Quick UVs with Zbrush & 3ds Max

Most 3D artists would agree the creating solid UVWs is critical, but also sucks balls. For me personally, anyway that I can get decent UVs created in the fast possible time is a winner!

If you are working with Zbrush and 3ds Max this workflow is fast and can be useful for a lot of situations.

1 - GoZ
Make sure your GoZ is setup between Zbrush and Max and make sure it is working correctly so you can freely send meshes between the two software packages.

2 - Setup Seams
Zbrush's UV Master is awesome at unwrapping meshes with little or no UV distortion. Where is fails is creating seams in the right places! You can use the control painting options, but I find this barely works at directing where the seams will be. So the best option for seams is in Max.

Import your low poly mesh into Max and apply a UVW Unwrap modifier. Then create the seams in the places that you would like. E.g. inside of the legs of a character model or any 'unseen' places. Once the seam are created you can just select the whole model an 'quick peel' this will create some UV islands, but the UVs will be distorted...but thats ok because we'll get Zbrush to unwrap for us.

3 - UV Master in Zbrush
Use GoZ to send the Max mesh with the seams back into Zbrush. From there open UV master and ensure you have 'Use existing seams' on. Click unwrap and your done, if you flatten the model in Zbrush you will see it has nicely unwrapped the model using all the seams you setup in Max!

4 - Pack the UVWs
You could be happy with the process at step 3, but if you want to arrange the UV islands for painting textures etc, simply GoZ the mesh back to max, apply the UVW Unwrap modifier, open the UV editors and arrange the islands as required. Job done!

So this obviously isn't going to get 100% perfect UVs and some 'purists' would say you need to unwrap all the UVs in Max or other unwrap package to ensure perfect UVs with zero distortion.

But for most situations this is a great fast workflow that yields decent results.

Happy UV'ing!

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