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Learn How to UV Map a Tennis Ball in Maya | Maya Tutorial

In this Maya tutorial, I will guide you through the process of UV mapping a tennis ball. If you’re interested in learning how to model the tennis ball, please refer to the previous video.

In the Outliner, you might notice some remaining sculpt options that we don’t want in our object history. To remove them, select the object in Object mode and delete the history. You can do this by going to Edit, then Delete by Type, and selecting History. Alternatively, on a PC, press Alt + Shift + D, or on a Mac, press Option + Shift + D. Now, you’ll see that the Outliner has fewer items, and the history is shorter.

Next, let’s change our workspace from Modeling Standard to UV Editing. By clicking on the workspace, you’ll find a default UV that we can quickly change. Select the UV Toolkit, which should be available after switching to the UV Editing workspace. In the Create menu, click on Normal-Based. This will replace the previously generated UV map with the new one.

To add cuts to our UVs, we’ll use the 3D Cut and Sew tool. Access the tool by clicking on the UV menu, then selecting 3D Cut and Sew UV Tool. This tool is great because it allows us to work directly in the 3D space. Zoom in and orbit around to see the UVs clearly. Double-click on an edge to automatically cut the UV along the edge. Repeat this process for other edges to complete the cuts, ensuring they go all the way around the UV shell.

Next, select the Q tool and switch to the UV Editor side. Right-click on a UV shell to select all UV shells, then click on Unfold in the UV Toolkit. This will automatically unfold all the pieces. In Edge mode, double-click on the center line of the UV, and click on Orient to Edges. This will straighten out the UV. Repeat the process for other lines, ensuring they align properly.

To fit all the UVs inside the UV map, drag-select them, then go to Modify and click Normalize. Make sure you choose to normalize them collectively and preserve the aspect ratio. Click Apply to complete the normalization process.

Now, let’s distribute the UVs using the Arrange and Layout tool. By default, the distribution will be set to zero. To add a little bit of space between the UVs, select the UV shell tool, drag-select everything, and click on Distribute. This will arrange the UVs next to each other. To add more space, repeat the process.

To center the UV shell perfectly, select all the UVs, press W to select the middle, hold down the X key, and move to the left. This will snap the UVs to the center. If any shell is still flipped, click on that shell, go to Transform, and select Flip.

Once everything is flipped correctly (displayed in blue), it’s time to export our UV snapshot. Right-click in UV Shell mode, drag-select the UVs you want to export, and click the camera icon. Choose the image format as IFF and decide whether to enable anti-alias lines or not. Label the snapshot and click Apply and Close.

Open the exported snapshot in Photoshop. If it’s exported as an IFF file, it will have a transparent layer. However, if exported as a target, it will have a black background. Duplicate the layer and fill in the background with the desired color. To avoid blending with the UVs, uncheck anti-aliasing and set the tolerance to 1 before using the Paint Bucket tool.

Make a selection of the edges using the Magic Wand tool.