TexTools last update: 2010.07.09
version: 4.10

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Compatible with:

  • 3dsmax 9, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • WinXP, Vista, 7 all 64 bit or 32 bit
  • Photoshop if you want to quick edit Textures

Links:

Want to donate?
I got asked by a few people to add donations for TexTools because they appreciate the work I put into this. If you are one of those people - this is the place to go. I always appreciate a personal email if you used it in one or the other way and it helped you along.

Installation:


Just drag the MZP file into the 3dsMax viewport. Click on 'Install' to copy TexTools to your user folder and start it right away,

Introduction

TexTools is a collection of UV and Texture related scripts for 3dsmax 9 and up that can be very easily installed. It was initially started to improve my personal workflow of UV-editing and Texture previewing in 3dsmax. Eventually I ended up creating scripts that other UV tools can not do or do not yet provide.
When using TexTools you will see a Toolbox inside the GUI of 3dsmax. Most functions only work if you are in the editUVW mode in 3dsmax (unwrap UVW modifier and then the edit button).

General Tools

The general Tools hold many common commands to work with UV-Layouts or Texture maps. Most of these commands can be accomplished as well through the default 3dsmax interface but often require tiresome repeating steps.

Help Panel   Opens a Help panel explaining each tool in short.
Clicking on 'getting started' will show you a quick intro on how to use tools for a typical case.
Settings   Opens the Settings panel to change TexTools behavior such as style overrides and editor docking.
Additional debug tools provide advanced users to dig deeper into TexTools.
Texture / Padding and #Channel

The first 2 input fields represent the width and height of your Texture map.

  • The dropdown value is the current UV channel (default = 1).
  • The 4th number represents the padding size that is used in various tools to determine the space between shells or when baking.
  • The 'G' button stands for 'Grab' and picks the texture size from the current selected objects and its texture.
UV Editor
  opens and closes (swap behaviour) the UV editor for the current object selection. Whenever you open the UV-edit window via this grid and colour adjustments are made to improve the bad default settings.
Checker Maps
Asign and or Cycle through different checker maps. A right click on this button will reset the material. Left click cycles through the 3 different checker maps and the former material. 
Note: Previous materials can only be stored for as long as you select the object and cycle back the the original material. If you swith inbetween to another object and reset to the previous material you get the other objects former material applied. This is a bug.
edit in Photoshop
  Opens all assigned textures of the selected object or objects in photoshop. Wrong linked images are ignored.
This only works if you have any version of Photoshop isntalled.
Flat View
Switches to a #flat view in the current viewport in which only difuse colors are visible without any shading. Also in this mode the background color of the viewport is changed.
Use this mode to analyze your texture previews in the viewport. Another left click will disable this mode.
swap UVW XYZ

Swaps your UVW channel with your object world XYZ channel. In other words your topology in your UVlayout becomes your 3d model topology and wise versa.
If you hit the button again you get your original model again. All of the swap changes are stored in a new edit poly modifier - if you delete that modifier you will also undo your swap- alternativly simply hit undo.

This function is usefull if you need to transform your UVlayout in a way that is only possible through modifiers or other ways in max.

Youtube Link: uv- swapping

Pixel Unit Transform Floater

The transform floater is an additional floater panel that opens with the UV-editor of max whenever you open it via the TexTools interface using the 'Edit UV' button.

With this panel you can transform vertex, edge or face selections with pixel units - so that units are treated equal to the ones in your texture bitmaps.

Youtube Link: pixel-unit Transform Floater

Pivot
  Click on one of the 4 corners to set the orientation space you want to transform your selection within. For example by default 3dsmax forces you with a bottom left to top right orientation (3rd quadrant) which is rather inconvenient for most artists.
x, y, w, h

Transforms your selection in the UV-unwrap window according to these spinners. The properties are

  • x: The Pivot transformation position in pixels of the X or U coordinate within the UV editor of the selection.
  • y: The Pivot transformation position in pixels of the Y or V coordinate within the UV editor of the selection.
  • w: The width of the selection bounding box in pixel units.
  • h: The height of the selection bounding box in pixel units.
Align Selection

Aligns the selection in 2 modes:

  • with selected vertecies or edges: will line up the the verts / edges to the outer edge within each direction.
  • with selected faces: Aligns shells as objects to the most outer edge within each direction
Rotate
Unlike default 3dsmax UV rotations this rotates selections 90° wise without changing the orgin corner offset.
Usefull for packing tight rectangular spaced UV shells.

