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Static Meshes for UE4: Should I always create/optimize UV's?

Good morning,

Noob question here, and your help is much appreciated.

As all of you indy developers know, time is one thing we don’t ever have enough of. If I’m going to be creating meshes for use in UE4, and I know that I will not need UVs for defining texture location, should I still put effort into the UV, or am I wasting time? For example, I’m creating a glass vial that will simply consist of glass and a cork top. It will use two simple materials, with no need for more complex UV creation.

On another note, I’m still struggling a bit with making sure I’m doing UV’s correctly. I get the basic ideas, but I have yet to find a decent free or paid tutorial that really breaks the whole system down in Maya, or even the universal concepts. There are tutorials that get you started on making them, but they lack depth. Does anyone know of a good tutorial or resource for this information online?

Thank you all in advance!

You would need to do UV’s if you have a material that requires texture mapping or if you want to use baked lightmaps with the mesh. Also, I would recommend avoiding multiple materials with a mesh if you can, each material on a mesh adds a draw call, so think about ways you might reduce the need for multiple materials.

Doing UV’s isn’t really difficult, it’s more like a puzzle, you just have to put the seams in places so that the object will flatten with as little distortion as possible.

Thank you for the reply! I get the seams aspect, but other parts not so much. I’m working with Maya / Maya LT, and they don’t seem to have a lot of good information about how to use the myriad of tools in their UV Editor toolbar, or how much of it is even needed. I’ll probably just have to experiment with it and learn the hard way, which is unfortunate.

The draw calls make sense, thank you for the advice. In the case of a mesh like the glass vial I talked about in the OP, is it possible to texture map a transparent glass material with a bitmap (for the cork section) all in one material? I get that I need to define where the cork is in on the UV, but how does that work for transparent / translucent materials mixed with opaques?

I’ll save you some major headache. Select faces and projection map whenever you can.

As for the glass cork thing, it should be possible by messing about with the textures alpha channel/alpha map.

You would just make a texture map where one part is for the cork and then a small part is for the glass, in the alpha map you would define what part is the glass and then in your material you would use the translucent shader type and plug the alpha into the opacity slot. Only possible issue is that the cork might not render correctly with depth, but you would have to test that out and see what it looks like.