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          High-level Summary
          1. Preparation
          2. Unwrapping
          3. Clean-Up UVs
          4. Export UV Coordinates
          5. Paint Textures
          6. Create 3ds max Material


    a) Checker Material
    b) Reference Mapping

 A) Checker Mapping:

a) Start with an Editable Poly model (for symmetrical characters, typically just half): Select the model, right-click and choose Convert to Editable Poly.

NOTE: Editable Spline models in 3ds max can be unwrapped, but for this tutorial if your model is a Spline, convert a copy of your model. Never lose your orginal spline.

b) Checker Map: Hit [m] to open Material Editor. Choose a new material and under “Maps” rolldown find Diffuse Color channel. Hit [None] and choose the Checker map (double click).
In Checker parameters choose dark and light gray (instead of black and white) and set tiling to 10x10. Hit the "Go To Parent" button for the top layer of the material:
(or in more recent versions of the program)

NOTE: The Compact Material Editor displyed in this tutorial is from old versins of 3ds max. To use the newer, node-based Slate Material Editor go to the Modes menu in the editor and switch from Compact to Slate.

Drag & drop the checker material on your object. Back in the Material Editor hit the "Show Map In Viewport" button to display texture in Viewport.
(or in more recent versions)

Throughout the unwapping process the checkers will show where the unwrapping might be badly stretched.

NOTE: A checkerletter material can be created to find flipped UVs.

 B) Reference Mapping:

1. Apply the Unwrap UVW modifier to the model.

2. Hit [Edit] to view the two-dimensional version of the model: UVW space.

The Edit UVWs dialogue shows the XYZ vertices of the model in 2D space. The dark blue square is the “zero-to-one” square. In the end, only what is inside that 0-1 square will export for painting in Photoshop.


      a. Controls for moving, rotating, scaling and
      mirroring UVs in the upper left (hold down the
      scale tool for non-uniform scale options).

      b. Quick rotate tools in the lower right (above
      which are the usual tools for panning and
      zooming the view).

      c. Vertex, Edge, and Face selectors(as well as
      “select by element” option) in the center bottom.

      d. The checkered cube in the upper-right
      toggles the background texture image
      visibility (turn it off).

      e. The rolldown beside selects other textures.

3. Now, choose Face Selection.

In the Mapping menu, choose Flatten Mapping
and hit [OK] for a quick, full unwrap.

Select all UVs & scale down to a dot.

Move out of the 0-to-1 square to fit into a white checker space for later reference.

Close the Edit UVWs dialogue.

Because all the UVs are packed into a single checker square, the entire model will be one color.

Bake the Unwrap UVW modifier into the mesh by converting to Editable Poly(right-click on the model).

3D Studio Max Precision Unwrapping:

High-level Summary   |   1. Preparation   |   2. Unwrapping   |   3. Clean-Up UVs
4. Export UV Coordinates   |   5. Paint Textures   |   6. Create 3ds max Material