Tuesday, January 29, 2013

UV mapping in v5 Rhino

Learn how to adjust UV mapping and texture space for your models in v5 Rhino. 


Nick Scott said...

Thanks for the tutorial. This is a new and confusing area for me!
I tried the variations of texture mapping on a box and noticed that when I use the UV editor it makes the applied texture much darker. Is there something I can adjust for that?

Nick Scott said...

another question.
Since I am often creating models of wooden objects, it would be useful to be able to show end grain as well at the ends of an object. Is there some way to do this? Would I have to make a separate "end grain" texture?
Can this only be done with procedural textures? The trouble with them is that they never look realistic.

Brian James said...

Hi Nick,

I'm glad it helped.

I don't believe you can lighten that texture preview while in the UV editor. I'll look into it and file a bug/wish as needed though.

For your end grain texture, make that part of the model a separate selection and use a different texture in the material for that object or the quick method is to just change the tile amounts in the UV settings (not the material itself) for the selection. For instance, make a wood grain texture tile.5 in the U and 20 in the V and it can approximate end grain.

Nick Scott said...

OK, thanks Brian!

CB said...

Hello, Brian!
Thank you for your great tutorial
It helped me to finally understand UV mapping better.

One quick question about your rotation in Rhino. It looks very smooth and smartly rotating. Is it a plug in that you use? Could you let me know what it is?

Thank you

Brian James said...

Hi CB,


I was using a 3D connexion Navigator which is why the rotation looks different. These devices work well in Rhino 5 by default in my experience without any additional plugins.

Jessmichelle said...

I'm a student that is using Rhino and Vray for my Thesis and previously only had experience in Rhino 4 and Vray 1. This tutorial explains texture mapping Extremely well Thank you so much! If you have any tutorials or classes in NYC please let me know.

Brian James said...

Hi Jessa,
Thanks! I'm glad this video helped. I don't have any NYC classes scheduled but here's a link to a bunch options all in your area... One of these may work for you.

Lio said...

Thak you Brian, it was fast, clear and very useful for me...great work!

arwilso4 said...

First off thanks for the rundown this is extremely helpful. Is there a way to maintain the this mapping information through an Unroll command if applying this to a faceted poly-surface. Or do I need to explode the surface and manually unroll?

Brian James said...

Hi arwilso4,

Can you email me a sample model before I guess too much about the exact set up you've got. Send it to my attention please at

Unknown said...


First nof all tks for the video. It explains very well how the new Unwrap works.
But I have problems by the preview of the map when I'm on the UV editor. It is only gray, doesnt show the map, never. Just gray or the option of grid ok.
And, how could I work on a closed cube with the Unwrap? What edges must guide the Unwrap??

Ricardo Pace

Brian James said...

Hi Ricardo,

The gray display you mention in the UV editor may have to do with another rendering plugin being active other than RhinoRender or Brazil. Or it could be connected to your graphics card driver as another thought. Please check both and email if you're still stuck.

For unwrapping a box, a typical edge/seam selection would look like a vertical cross when unwrapped. A series of 7 edges is selected for this. I can't post an image here so email tech if you want a screen shot. I'd suggest using box mapping for a box shape though in most cases.

CommuniCats said...

Thanks a million for the effort of explaining UV mapping. Very informative and clear.

Евгений Ширинян said...

Hello, Brian!
I tried to "paint" a single face in a polysurface with different material, but I didn't manage with that. Is it possible? Does a composite material support this?

Brian James said...

Hi Евгений,

If a single surface in a polysurface needs to be a different material, I would suggest you use ExtractSrf and assign a separate material to it versus using a blend texture and mapping. Depending on the render plugin used (e.g. Brazil) you can use blends and mapping but separate selections for separate materials is the easy route. Then Group to keep things together for positioning if needed.

Scott said...

ARG! Why is this video the only thing on the entire intertubes about Rhino uvmapping? Is it possible to save the uvmap and import it into Photoshop?? I can't find anything besides the one video!

Brian James said...

Hi Scott,

With the UV editor open and a square aspect ratio defined for it, I would use ViewCaptureToFile in the Top viewport. This will give you a good base layer to work over. If you have example files or screenshots to explain more about what you're looking to do, please post to the Rhino user forum here

bisenberger said...

Thanks Brian,
Well done!!!

Leandro said...

Hello Brian. UV coordinates are saved with the file when exporting to obj format? Importing 3ds Max mapping coordinates will remain? Thank you!

Brian James said...

Yes, UV coordinates are included in the obj format. I believe the same is true for 3ds but I don't have max here to test it out.

Leandro said...

perfect! I have already tested and working properly. Now the next query. Format that curves can be exported and maintain uv coordinates? I sat and tried others but when imported into 3ds max lose the coordinates. Thank you!

Brian James said...

Can you send a model and any screenshots to help explain to ? I'm not sure what you're using curves for and how a material would be applied to them. The IGES format can carry curves if that helps too.

Mike Babcock said...

