Doing a 3D UV map for twisted wires?

is there a way to make a 3D UV map around a cylinder
to show some twisted wires see pic

but don’t want to use the rope method with curves , array
with the screw modifier!
too many verts

need something looking good in 3D but very low poly


i want to make a scene with around 800 of these twisted wires
so have to be low poly

thanks for any feedback
happy bl

Maybe using just the textures from a tutorial making a highpoly rope an using it on low poly… maybe:


i got such example already but way too high res!
not certain how this could be use around a cylinder !

i did a medium res one and for 8 objects and i get 4 K verts
and i need another 83 like that
plus other things in the scene

so my PC would blow up LOL

happy bl

I didn’t meant doing the tut. Just use a simple cylinder and use the maps.

i’ll do a test and see how it looks

happy bl

did a first test on 3D cylinder
but did only 2 cylindrical unwrap 180 Deg

not even certain if you can do that !

does not look nice on all sides

happy bl

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It doesnt look good from all sides because your normal map isnt tileable on X axis (outer edges of the spiral on the normal texture are bent, so the normal map wont match at the seam). Your normal map needs to be something like stack of cylinders at an angle; this way you can get it to wrap around nicely

can you elaborate on this and how to do it ?

is there another free soft out there that can do it quicker
then in blender ?

happy bl

Here’s how I did it. I made the cables, built a cylinder around it, unwrapped and aligned the latter, then baked it all down to a normalmap. The resulting normal might look a little weird, but it tiles seamlessly all the way around.

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Less optimized, but in full 3d:
you can build an helix curve and change the curve’s parameters by distance from the camera.

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@skuaxit is not about how to make rope wire mesh
i know how todo it
it is more about getting min verts counts and a good render in 3D


not certain what you do after adding cylinder to unwrap !

would it be possible to do a step by step or a video to show what you did ?

or may be there is an external soft that can do it quicker!

happy bl

It’s pretty quick and easy in Blender. I did that whole thing in 5 minutes, and it only took that long because I had to look up a quick tutorial to remind me how to make ropes and cables.

First, make your cable, and encompass it with your low poly cylinder that’s to be baked to. Unwrap the latter, and align it on your UV grid however you feel like. The default is fine, though I rotated mine 90 degrees for the sake of the demonstration.

Create a new material for your low poly cylinder. Slap an image node into the scene, but don’t connect it to anything. On the image node itself, hit “New”, and make it a blank 1024x1024 texture, no alpha.

Now, go to your render properties tab, set your Render Engine to Cycles. Move down, and expand the Bake menu, set Bake Type to Normal, Space should be Tangent, then check the Selected to Alpha box, and set your max ray distance to something like 0.2 m. Output should be Image Textures, and make your margin something like 4-8 px.

Now you’re ready to bake the texture. First, select the cable, then select the cylinder to be baked to. The cable should have a dark orange outline, and the cylinder a light orange one. This is what selected to active does. the active is your cylinder, the selected your high poly cable. Hit the Bake button, wait a second or two, and you should have your normalmap. Save the image in the UV editor, set the color space on your image node to Non-Color (can’t stress this enough), hook it up to the normal node on your Principled shader through a Normal Map node, and you should have your low poly cable.

that is mostly what i did
but i had 2 unwrap front and back

you seem to be doing only one unwrap
i mean does it just do the front of the cylinder normal map or the whole 360 degrees ?

the idea is that some of the wires will be seen at different angles
so need normal map all around seemless

just have to find a way to make this normal map all around

can you upload your sample file
i can check it out and see result

happy bl

how did you do the cylinder unwrap
just one seem in the back and unwrap it or did a cylindrical unwrap ?

happy bl

Are you trying to get the silhouette in there too? That’s something you won’t be able to do with just normalmaps alone. You’ll need some geometry in there to give your surfaces curvature beyond what the normal provides.

Here’s my file if you want to check it out though. Had to delete the image, and decimate some of the geometry off the cable to fit it in the 5MB limit here, but the basics are all there.

Rope.blend (1.9 MB)

how do you make your camera re appear in viewport ?
not in outliner !

yes this was my original question how to make 3d normal map all around 3D object
i know this is not the usual way to do baking normal map

and i use 2 unwrap on main object to get front and back
but not 100 % seemless yet

may be with more unwrap i can get a better 3d normal map

by the way can you upload nor map on pastal may be
would like to see the 3D effect on your model

mine is not yet very good not certain why
i did use subdi main object and use 2 K image!

happy bl

All you have to do is take my file above, and bake out the normal. It’s already set up for you to do so.

this is crazy !
i was working in 2.79 and the render was not that good

so i use your file in 2.9 and redid the baking
and it looks great and it is 3d on cylinder 3D
that did not work nicely in 2.79 but very well in 2.9

there must have been some improvements in 2.9
way better then in 2.79

i guess it looks good enough now i can use this simple baked cylinder
instead of twisted mesh with 1000 verts LOL

from far away should look like twisted wires anyway

very nice for feedback

happy cl

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here the model with real mesh on the left
and on the right the normal map for the twisted wires

look close enough i think!

happy cl

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