Wings3D Soccer Ball Tutorial
Part 2: UV Texturing

Wings3D has very powerful and unique uv mapping capabilities. The standard mapping types (spherical, planar, etc.) have been replaced by just two types: projection and unfolding. Compared to other 3D apps, this may seem like a limitation. After all, the most logical way to wrap an image around a ball is to use spherical mapping.

Blender's spherical mapping, along with a seamless spherical image map, was used to render my example image and the results speak for themselves. The problem is that creating such a map is not easy. So we will use Wings' AutoUV approach to achieve the same results. Follow the steps below to add UV coordinates to the soccer ball. Jump to Part 1.

  1. Let's begin by going back to step 2 of part 1 and making a few simple changes before extruding the faces. Our goal is to generate discontinuous and undistorted uv coordinates for each of the 32 panels on the ball. In order to do this with the autouv function, we must ensure that no two faces that share an edge have the same material.
  2. Right click on the Outliner window and create a new material, name the material "Black," and set the color to black or dark grey. A neat shortcut is to drag the black box from the emission field to the diffuse field. Select all 12 pentagons and assign this material to them by right clicking on "Black" in the Outliner window and select Assign to Selection.
  3. Now create a "Red" material (the exact color is not important). Press 'X' to view along the x-axis and you should see two hexagons side by side. Select the top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right hexagons. Now view along the negative x-axis and select the 4 hexagons on that side also. Assign the red material to these 8 faces.
  4. Now create a "Green" material. There should now be 6 pairs of faces (with the default grey color) that have not been assigned. Select one face from each pair and assign the green material to these 6 faces.
  5. At this point, all faces that share an edge will have a different material. Continue with steps 2 through 7 of part 1 and finish modeling the ball. Note that step 7 has changed slightly due to a minor modification in the later releases (98% instead of -2%).
  6. Our pre-segmented model is now ready to receive uv coordinates. In body mode, select and right click on the object and select UV Mapping. Right click in the AutoUV window that pops up and select Continue>Projection. Warning: Do not click on Segment By! The AutoUV window shows a nice, neat stack of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons.
  7. To clean up the map, right click and select Create Texture to access the Draw Options Menu. Select Draw Border Edges, and make sure to uncheck all of the other options. Click OK and close the AutoUV window, if you wish.
  8. Choose File->Export->Wavefront to export the uv-mapped model to soccer.obj. The accompanying image map, which is usually named diffuse.tga, will also be exported automatically.
  9. Open diffuse.tga in your favorite image editing application and use it as a template to position your smaller images. Create a new layer and drag/drop or paint your logos over each hexagon and pentagon as desired. When you are done, delete the background layer and save your image map. Steps A and B are for PhotoShop users:
    1. Create a new 80x80 document and use the Marquee tool to create a red circle. Select all and copy to clipboard. This will be used as the logo for the hexagons. Select the magic wand tool (W key) and click anywhere inside a hexagon. Now choose Paste and the logo will be perfectly centered in the hexagon (pretty neat, right?). Repeat for the other hexagons and do something similar for the pentagons.
    2. Time to clean up the map. In the layers palette, click to highlight the Background layer. Select all and press Delete to fill with white. Select Flatten Image and save to (overwrite) diffuse.tga.
  10. Now open the Outliner Window in Wings, right click on diffuse and select Refresh to see your painted map. (This works only if you still have the soccer mesh loaded and as soon as you have applied the UV coordinates).
  11. Start your rendering application, load your object and apply the image you just created. View the applied map in real-time (if supported by your app) or do a test rendering and see how your logos look on the soccer ball's surface.
  12. You can now apply smoothing (Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces) and the uv coordinates will be automatically interpolated.

So now you have a nice uv-mapped soccer ball that is ready to be lit and rendered. So paint some nice original logos, add some noise/dirt/grime, finish it off with a subtle application of a bump map, and you should get professional quality results in no time. Don't forget to send me the urls of any nice renderings that you create.

There's an old version in the BMRT section that was done without modeling the actual geometry; it just uses a single spherical bump-map. Compare it to this one to see the difference.

This is my first uv-mapping tutorial for Wings, so I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. And let me know if there are any errors or omissions.

This page was last revised on May 30, 2003
Copyright © 2003 Anthony D'Agostino
All rights reserved.