easy UV mapping in Maya

Easy UV mapping in Maya 2015 and 2016

Did you know that there is an easy, push-button solution for UV mapping in Maya? A tool that automates the entire process of UV mapping? I can show you a way of easy UV mapping in Maya, using a tool so easy that a beginner can master it in seconds.

At long last: easy UV mapping in Maya! 

UV mapping has always been the part of the creation process I hate most. It just feels counter productive – like, I’ve already constructed this character, now I have to take it apart? Tedious!

This was largely because Maya’s UV mapping tools lagged behind the times. For quick, efficient UV mapping, you had to go outside of Maya.

But no more!

So… what changed? In a word:

Unfold 3D

Maya 2015 introduces the new Unfold 3D algorithm, now standard in all versions going forward. Unfold 3D  unwraps our UVs into smart, distortion-free shells. This makes for very easy UV mapping in Maya now.

Essentially, we can be as sloppy as we like with our initial UV projections, and Unfold 3D will clean up the mess and leave with great looking UV mapping!

And the first part of the video shows exactly this – quickly grabbing selections of faces, using the Planar Mapping projection directly in the UV Editor, Sewing the pieces together, and then letting Unfold 3D take care of the hard work. Voila, easy UV mapping in Maya!

But, there is an even easier way…

Bonus Tools for Maya 2015 & 2016

Download the latest set of Autodesk’s Maya Bonus Tools, and you’ll find a tool called the Auto Unwrap UVs Tool.

With this tool, you simply select the edges that you want to define your UV seams. When you click go, the tool takes care of projecting each separate part and Unfolding it for you. An entire character can be finished in just a few minutes – if not seconds. SUPER easy UV mapping in Maya!

Easy and fast UV mapping

Maya 2015 (or newer) is the perfect place for a beginner to start UV mapping – the new tools here make it practically automatic. Want to see more about UV mapping, seam placement, and how it used to be done? See my other UV mapping in Maya post! If nothing else, you’ll get a good sense of how hard UV mapping used to be!

15 thoughts on “Easy UV mapping in Maya 2015 and 2016”

  1. Thank you James for making this tutorial – I have struggled for a long time with UVs and this 15 minutes was like an awakening for me.

  2. This is a great tutorial! Unfortunately, I don’t believe that they have unfold 3d for Maya 2017, as far as I can see. However, the auto unwrap tool is there.

    1. It’s still there, I used it recently. The latest service pack totally revamps the UV editor though, so it is probably hidden somewhere different now!

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