NewTek LightWave: UV Unwrap Tool

The NewTek LightWave is a high-end computer graphics program developed by NewTek for use in 3D modeling and animation processes. One of the most critical features used while modeling is the use of UV unwrapping to clean out your object meshes and provide a smooth texturing all over.

UV Unwrapping or UV Mapping is a simple process that is used to transform the texture map applied over a 3D object. Generally, we use the "X", "Y" and "Z" Cartesian coordinates to map any 3D object in the modeler unit of LightWave. “U” and “V” are additional space coordinates designated to describe the surface of the mesh. The following tutorial describes how to unwrap an object using the standard LightWave tools.

Step 1: Launch LightWave

Launch the NewTek LightWave Modeler and import a premade object in the modeler to begin with. This particular object can be anything that you have prepared earlier or you may opt for a standard library object. Alternatively, you may download objects from the Internet and use them for the exercise.

Step 2: Setup Workspace

You will use the layered object and disable the shading for better viewing. You may do this by hitting the “D” key and bringing up the display panel, then clicking the OpenGL option. You will now enable the UV workspace by either changing one of the viewports, Do this by going to any viewport and selecting the view to UV texture option. You can also do this by hitting the “A” key on the keyboard.

Step 3: Working With UV

You will go to the “Map” tab and select “New” map by going to Texture area from the popup menu. This will create a new UV space for the model. You will configure the options in the window and select a texture type suitable to your model. Select the axes based on your model alignment and select “automatic” settings and hit the “Create” button. This will result in a formation of a different geometry in the top viewport.

You will notice that the shape is actually the model frame that has been unwrapped along a chosen edge. You may select a different edge by clearing the map and then rotating the model to select a different edge.

You can select any rogue points by clicking on them and then using the select menu to hit “Select Loop” and cleanup the UV mesh to avoid any texture distortion. Make sure that there are no crossover points. You can also use the symmetry option if your model is perfectly symmetrical.

If you are having a problem while clearing out a part of the UV map because of all the points being associated together, you will select all the points and click on un-weld to keep polygons from merging together. You will now proceed to clear out the UV map till the desired result is obtained.

You have now successfully carried out UV unwrapping using LightWave.