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Planar Mapping

When you apply a UVW Map modifier to an object or to selected object faces, the mapping gizmo defaults to Planar mapping coordinates, the simplest type of UVW mapping coordinates. Planar mapping simply projects a flat version of your bitmap onto your selected object or faces. (Procedural maps, such as Noise, Checker, and Smoke, don't need specific mapping coordinates.) Planar mapping works best when applied to surfaces that are mainly parallel to the mapping plane itself. If polygons on the surface slant more than 45 degrees away from parallel, then you'll probably see smearing or stretching of a bitmap texture along those areas.

Planar mapping coordinates come in handy when you wish to create custom bitmap textures that fit your geometry perfectly. The basic approach is to apply the 3ds max rendering feature Render Bounding Box/Selected. This feature allows you to render an image of a selected object to specific dimensions constrained by an orthographic “bounding box” view. You can then load the image into any image editor and use it as a template for painting a custom bitmap texture for the object. When you're finished with the painted bitmap, load it into the appropriate map slot (usually Diffuse Color) and apply it to the original object. Since the object has already been UVW-mapped, your custom-painted details will fit it exactly.


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