Using UVW Mapping Texture Technique in 3D Studio Max

By Stealth Snake | 3D Studio Max | Intermediate

This tutorial will teach you how to use the UVW mapping texture technique in 3DS Max in order to be able to apply complex textures to your created models. The UVW mapping technique involves the creation of a 'template map' which we extract, colour and then stitch back onto the model as a texture. Unlike our previous UVW and Unwrap UVW Maps Tutorial, we are going to apply the texture using a single map instead of creating multiple ones for the various sections in the model and this is the method that is usually used for creating textures in games. This is an intermediate level tutorial, you are assumed to have decent knowledge on how to use Max. Our tutorial is not going to cover any modeling, please download the house model to be used in this tutorial here.

Unwrap UVW Mapping of model to single UV Map for Texture Making - Game Texturing

Applying Unwrap UVW Mapping

Once you have the model you downloaded opened, start off by selecting the house and then accessing the Modify tab and applying Unwrap UVW from the Modifier List to the house. On the Editing the Stack box list, click the plus sign + next to Unwrap UVW modifier to unveil a three item sub list. The three available options (Vertex, Edge, and Face) make it possible for us select a group or a single vertex, an edge or a face from the viewport. We are going to use the most common option Face, so go ahead and select it.

Unwrap WUV Mapping to The House Roof

Go back to the scene and select all the faces that form the roof. You will have to hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard while doing this process to be able to select multiple objects at the same time. Once you are done, look for the Parameter rollout and click on Edit, the Edit UVWs window shall open up. You might not recognise the red shape, this is the initial UV mapping with other selected faces which we shall modify .


While the Edit UVWs window is still open, access the Modify tab, scroll down to Map Parameters, then click on Planar and that shall change the UV mapping on the Edit UVW window. Finally, make sure you uncheck the Normalize Map option before you move to the next step.

Note: Once you uncheck the Normalize Map option, the UV Map of the roof should fill your Edit UVWs window. You will have to zoom out using the mouse scroll wheel to be able to see it. The Normalize Map option is turned off to prevent the UV Map from being scaled to fit the texture area, which is not a 1:1 scale, un-Normalized UVs are easier to draw texture on.

You can try using the other available options for map parameters: Pelt, Cylindrical, Spherical, Box, Align X, Align Y and Align Z. It would be a good practice for you to test how those other options map the selected faces.

Back on track, hit the Planar button once again to deactivate it. You will now be able to move the UV map of the selected faces to the side. You may need to zoom out and rescale the image down using a 1:1 scale. This was done to make it easier to work with the UV Maps as this creates a larger workspace to work with other UV maps that will be created later on.

Note: Use the Move and Scale tools found on the Edit UVWs Window,

Adding the chimney UV Maps to Unwrap UVW Mapping

In the viewport, select all the faces that form the chimney. You might need to minimize the Edit UVWs window for a better view. While those faces are selected, access the Map Parameter rollout, click the Cylindrical button and then finally hit the Fit button to fit the UV map to the size of the chimney. Deactivate the Cylindrical map parameter and use the Move and Scale tools to place the UV map somewhere next to the roof of the UV Map.


You should use the method that we have just repeated to unwrap the rest of the models using Planar, Pelt, Cylindrical, Spherical or Box. Here is another quick summary on how to do it:

  1. Select the faces you want to map, e.g. the front walls.
  2. Use one of the mapping parameters, Planar, Pelt, Cylindrical, Spherical or Box, you may also need to use one of the align tools e.g. Align X, Align Y, Align Z.
  3. Deactivate the parameter you used and then Move or Scale the UV mapping and place it somewhere next to the previous UV map.
  4. Repeat to map all the faces of the model.

Here are some screenshots illustrating the way I mapped all the needed faces. (Click to enlarge.)


You should end up with a map similar to the one you see below. I rearranged mine for easier texture editing. We have our UVs Maps ready, the next step is to take them to an image editor to draw the actual textures on them now. We are going to render the UV Maps to get an image of the UVs Maps. Go through Tools>Render UV Template. The UVs Render window shall open, change the width and height to 512 pixels and hit the Render UV Template button. Once the render is complete, save the file and open it in your image editor.

Creating the Texture in an External Image Editor

This tutorial is not going to cover the process of creating the actual texture in an external image editor. You can use any editor that is capable of saving images in a JPEG, GIF, PNG or PSD formats (I created mine using Adobe Fireworks). You must make sure not to alter the dimensions of the map during this process, you may reduce the overall size of it as long as you maintain the same aspect ratio. Once you finish creating your texture using the UVs render as a reference, save in the JPEG, GIF, PNG or PSD file formats and head back to Max.

Applying the Texture to the House

Hit M on your keyboard to open the Material Editor, select a free slot and click the box next to Diffuse. Select Bitmap from the list and then browse for the texture you made and hit OK. Select the house model on the scene and click on the Assign Material to Selection button Assign Material to Selection Button on the Material Editor. Do not forget to click on Show Map on Viewport Show Map on Viewport button to be able to see the texture on the scene.

The texture should perfectly fit as long as you do not add any more objects to the model. You can see the result I got below, I colored each UV map in a different color so that you can easily see it on the model.

This concludes our tutorial, I hope that you learnt how to texture using UVs Mapping. Please feel free to ask any questions you have at the Forum.

Links to related tutorials:

- End of Tutorial