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Maya: How to Properly Use Automatic Unwrap to Quickly UV Your Assets

Category: Maya
June 09, 2023

If you've been UVing in Maya then you already know about Automatic Unwrap. It's a way to UV your assets quickly by running one command.

But most beginners make the mistake of using Automatic Unwrap and calling it done.

Automatic creates problems such as:

  • Too many UV shells split up randomly
  • Too many texture seams

You need to minimize the amount of UV shells you have and minimize the texture seams.

Automatic Unwrap should be used on box-like meshes that have 6 sides. Some examples are hard-surface geometry like furniture and architecture.

Avoid using Automatic on organic and cylindrical shapes. This will give you too many UV shells that will be difficult to fix.

Video Tutorial

Steps to Properly Use Automatic Unwrap

First, turn on Shaded Mode and Texture Borders to make UVing easier:

  • Toggle Texture Borders = 9
  • Shaded Mode = 5

Texture Borders will show you where there are texture seams by displaying a thick white line:

Shade Mode will display which UV shells are inside-out.

  • Red = UV shells that are inside-out and need to be flipped
  • Blue = UV shells that are correctly oriented

Select the object and run Create > Automatic:

Now you clean up the Automatic by using Move/Sew and Stitch Together operations to minimize amount of UV shells you have and texture seams.

You can find Move/Sew and Stitch Together in UV Toolkit:

Under Sew > Move and Sew and Sew > Stitch Together:

And with a shortcut key when you have edges selected inside the UV Editor:

  • Shift + Right Click Hold = UV Context Menu

UVs are an Essential Part of the Pipeline

UVs are an essential part of the asset creation pipeline. In Module 3 of the Maya Foundation: Home-Study Course you will learn how to UV from the beginning.

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