UV Topolgy Editing

These are the core tools to edit the UV-elements at the UVspace topology level.

Relax

Relaxes either selected edges or faces with different methods:

  • with selected edges: edge angle based relax (irons better twisted shapes)
  • with selected faces: face angle based relax (irons more true to the topology of the mesh)
Linear Align
This function moves edges or verts smartly on a line so that it becomes a straight line. A spinner with the label '°sn' defines the snap angle.
The snap angle defines at wich angle difference to the U or V axis the line should be aligned to the U or V axis. A value of 45° will result in only U or V line flows. Any smaler value lets you align line selections within angles that fit within the snap value so you can for example align to 45° or 20° ramps.
Rectify

Transforms the selected faces in a way so that each face is aligned to the axis as perfect rectangle with 90° angles in each corner.
This method is usefull when you have for example walls that need to be straightend so that the texture better fits pixel wise on the UV. Also usefull when connecting a loop so that pixel rotations on seams dont appear.

Youtube Link: Rectify script

Stitch
Sitches without any dialogue your selected edges with the counter pair (select only 1 side).
If you select faces it will convert and filter out possible edges to stitch and stich them.
Right-click will filter your selection to stitch able edges (with either previously selected faces or edges)
Symmetry

Reflects or flips either 1 side of a UV shell to ther other side or average booth sides so that they are in any case identical. This tool comes with 2 modes:

  • select half the faces of a shell to mark the half to be mirrored.
  • select 1 edge or a symmetry edge selection to mark the symmetry axis,- will average the verts on booth sides

Youtube Link: uv symmetry

Quick Pelt Mapping

A way to unwrap a shell via peltmapping with just 1 click.

  • If you have a series of faces selected it will try to cut around this face selection and pelt map this new shell.
  • If you select some edges it will cut the UV-shell at that edge selection (seam marking) and pelt map the associated UV shell.
  • If you select just 1 edge it will loop select that edge and cut the shell there and try to pelt map that associated shell.

Youtube Link: "Quick Pelt" mapping

Peel Pipe

Max 2009+ only!!
Unfolds pipe alike and cylindrical shapes by using the 3dsmax internal Spline Mapping technology.
In comparision to the Spline mapping though you do not need to create the spline yourself but instead just select the edge loop it will follow (or just one edge to auto loop the selection).
This script is not yet fully complete as the Seam generated can not yet be controlled. It shoudl however come in usefull if you want to peel closed cylindrical shapes with rectangular orientated faces.
Iron to Shell
Quickly unwraps the current face selection into a single shell and relaxes it a few times.
Using this tool you can unwrap Complex Objects with just a few clicks.

Layout and Orientation Tools

The Layout tools re-arrange selected UV-shells in a way to help you organize things. These commands do not change the topology of the selected elements but only move and rotate them.

Split at Smoothing Groups
Splits your UV layout according to the Smoothing groups of your 3d Mesh. So that All UV seams will be where your hard edges in the model are.
If the 3d model does not have any smoothing groups defined a temporary auto smoothing of 60° wil be applied to the process. This temporary smoothing however will not be asigned to your Mesh itself.
Explode
Explodes the selected faces or everything into possible 60° face normal groups. This is the best way to start a fresh new unwrapping of a 3d model.
Pack
Packs the selected shells without normalizing and rotating shells. If possible it tries to fill holes with smaler shells.
This command uses the internal 3dsmax packing method,- so its not much different from the Unwrap UVW 'Mapping' » 'Flatten Mapping' method.
Crop
Crops the uvLayout to the minimal used space including padding space. The alignment is towards the upper left corner unlike UV coordinates which usuually orgin from the lower left corner.
Sort

Rotates all of the selected shells to a minimum width and lines your selected UV shells up in a row from left to right and also sorts the elements by its height.
If you rightclick on this button it will lineup the selected UV shells on the other axis so that it sorts by width from top to down. Pixel margin is preserved in this function.

