Using Texporter

Step 1: Preparing the Mesh

Although Texporter works with all object types that has mapping coordinates, there are few points that you should be aware of in order to get a clean image.

1-The Object

Texporter works with any geometric object which has mapping coordinates. You can convert procedural objects to meshes if you have trouble with Texporter. Conversion may be done by applying a Edit Mesh modifier onto the object or collapsing the stack.

2-Apply Mapping Coordinates

The object should have mapping coordinates applied on it. This may be done by UVW modifier or checking the “Generate mapping coords.” option if the object is a procedural object. If you use “Generate mapping coords” option, generally you will get a regular grid as a result. So I recommend you to use a UVW modifier instead. You can use any mapping channels, all mapping channels are supported by Texporter.

You should choose the best mapping method for your mesh when applying the UVW mapping. If you are using a human head I recommend you to use cylindrical mapping with top-bottom axis. If you are working on a face (mask only) you can use planer mapping. Mapping should provide enough area for the important faces and should prevent overlapping. Overlapping occurs when more than one face is projected on the same area of the map. You can avoid this by choosing the mapping type most similar to the mesh. But if your mesh has concave geometry, you can barely solve the problem. In this case you may consider dividing the mesh into convex pieces. In Texporter 3.2 there is an option which marks overlapping areas.

Now you have prepared your mesh and applied mapping coordinates. You are ready to go to Step 2.

Step 2: Running Texporter

After preparing the mesh as described in Step 1,  run Texporter. Texporter is located under the "utilities tab" of the command panel. You can acess it through the "More.." button in the utilities tab. In the Texporter interface there are few parameters you may want to change. When you are done with the parameters you can simply click the “Pick Object” button and pick the object you have prepared. If you are satisfied with the result then save the template bitmap for painting.

Here are the steps explained in detail:

1- Run Texporter

Texporter is located under “Utilities” section. Go to utilities tab click "More"  button and choose Texporter under “Texture Mapping” section from the combo box.

2- Adjust Parameters

There are few settings on the utility. You should do the settings before picking the object. Parameters are described in detail in the Parameters section.

3- Pick the Object

After setting the parameters click the “Pick Object” button. The button changes color to light green, showing that you are about to pick the object. In any viewport simply click on the object you prepared. The unfolded bitmap will be shown in the bitmap viewer after a few seconds.

4- Export the Texture

If you are satisfied with the bitmap you can save this image for painting by clicking the save icon. Bitmap is prepared with alpha channel, so if you want alpha channel select a format with alpha option (such as 32 bit TGA).

You are ready for the painting phase.

Step 3: Painting the Texture

Now you have a template bitmap representing the unfolded image on your disk. You will use this bitmap to paint your texture in your external paint program. Then save this new texture under a new name to use it in your material.

1- Load the Template bitmap to Your Favorite Paint Program

Run your favorite painting program and load the bitmap you just saved. You can paint over this image or use it as a template. If your paint program supports layering you can paint your final texture as a transparent layer on the template one.

2- Save It

After painting the texture save it to the disk. You will open it from MAX’s material editor.

Return to MAX and go on Step 4

Step 4: Applying the Texture

You have the texture. What you have to do is prepare a material holding this texture and apply it to the object. Key point is this: You shouldn’t change the mapping coordinates after step 2.

1- Prepare the Material

Now load the texture you painted as any map. There are few things to check: In coordinates section of the map settings, be sure that Texture and UV radio buttons are checked, both Offset fields are set to 0.0, both Tiling fields are set to 1.0 and Angle is set to 0.0. Also be sure that the mapping channel of the texture matches the Texporter’s settings.

2- Apply the Material

Apply the material to your mesh if it is not applied already.

You should now have a beautifully painted object.