Once you are ready to combine both sides of the geometry into one mesh, follow these steps. First, delete history on both models by pressing Alt+Shift+D with the objects selected. Then, with the objects still selected, go to Mesh, Combine. It will create a new object and a blank group node that represents the transforms of the old geometry. These will not be used for anything, so delete history again, and the extra nodes will be removed. Now, there’s a tricky thing happening right now: The center vertices are not welded together yet. It is quick to merge the vertices, but we’ll need to make sure they are all lying on the world center axis first. Switch to Vertex components mode and, in the top panel, select all of the vertices that run through the center of the model by dragging a selection box around them. Figure 8.27 shows the center vertices selected correctly.
FIGURE 8.27. The model now combined, and with the center vertices selected.
With the W key pressed and held, LMB click in the panel and make sure your Move tool is set to “World” space (see Figure 8.28).
FIGURE 8.28. The Move tool is set to World space so that our next step is sure to work.
Go into the Move tool’s settings (Windows, Settings/Preferences, Tool Settings—or double-click the Move tool in the toolbox). Scroll down to the section called “Move Snap Settings” and uncheck “Retain component spacing.” This setting controls whether components you move are going to stay locked in their relative positions when you move them, or whether they will move absolutely. Now, with the center vertices still selected, hold the X key down and move the vertices on the X axis until they snap to the next gridline, and then move them back so they snap back to the center gridline. What you just did is moved all of the vertices to an adjacent gridline and snapped them to the grid and then moved them back into place. Now we know all of the center vertices are in the right position. Go to Edit Mesh, Merge, and the vertices will merge and close the center seam.
We are going to UV this character, which should be pretty straightforward. Also, he is symmetrical, and with characters it is better to not take advantage of symmetry. Characters seem a little bit more real with some asymmetry in their texture. To start from the finished model I am using, open character_Model_Finished.ma. Select the character, and in the Polygons menu set (F3) go to Create UVs, Cylindrical Mapping. Select all of the edges of the character, and in the UV Texture Editor (Windows, UV Texture Editor), go to Polygons, Sew UV Edges. Figure 8.29 shows the UV edges sewn correctly.
FIGURE 8.29. Don’t worry about what the UVs look like in the beginning. Remember, the workflow is to start with an automatic mapping method and then refine by cutting seams and adjusting UVs.
We will make a seam on each of his arms in the socket where it connects to the body, and a seam along the back of the arm so it can unfold flat. In the Persp panel, select the edges around the connecting point of both arms, select the edge loop at the wrist, and select the edge loop that runs through the center of the back of his arm, as you can see in Figure 8.30. In the UV Texture Editor, go to Polygons, Cut UV Edges.
FIGURE 8.30. The seam we want to create on the arms is selected. This will allow us to unfold these UVs nicely.
Create another seam through the center of the back of his head, and seams around the top horns that protrude outward, using the Cut UV Edges tool. Also, create a seam around the edge loop just inside his lips.
With a little more cutting and sewing, you are ready to Unfold. Select each UV shell by clicking (in the UV Texture Editor) on a vertex and then Ctrl+RMB clicking until you see the option to convert “To Shell.” To unfold the UVs all at once, in the UV Texture Editor, go to Polygons, Unfold. With a little moving, rotating, and scaling, the UVs are complete (see Figure 8.31). Open character_Model_Final.ma to see what the finish product looks like.
FIGURE 8.31. The finished model and UVs.