UV Mapping, Texturing, Shaders, Rigging and Animation(Anim02)

In this post, I will outline some of the key pipeline elements of creating a 3D animation.


A checkerboard pattern being applied to a 3D model through UV mapping (Fromgray, 2003)

After completing the 3D modelling process, an important step to ensure a high quality, realistic model is texturing it. To tell the program where to place desired textures we use a process called UV Mapping, where U and V refer to the ‘texture-space’ coordinates, just like X, Y and Z refer to the axes of the three dimensions (Blender Texture Manual). These coordinates will indicate the exact position of the texture. The texture is a 2D image file that can be thought of as the skin of the model; it simulates the color, feel and appearance of a particular object, just like objects in real life. The UV coordinates cut up and indicate the exact position of these textures on a model, and it is important to keep in mind various aspects such as the amount of pieces the model surface is broken into, overlapping of these pieces and size (Brinck, no date). The overall process of creating UV maps and assigning materials and shaders is called texturing.


Photorealistic effect achieved with the use of shaders (Behance)

Shaders are a coded instruction which tells the computer how a surface interacts with light and how it should be displayed(Slick, 2014). Shaders are essential to achieve a photorealistic effect and to produce a high level 3D model. Shaders require a set of parameters to be specified, such as specularity, reflectivity and opacity.



riggin horse.jpg

Rigging is a complex process in the animation pipeline which prepares a static 3D model for animation. This is done by binding the model to a digital ‘skeleton’ which consists of joints and bones which act as handles used to position the model into the desired pose(Slick, 2014).

After rigging is complete, the model is ready for animation. There are different types of animations including short films, skirts and special effects (theartcareerproject, 2011). In a large scale animated movie,  a team of specialised animators are assigned to work on different aspects of the animation, so there would be different people working on the face, the body and the background.


How I feel after realising how much work goes into creating an animated movie  (imgur)


fromgray (2012) Base 15: UV mapping. Available at: https://fromgray.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/base-15-uv-mapping/ (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Behance (no date) Available at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/18460113/Build-a-solid-foundation-with-3d-max (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

ExplainToon (2015) ‘Animación, más que una ilustración en movimiento’: Rigging. Available at: https://explaintoonblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/la-animacion-es-mas-que-ilustraciones-en-movimiento-rigging/ (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Imgur (no date) Toothless gifs. Available at: http://imgur.com/gallery/32za5 (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Blender Texture Manual (no date) Doc: 2.4/manual/textures/mapping/UV – BlenderWiki. Available at: http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.4/Manual/Textures/Mapping/UV (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Brinck, W. (no date) UVW-Mapping in 3DS max. Available at: http://waylon-art.com/uvw_tutorial/uvwtut_02.html (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Slick, J. (2014) Anatomy of a 3D model Vertices, edges, Polygons, maps, and Shaders. Available at: http://3d.about.com/od/3d-101-The-Basics/a/Anatomy-Of-A-3d-Model.htm (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

Slick, J. (2014) What is rigging? Preparing a 3D model for animation. Available at: http://3d.about.com/od/Creating-3D-The-CG-Pipeline/a/What-Is-Rigging.htm (Accessed: 28 January 2016).

theartcareerproject (2011) 3D animation careers | salary | information | education. Available at: http://www.theartcareerproject.com/get-movin-with-a-career-in-3d-animation/215/ (Accessed: 28 January 2016).


Pre Production & 3D Modelling(Anim01)

Pre production refers to the steps covered before beginning the actual production, it can include actions such as meeting with the client, research, financing and storyboarding (Pre-Production, no date).Pre production Hong Ly

In creating a video game, part of the pre production is concept art; creating a collection of quickly drawn artwork to brainstorm ideas for character appearances, setting and various details. Time is the prime factor in creating concept art so artists often use photographs and textures to produce a visual representation of their ideas (Anhut, 2014). This technique can be observed in the concept art of an Uncharted character on the left (Hong Ly, Character Designs).

3D modelling is creating an object from a primitive through the process of molding, refining, texturing and rendering it with the help of 3D software until reaching the desired outcome(Introduction to 3D modeling, no date). It involves the manipulation of faces, edges and vertices and is used in a wide range of domains such as visual effects, entertainment and engineering (Slick, no date).

Pre Production 3D modelling.jpg

This model of a mini cooper is an example of an untextured 3D model (David Alcoriza, 2013).


Pre-Production (no date) Available at: http://www.mediacollege.com/glossary/p/pre-production.html (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Hong Ly (no date) Available at: http://www.characterdesigns.com/index.php?sitepage=recentWork (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Anhut, A. (2014) Let’s get real about concept art – Howtonotsuckatgamedesign?. Available at: http://howtonotsuckatgamedesign.com/2014/02/lets-get-real-concept-art/ (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Introduction to 3D modeling (no date) Available at: http://www.animationarena.com/introduction-to-3d-modeling.html (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Slick, J. (no date) 3D modeling. Available at: http://3d.about.com/od/Glossary-M/g/3d-Modeling.htm (Accessed: 26 January 2016).

My Working Space(CIU02)

Una work space

This is what my work space looks like most of the time, except sometimes my cat is walking all over my keyboard instead of basking under the lamp.

I find that I require an isolated and quiet part of the house in order to breach the highest capacity of concentration and work stimulus. It is often said that music promotes concentration (Nikitina, no date) but I find that it tends to distract me, especially if I’m in the process of doing a written assignment. One study conducted in 2002 revealed that the type of music directly influences performance and that calming music enhances concentration (Dolegui, 2013). Since I enjoy classical music and frequently keep it as a background while drawing, I will start playing it as a background for writing assignments and see how it works.

Obviously the color scheme of my work space is not very.. diverse, consisting mainly of white. Even my cat is white. Including some color on my desk might help improve my productivity according to certain studies (Behance and Jarrett, 2013). I have often heard people talk about arranging a room according to Feng Shui principles. This Chinese principle is based on a belief that the arrangement of objects in your room channels your energy towards success in personal and professional life(Understanding the principles of Feng Shui, no date). I could try implementing

Nikitina, A. (no date) 15 ways to stay focused at work. Available at: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/15-ways-to-stay-focused-at-work.html (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Dolegui, A. S. (2013) The impact of listening to music on cognitive performance. Available at: http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/762/the-impact-of-listening-to-music-on-cognitive-performance (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Behance, I. and Jarrett, C. (2013) The perfect Workspace (according to science). Available at: http://99u.com/articles/17437/the-perfect-workspace-according-to-science (Accessed: 26 January 2016).
Understanding the principles of Feng Shui (no date) Available at: http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/understanding-the-principles-of-feng-shui.html (Accessed: 26 January 2016).

Glimpsing the future(CIU01)

So the first entry to my reflective blog will be just the opposite; a visualisation of my (presumably rad) future.

Where do I see myself in ten years? Ten years is a relatively long time, and for me it’s equivalent to more than half of my entire life, so while I have a conceptualisation of my ideal life in my late twenties, it would be impractical to fully rely on that vision. One can live a dozen lives in ten years and for all I know, I could find myself living in a tree house on a secluded mountain somewhere in Georgia. But some things are certain, such as my determination to reach my career related goals and confidence in my aspirations.

For many years now I’ve been inspired by game related artwork and have been envisioning my future career as a concept artist. Enrolling in the animation course at SAE was the first step to achieve my goal since concept artist is one of the possible career paths(http://dubai.sae.edu/courses/animation/bachelor-of-animation/). I am confident that in ten years I will have gathered an extensive amount of skill and knowledge related to 3D and digital production and will be able to use my acquired talent to provide for myself and my family, doing what I love.