Spaceship! UVs! (part 1)


The Normandy SR1 from Mass Effect (and a little of Mass Effect 2 before it’s destroyed) was what I was trying to 3D model. I’m not the greatest at modelling, so I thought its design was simple enough to start with.

This is my second day doing 3D modelling. My biggest gripe with Maya is (what feels like) the incompatibility between the versions. Twice now I’ve left my model for the day and reopened it the next day to find the model decided to “break” – ie, the polygons have scattered, but also the unwrapping I did do yesterday was all gone.

In any case, trying to salvage my model of the Normandy SR1, I know this (modelling) isn’t my strength, but I understand the concepts well enough, having read through the PowerPoint presentations Matt’s provided and going through the unwrapping process in lessons.

Since I’ve come in late to the school year, my model was thrown together last minute so I had something to work with yesterday. In terms of unwrapping and texturing, this is actually going to work to my advantage because the bulk of the ship is simpler to make UVs of.


Creating UVs itself seems quite straight-forward; I associate it with wrapping a gift or a sewing pattern. In my mind, Pepakura uses the same sort of concepts, to take a 3D image and create a flat 2D image, how they’ll connect back together, no overlapping is allowed, etc. Matt gave us a hint that has helped me. Colour coding the sections we want to unwrap seems to help a lot. It gives a visual representation of what is being done and also can help keep track of what’s already been unwrapped.


There were some issues with my model and vertexes while trying to create my UVs, but after fixing it, which Matt showed me how to fix (Edit Mesh > Merge > have a small distance threshold like 0.01), I’m on my way to getting this finished for next class.

I’ve managed to almost finish off the upper wings of the ship and create UVs for them:


Sometimes I found creating a planar map of a couple faces, then sewing the edges together in smaller batches, or cutting them apart if things weren’t working, and finding the right angle to leave them was time-consuming, but worked better in the long run for some of the trapezoidal shapes in my ship.

I’ll update again once I manage to do more unwrapping and practice more of my UV work.

Posted in 3D

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