UV map painting

Hi there,

I’m pretty new to Blender (a few days) and am loving it. You really have to appreciate the support that flows from an open-source community… I’ve tried to learn Maya twice in the past and got stymied both times.

Anyhow… I’m hoping someone can point me to some tut’s on UV map painting. I’m surprised at how difficult it is. I’ll be using photoshop to paint my maps, and I’d just like to get any general tips / techniques.

Thanks in advance,

“The Nuge”


LOTS and LOTS of pics in that. If it isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, let me know.

(Love your music.) :wink: :slight_smile:

Try Greybeards intro to uv mapping here:


That’ll get you familiar with the tools. As for painting the maps, try a site like polycount:


There’s lots of tuts and info on painting maps there.

Thanks for the replies, folks.

I looked through those sights and couldn’t find quite what I’m looking for.

I’ve found plenty of info on uv unwrapping and mapping for Blender, and I’m okay with that stuff.

Where I’d like some more info is the process of painting the generated uv layouts in an external application (in my case, Photoshop). I’m just wondering about what techniques people use, etc.

I’ve been tinkering around with painting a monkey face, and have run into a few glitches. First of all, the uv layout output from blender seems to be a tad imprecise for detail work. The edge lines are very aliasy, and it’s hard to know when you’re correctly painting ‘inside the lines’ This seems to be a particular problem when painting for faces that are subsurfed into extreme curves; for example, I’ve noticed that when painting a protruding face, if even one pixel of that face’s colour ends up on a neighbouring face, when Blender ‘bends’ the neighbouring face, that one pixel gets stretched into a nasty streak

Does that make any sense? Basically, I’m looking for info on how people go about painting complex uv-layouts and, I suppose, also some advanced tricks on building UV maps for easy painting.



(PS… glad you like my music. I’m all about the fans)

Watch the UV mapping video, and there’s good tips for reducing stretching.

It sounds like you have a good handle on how the skins get mapped to the model, and how difficult it is to get things lined up. Those things are really related to how skilled the mapper was. :slight_smile:

In Photoshop (which I use now, too), the best tip I ever got was layers, layers, layers, and more layers. Not a bad thing to have every different element on a different layer - then you can mix and match and try things as much as you want.

Good luck.

(How’s the hunting this year?)

This seems to be a particular problem when painting for faces that are subsurfed into extreme curves

In this case (extreme curves) I would either add a few loop cuts to my model to remove the extreme curves or convert the subsurf to a real mesh and uv map that so that there isn’t so much stretching. Also make sure you use high res maps (min. 1024X1024 pixels and preferably higher). I also usually have to tweek some verts around in the uv editor after painting to precisely align my textures.


Trex and Greybeard… thanks for those tips, great stuff!

Yeah, I realized early on that I was going to have to use about a fajillion layers for my little monkey face.

As I’ve been researching this afternoon, it has occured to me that Illustrator might be a better tool for map painting, at least initially… One could basically trace the UV layout, separating differnt color-areas into pathed-shapes, filling with colour… then if colours don’t align correctly when you map your texture, you can go back into illustrator to tweak your shapes. Once everything is aligned the way you like, you could export your illustrator file to Photoshop, for detail work.

… what would be really handy is if there were a Python script to export your UV layout as paths… maybe there is such a thing, I’ll do some looking. This would alleviate one of the biggest problems, which is that when you open a UV layout in photoshop and zoom in to do detailed painting, the red edge-lines become pretty inaccurate for selecting faces… (if the edge-lines were paths, they would stay precise at any zoom level).

a particular area I’m having problems with is in creating blends between coloured faces. For example, in the Monkey map I’ve been playing with, I want to create darker areas around the Monkey’s eyes… but I don’t want ‘hard’ colour separation between the lighter facial skin tone and these dark areas… I played around with various blending and blurring techniques in Photoshop, and none were very successful, because as noted before the blended region (overlapping different-coloured faces) gets far too stretched / distorted when I map the texture back onto the monkey model.

The idea of further subdividing the faces would be effective, I guess, but it seems like that might make my model un-necessarily complicated. Also, it would only further complicate the problem of accurately selecting various faces within Photoshop, not to mention making the thing that much harder to unwrap.

Seems to me that a better work-around would be to just create more seams on the model, and export a bunch of maps… for example, I could export just my monkey’s eye-areas as one large UV layout, which might make working with it more accurate in Photoshop. But I assume this would make my Blender renders (hmm… “brenders” ?) that much slower, since I’d be increasing the number of textures being mapped to my model?

Anyways, I’ll play around with this some more… maybe once I find a better working solution, I’ll expand upon the tutorial I’ve been working from.


On the .psd note, a filter that I get alot of mileage from is Filter>Texture>Craquelure (I think it’s a stock one). I can’t even categorize all the ways I’ve used that to add a subtle “feel” to something. I don’t like adding “noise” to visually break things up - at least not very often - but Craq works for me in many ways.