3D Realisation – “Nets or UV Maps”, A quick test/discussion point for Games Students.
This discussion/activity was presented to Year 1 Games Design Students as part of their Introduction to 3D Realisation module and looks at introducing the complexity of working/modelling in 3D, and the understanding of the relationships between Vertices, Edges, Faces and Polygons (in a 3D modelling context); and leading to discussions about unwrapping objects.
This discussion/activity was presented using what appears to be a simple paper/scissors exercise.
1 – The students were initially asked what they knew about the terms – Vertices, Edges, Faces and Polygons (when used in a 3D modelling context), establishing gaps and prior knowledge.
Further discussion about industry/practice conventions such as the use of x,y, and z to describe the working planes and coordinates of digital 3D spaces.
2 – The students are then asked to consider the number of Vertices, Edges, Faces and Polygons related to various simple (real world) 3D objects.
An exercise that can be continued by the student beyond the session as part of their reflective practice and blog notes on the session.
3 – Then, a number of shapes where hand drawn* on the white board (or on handouts),
…ranging from simple 3D shapes such as cubes, to shapes made from combinations of cubes in simple and increasingly complex arrangements.
The students are then asked to make a single piece “net” or “UV Map” for the various objects, using pencil/pen and paper,
…finally cutting them out and sticking them together, in order to see how well they were able to plan their UV Maps ahead of time, and looking for mistakes such as missing faces, or faces joined to the wrong edge etc.
It’s an interesting exercise that usually flags up the complexity of “envisioning” or conceptualising 3D shapes and space to students, even for relatively simple objects.
The students are encouraged to “have a go” at several (more than one) of these objects/UV Maps, and to put their results (and reflections) on their reflective and development blogs.
The session then goes on to more complex UV Mapping discussion relating to optimised Topology in 3D Modelling and Texture Unwrapping.
*…the reasons for hand drawing these shapes and then developing them into 3D is that it follows games industry practice and the movement from 2D concepts to 3D realisation.