21 Replies Latest reply on Jun 19, 2017 11:16 AM by Chris Dordoni

    UV Unwrapping Advice

    Alexander Smith

      Hi Everyone.

       

      I am a Solidworks 2015 user and a Visualize 2017 pro user. I am hoping to get some advice on how to UV unwrap a model and apply a texture that I can render within Visualize.

       

      I'm a total newbie at this, though I know I need to learn it. A friend suggested using Blender to do it, though I really struggled with the interface. Is there a 3rd party software that any of you use to create UV textures?

       

      Any advice?

       

      Message was edited by: Alexander Smith

        • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
          Andreas Olofsson

          Hi Alexander,

          I feel you and I absolutely agree about Blender's UI.

          One software that I've come across many years ago is UVLayout. I haven't personally used it with my SW to Visualize workflow, but I think it ought to be able to get the job done.

          It's pretty easy to use, check out the videos section for tutorials.

           

          Good luck!

              • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                Andreas Olofsson

                Don't know why that would be. I've personally downloaded both the trial and purchased the full version and my computer is virus-free.

                  • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                    Chris Dordoni

                    Does Visualize support loading mesh models with UVs and maps?

                      • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                        Andreas Olofsson

                        Yes. Unless I'm mistaken Visualize converts imported CAD data into polygonal geometry and generates a UV map for it by default. Just make sure your model's texture mapping is set to "UV".

                        So a workflow for UV mapping geometry from SW would be to import the model into Visualize, where it is converted to polygons.

                        Export as .OBJ and import that into UVLayout.

                        Unwrap and export back to Visualize.

                          • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                            Alexander Smith

                            Hi Andreas

                             

                            I have not experienced Visualize making UV maps like the flat patterns, I have spoken with members of the team at Visualize and they don't have any in app UV unwrapping, which is frustrating as I like using the 'monitor file' functionality to keep in touch with the changes made in my engineering models.

                             

                            Regarding exploring .obj files, As far as I was aware SW2015 standard doesn't have capability to export .obj files does it?

                             

                            Thank you though for the suggestion for UVLayout I will take a look at it.

                              • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                Andreas Olofsson

                                You can't export .OBJs from SW, no. What I meant is that you can export .OBJs from Visualize.

                                 

                                But yeah, there's a reason I don't use UVLayout in my CAD workflow, since engineers constantly update models. You'd have to UV unwrap every time, which would get rather tedious.

                                Frustrating indeed.

                                 

                                There must be some sort of automatic UV generation going on when stuff gets imported into Visualize. The default texture mapping is set to "UV". If a model doesn't have any UVs at all you won't be able to see the appearance's texture on the model.

                                 

                                If you've assigned textures to your model in Solidworks I think that gets translated to UVs once it's been imported to Visualize.

                                So you could try to map a texture to the best of your ability by assigning it to faces or w/e within SW and tweaking the projection to get it where you want it.

                                Then when you import to Visualize your texture will be mapped the same way as in SW, as long as the model's texture mapping is set to "UV". And then you'd be able to monitor your file and still maintain your texture placement.

                                 

                                I've tried this though and it did not work very well for me for a variety of reasons. I've come to terms with having to settle with box mapping.

                                  • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                    Alexander Smith

                                    I see.

                                     

                                    Yes the thing that I am struggling with is how to render bent wood. So the direction of the grain should follow the complex curvature of a piece of 3d steam bent wood. Unfortunately short of UV unwrapping and therefore doing so as an export from an .OBJ file there is no way to do that with the current mapping functions such as sphere, box, cylinder etc. So I think until SWV finds a way to build that functionality into the software whilst retaining monitor file, I will have to make sure that I only UV unwrap at the very end, once I have proved a design is not going to need adjusting.

                                     

                                    But yes, it would be better if it was in the software itself..

                                     

                                    Thanks for the advice, I usually do a version of what you are suggesting in SW by attributing certain colours to specific grain directions  or which transpose as specific materials but depending on which import option you use that can also get messed about with..

                                      • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                        Andreas Olofsson

                                        Ah yes, you can only do so much with the basic mapping options that are available today... I empathize with you.

                                        Definitely sounds like you should give UVLayout a try for the scenario you describe. But as you say, you'd have to wait until you've reached a "final" state... If one can ever reach that.

                                         

                                        I learned in school to never name a project file xxxx_final. Because that'll only evolve into xxxx_final2, xxxx_final2b, xxxx_final453 etc... Nothing's ever final Mentally prepare yourself to have to UV unwrap the same model more than once...

                                          • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                            Alexander Smith

                                            Yes thats why I always start at 000 then 001 etc .... still to hit revision 999 hope it never happens.

                                             

                                            I'm looking ate videos now so it looks like it might be a perfect little add on for me to use. The next thing is to understand how I apply the actual texture, bump map etc as I don't really know the process for that yet. Once one has un-wrapped the shape into flat components, is this done in photoshop?

                                              • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                                Andreas Olofsson

                                                Hey Alexander,

                                                Yes, you can do that in PS. In that case you'd want to render out the UV layout to an image file.

                                                Check out this section: UVLayout Docs: User Guide: Render

                                                 

                                                I haven't tried the settings myself but from looking at them I'd go with something like:

                                                AA Lines enabled

                                                Fill Polys disabled

                                                Alpha enabled

                                                Smooth SUBD UVs disabled

                                                Dashed Valley Folds disabled

                                                Set the image resolution and save it out.

                                                 

                                                Then use that as an overlay atop your texture layers and paint with the lines as a guide.

                                                 

                                                EDIT:

                                                I just remembered that PS has the ability to import an .OBJ and then let the user paint directly on it or load the mesh's UV layout in a 2D layer workflow similar to what I described above. But I personally haven't gotten into the whole 3D bit of PS so I can't help you there.

                                        • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                          Chris Dordoni

                                          Alexander,

                                           

                                          You could try this macro Free Solidworks OBJ Exporter v2.0

                                           

                                          On the last page (the thread is over 20 pages long) there is some discussion about being able to export an OBJ directly from Visualize.

                              • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                Chris Dordoni

                                Brian Hillner

                                 

                                Brian, could you clarify if Visualize will import a mesh and maintain any existing UVs and mapping?

                                • Re: UV Unwrapping Advice
                                  Brian Hillner

                                  THANK YOU everyone on this thread for the help and comments.

                                  It's very much appreciated!

                                   

                                  UPDATE:

                                  We have on our roadmap a plan to implement a solution in this UV unwrapping workflow. It is very difficult to find a silver bullet for this feature request, but please note we are working to find the perfect solution. The end result will hopefully make your lives easier and finally solve this historically pain-in-the-neck workflow.