Maya UV Notes

Maya UVs

Maya’s unwrapping tools have had a nice overhaul in 2015 the following video goes over some of the new features. It’s the same process as 2014 with ZBrush on this page except we now can unwrap in Maya.

Main Points
– Unfold now works well
1. UV map with a planar map
2. Select Edges: UV Editor Window > Polygons > Cut UV Edges
3. Unfold the UVs: UV Editor Window > Polygons > Unfold (with default settings)
– Bonus tools has a nice interface for unfolding with symmetry, a default grid image extra features
– Proportional for packing (layout) UVs has been improved: UV Editor Window > Polygons > Layout
– Default chequered shader in the UV editor (grid icon) the random white lines are numbers of the tile
– Distortion shading: Turn off image and grid shading and click > Display UV Distortion icon
– Use soft select to even out distortion
– store edges as selection sets for cutting seams
– bonus tools > align UVs will align symmetrical part of the mesh if wanting to save UV texture space
– the unfold tool (options) has some nice packing settings

2015 Updates


I’ve also noticed that sometimes meshes that are symmetrical won’t UV unwrap symmetrically. I’e been told a trick is to select only that shell and try to unwrap again. That should force the UVs symmetrical. *I haven’t tested that yet.


Default Unwrap Modes

More times than not the unfold feature now in 2015 is more than enough to unwrap most objects. But there are occasions where it’s simpler to unwrap in other ways.

You can unwrap in maya to a few primitive defaults. One method is to duplicate your object then manually model it so it resembles more of a primitive shape, then use

Mesh > Transfer Attributes

To transfer the UVs later.
These are the main Unwrap options

(Polygons Menu) > Create UVs > Planar (options: usually projection type camera)
(Polygons Menu) > Create UVs > Cylindrical
(Polygons Menu) > Create UVs > Spherical
(Polygons Menu) > Create UVs > Automatic (planar from multiple sides)

If you loose the manipulator tool for the UV method, simply find the node in the channel box, click on it and hit “t” to bring it back.


Create/Transfer UVs After Skinning

8. Applying UVs to a Skinned Mesh Without Adding History
To transfer UVs without adding history we can transfer the UVs to a hidden node called the Original Node. This is easy to do and for more info you can check out this Zeth Willie 10 Min Tutorial where he explains the process in detail.

The shortened version is…
1. select the skinned mesh and open it in the node editor (can also use the hypergraph or hypershade)
2. trace back to the tweak node and find the original node (OriginalShapeNode). It will be called something like NameShape1Orig
3. Open that node in the Attribute Editor and find Object Display > Visibility
4. Check off Intermediate Object. This will display it in the 3d view.
5. Select the UV’d mesh and the OriginalShapeNode and transfer UVs as per normal.
6. Select the OriginalShapeNode only and delete it’s history
7. Make OriginalShapeNode an intermediate object again by checking on “Intermediate Object”


UV Maps

You can find many UV maps on the web here on google

Keep in mind in 2015 we can now also hit the UV Grid icon in the UV Texture Window with an object selected.



It’s handy to be able to see our UV seams while we’re unwrapping, you can find and adjust the size of UV seams (texture borders) here

Display > Polygon > Custom polygon display


Transferring UVs

Mesh >Transfer Attributes (options: component)


Editing UVs

snaps the selected face to 0-1 texture space
1. Select Faces
2. UV > Normalize (be sure to have deleted the “transfer attributes” node, by deleting history)
3. UV Texture Window > Polygons > Layout is also a good way of laying out multiple meshes

Select Shell selects all the verts associated with a UV mesh, it’s very handy
1. Select a UV vert
2. Right Click in the UV editor > Select Shell

Relax is the way to smooth out UVs in texture space

A nice video on UVs in Maya (now outdated by Maya 2015 new tools).



Andrew Silke

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