UV Texture Maps

With 3D models in such high demand in today’s media world, UV texture maps become increasingly important. UV texture maps help to make a 3D model look realistic and can help it blend in better with real footage. Every 3D modeling software has tools that allow you to either directly paint onto the 3D model itself or export a UV Map that you can then paint onto in Photoshop or Gimp.

Creating layers of textures allow you to fine tune the look of any 3D model. Some of the most commonly used texture maps are diffuse, specular, and bump or normal maps. When combined together they can yield amazing results. Watch the short video below:

The diffuse maps allow you to choose the color scheme that you want your model to have. Below is an example of a diffuse map of a 3D model from our Video Copilot collection. After a UV map was exported from the 3D modeling software it was then painted in Photoshop to create the colors that would be applied to this model.

Diffuse map for 3d model

Diffuse map for 3d model

Specular maps allow you to add areas of highlights to your model. These are generally areas that when lit will shine brightest. Below is the specular map for the same model. Even though this is a black and white image it allows for lights added to your project to highlight the brighter areas and create a high sheen.

Specular Map for 3D model.

Specular Map for 3D model.

Bump and Normal maps allow for even greater 3D textures by creating a map that gives your 3D model added contours. These maps are very important in fine tuning detail and creating shadows from the lights that are present in your project.

Normal map for 3D model.

Normal map for 3D model.

UV texture maps are an essential component when creating a realistic render of any 3D model. It is becoming an art form in and of itself, as you can see from the final render video above of the model with all three textures applied.

If you are interested in learning more about 3D modeling and texturing, Lynda.com (available in Studio 300) offers classes for some of the major 3D modeling software such as Maya, Cinema 4D, and Blender (also available in Studio 300).