Hi Brian,

Thanks for the video. I'm trying to map a bitmap texture of a single plank of wood cladding to a single "plank" of 3d geometry. I need to do this several hundred times, as it was necessary to actually model every plank on the building in the 3d model space.

My bitmap texture is a jpg, 150 dpi, and aprox 6" by 85". The 3d model planks are apron the same size. I am unable to eliminate stretching of the bitmap using surface mapping on the faces of the planks after exploding them, and similarly unable when using box mapping on them as closed polysurfaces.

Any tips on getting the texture to line up? And also, any advice on doing this to several hundreds objects without needing to deal with them all individually?


Brian James said...

Hi Mike,

Can you send in a 3D plank and the texture you're using to ? Just say for Brian J and I'll get it. At a guess, using WCS box mapping in the material may be the fastest way to get the result you want.

Edwin Wallet said...

Hi Brian,

Is it possible to assign multiple UV maps to an object, for instance a UV map for texturing and a UV map for lightmap? If so, can I also import UV maps?

Kind regards

Brian James said...

Hi Edwin,

There are separate mapping channels available in the Properties panel but the render engine/plugin you're using would need to support this assignment per texture in the material applied. The Obj format should carry mapping info into Rhino for transferring UVs. Send any specific questions to if you have an issue. Be sure to include all the files needed as well if you do so I can take a look.

Phoebe said...

Hi Brian

Is there a way of changing the mapping of a material throughout the whole model, ie. a brick material showing bricks at the same scale everywhere instead of having to adjust each instance that the material is shown seperatly? I'm using Rhino 5 and Vray 2.0 t model a group of large buildings and it would take ages to correct each object with brick material if every brick is the same size.


Brian James said...

Hi Phoebe,

Yes, there are a couple options. A texture in a material can be set to WCS in Rhino's material editor which stands for World Coordinate System. The Vray material editor likely has something similarly named in the mapping settings for the texture. The other option that comes to mind is to select all the objects in unison and assign a texture mapping method to them at the same time, for instance a Box style works well for walls in most cases. Post to the user forum please if you need more help, You can post models and screenshots there for the best feedback.

Phoebe said...

Thanks. The first option sounds the best as then I can just go straight back to the material at any point and it be the same scale. Only problem, I can't seem to be able to find the WCS in the material editor. Is that because I'm using VRay? I'll attach a screenshot of the material in the editor. Thanks!

byfolko said...

Hi Brian
Once i did all the (very) complicated stuff you explain in the video, when i export the UV mapped model to Keyshot will Rhino save the changes so that i can texture it in that render engine?

Brian James said...

Yes, if you're using a plugin which has it's own material editor, you'll need to access WCS in it directly in most cases. Post files and screenshots to the user forum here if you still need help...

Brian James said...

Hi byfolko,
I'm not sure if Keyshot uses the UV info in the Rhino 3dm file format directly. Check with the plugin developers to see what they recommend but I'd suggest using the OBJ format which will include the UVs.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this video! for my senior thesis, i am working on projection mapping, and was wondering if you know if there's anyway of importing my own images and hopefully videos/animations into the library so that those can be wrapped onto my 3d object as well. do you know if this is possible? thanks so much brian!

Brian James said...

To add content to the Libraries panel, go to the Libraries panel and then click the wrench icon at the top right of the panel. Choose 'settings' and add any folders on your system to the custom folders area.

Donat said...

Hi Brian,

Referring back to the first comment here by Nick Scott about wood textures and end grain.

I read your answer, but I couldn't understand what you meant about a separate selection:
"For your end grain texture, make that part of the model a separate selection and use a different texture in the material for that object."

For example, I am trying to model a sheet of plywood (2440x1220x18mm) with a wood-grain texture on the large surfaces and a stripey texture on the narrow edges.

I cannot seem to disconnect the surfaces, even when I explode the polysurface into separate surfaces, the texture I apply to one side changes all the other sides.

Could you explain this further please?

Brian James said...

Hi Donat,

Exploding should allow you to assign a different material to the end grain surfaces. The model may be grouped if that isn't working. I have found that you can make a duplicate of the existing material and then increase the tiling of the wood grain texture to make it stripey. Then apply that new material to just the end grain surfaces. I generally use ExtractSrf to make the end grain surfaces a separate selection versus Explode which separates the entire model.

If you are still having trouble send the 3dm file with the textures as well to or post to the user forum for help

Donat said...

Thank you brian,

I think I was dragging textures onto surfaces, and that was modifying the material, and applying the changes to the exploded items which still had the same material assigned.

It works with different materials on each extracted or exploded face. Thank you.

I take it there is no clever way to achieve this without separating the faces? I am not a fan of squashing a texture to create end-grain...

Brian James said...

The Rhino work in progress or WIP which will for the most part become v6 has sub-object material assignment in it already so you won't need to extract or explode for separate materials in a single polysrf. If you have a v5 license you can try the WIP here...

Post any questions about WIP features to the Serengeti section of the forum.