polygroups from your UV Groups
polygroups – uvgroups
This will set up a group for each uv tile.
3. Do your sculpting/texturing
4. When Exporting hide the polygroups you don’t wish to Unwrap. Do each tile one at a time.
ctrl + shift + click on your model to select the group/tile you want to map and hide the other pieces.
Then make you map.

You cant make a normal map this way as zbrush won’t calculate them evenly if you hide a piece of the model. Mudbox is better for doing this.

There are ways to get a normal map out of ZBrush with Tiled UVs but the easiest thing is to make uv sets and just have one map for the normal map and multi maps of col/displacement ect. Or use mudbox.


Exporting Displacement Maps In ZBrush/Mudbox

Displacement Article (ZBrush/Mudbox to Maya Vray or Arnold)

This one covers ZBrush to VRay


Exporting Normal Maps from ZBrush to Maya. *Could be for low poly

1. Sculpt the hires, go to your lowest resolution
2. Go to the UV Palette and set the texture resolution (if use highest you can always scale down later in PShop)
3. Click normal map
4. click on tangent (we always use tangent space normals)
5. For exporting to maya leave all blank
6. Clone NM
7. Go to texture “flip v”
8. go to texture click export



Mari is a highend 3d texturing tool. At this stage I don’t support it. But getting started videos can be found here…


Andrew Silke

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