This function is very usefull when packing thin objects that would take a lot of work to pack manually next to each other to save space.

Youtube Link: UV shells a compact

Align to Edge
Aligns the shell of 1 selected edge to the edge's closest axis beeing U or V.
With this tool you can for example align symetrical shells or align a shell that needs to stand on a certain side.

Render Detail Texture Maps

Detail Maps are essential Texture aids to help or get more out of your texture work. Whenever you press the 'detail' button a new floater will appear (or close) and offer you a variety of texture maps you can render directly to your clipboard.

Most of the map types come with additional parameters to tweak and control the output. The following types are supported:

Wireframe
Renders the UV-Layout or Wireframe directly to your clipboard as black and white masking image. Paste it into Photoshop and then for example invert the colors (ctrl+i) and then set the layer blend mode to 'multiply' to project it over your real texture.
Detail Map Floater
  Opens or closes the detail map floater next to this button. From that floater then you can select a map type you want to render or bake to your clipboard.
Selection Mask

Renders selected faces or all faces of your UV map as a Black and White mask.
Works also on Multiple Objects at once (Max2008+).
Blockout: Mesh Elements
Renders each Mesh Element in the UV map with a unique Color. This is usefull if you want to identify elements of the 3d model in your texture map.
Blockout: Material ID's
Again parts of the UV map are color coded to seperate them easier. In this mode each Material face ID gets its own unique color.
You only will have different material ID's on your faces if you either set them manually or of you drag materials or textures on selected faces. With this map type you know which faces belong together face ID wise.
Blockout: Smoothing Groups
Color codes smoothing grouped faces by unique color. You will only see useable results in you have at least some hard edges on your model using smoothing groups.
Ambient Occlusion
The classic AO map is usefull to get out more contrast in your texture and support the shape as such.
Light Tracer
  Similar to Ambient Occlusion this map type reflects rays on the surface but with a more soft result. Its the same method that is often used for the typical clay renders.
Cavity
Renders a concarve /convex map.
Hard Edges
Using the Ink & Toon shader it renders the Hard edges of the 3d model (where smoothing groups form a hard edge). Use this map to point out where hard edges are in your map or use them as a base for worn edges.
Transfer
  Transfers a difuse Texture from UV-Channel A to UV-Channel B. This of course only works if booth channels are defined ahead.
Use this map rendering type to change existing layouts with textures into new UV-layouts, or if you want to combine several maps / objects into 1 texture map with 1 layout.
Camera Map
Lets you paint over a Viewport grab and render it back to texture space.
This tool consists of 2 steps:
  • Grab the Viewport from the selected Object and dump it to the clipboard so you can open it in Photoshop and paint on top of it. Once done copy everything merged back to the clipboard and go back to max.
  • The 2nd click it will Project the clipboard Bitmap on the selected object from the last perspective and render it to Texturespace to store it back to the Clipboard.

Youtube Link: Camera Mapping to Clipboard

Texel Density

Texel Density is a unit and pixel length ratio that describes how dense pixels are mapped on the surface of your 3d model.
Sometimes you want to normalize, adjust or apply custom level editor values so that your 3d models match up with other mapped 3d models. The unit length ('per') is measured in internal 3dsmax units.

Normalize Shells

Normalizes the UV-shells in relation to each other so that the texel density is euqually distributed without really modifying your uv shells except proportional scaling.
Pick Texel Density
Pick's up the texel ratio from 1 object and leave it within the input values below it beeing pixels² and world units².
Assign Texel Density
Applies texel density to your selected objects. And it will scale shell by shell proportional from it's current place so that it fits the ratio.
At the moment only object's themselves are supported UVunwrap sub selections like particular UV shells are not yet supported.