(Thumbnails may seem dead but if you click on them you'll see the acual images.)
This is part four of my knotted net tutorial. Access the previous parts here:
(You can get all files of this tutorial for free - scroll down to the end of the article to find out how)
Things You Will Need
*3ds max or other 3d authoring software
If you followed previous parts of this tutorial you should have a piece of net in the middle of the coordinate system. Now we want a plane on which to project the details of the high-poly net. Create a plane primitive using the Keyboard Entry rollout - this way the plane will be placed exactly where we want it - in the center of the coord system, nicely fitting inside the high-poly model. Since we didn't use precise measures until now Length and Width for the plane values will probably differ from what I have used, but make sure you Length and Width (i.e. create a square) are the same and the edges of the plane are intersecting the outer most knots of the net. This should give good results right off the bat. If you want absolutely perfect tiling you might have to do some editing.
We'll prepare the projection now. Select the plane and open the Render to Texture window (shortcut: 0(zero)-key). Under Projection Mapping place a checked on "Enabled", click the "Pick..." button and select the high poly net object. Also open up the Options window and turn off Ray miss check. In the Output rollout click "Add..." and add NormalsMap and AlphaMap and change the resolution for both to 512x512 (of course, use lower or higher resolution depending on your needs). Click Render.
You should be able to see the result, however the projection is not filling the whole image space. That's because when you do Render to Texture, MAX automatically applies an annoying Automatic Flatten Uvs modifier to the stack which only has one purpose - to screws up your UVs. :) Luckily in this case it's easy to fix.
Automatic Flatten Uvs works almost exactly as Unwrap UVW - the only diference is that it acts weird sometimes :). If you have problems with this step please leave a comment and I'll try to address the issue asap.
Switch on Face mode, select all faces of the plane, scroll down and find the Planer button - click it and it's done. Click Render again - now the projection should fill the image space nicely.
We've created normal and alpha map. They should be in ...My Documents3dsmaxsceneassetsimages, but depending on the version of MAX you're using they might be in a sub-directory of the 3dsmax folder. You might want to move them to another easily accessible folder.
Let's apply the maps to the Plane which we used for projection. Hide or move the high poly net out of the way and select the plane. Open up the material editor (M-key), select an unused material and scroll down to the Maps-rollout. What we need to do is apply the Alpha Map to the Opacity channel and the Normal Map to the Bump channel (the same way we did it in the previous part of the tutorial). Finally assign the material to the plane.
Do a test render. It should look something like this:
To see how the texture is tiling go to your map options and change the Tiling parameter. You should have the same value for both U and V parameters and for both the alpha map and the normal map.
Adding some Cloth-simulation and mental ray to the mix I got this:
Hope you were able to complete the tutorial! Please, leave a comment if you encounter any difficulties!
Get all files of the tutorial for free (you will have to register to turbosquid though. Sorry, wish there was a way around this :) )