Texture - Maping input. How to texture a snake with scales?

How do I get the scales right on the sides of the snake?

I was going to use a vertex group for the side and a new material index. Is that the way to go?

http://img410.imageshack.us/img410/4157/snake2nh9.jpg
P.S. Any other comments on the snake will be appriciated.

Unwrap that snake - then you can put the scales exactly where you want them.

Actually you can use vertex groups to seperate the mesh into sections
for easier selection. As far as I know you don’t need different materials.
The body of the snake in basicly a cylinder
so you add one seam and unwrap. As for the head of the snake I don’t
know where to put the seams at the moment so your on your own unless someone else
here replies and knows how. You can alway post a link to the
.blend file and we can try and figure it out for you.

Are you talking about using UV mapping instead of procedural?

I’m asking because I did a search for “blender texture unwrap” and the results seems to be about UV.

I’ve unwraped the cylinder (snakebody).

Do I HAVE to make a texture for it now, as an image edited in a drawing program, or can I some how use the procedural bumpmap?

You can use procedurals with UV coordinates. I do it all the time.

Yes- unwrapping is just a very precise way of positioning textures,