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File: outUV.png (549 KB, 2048x2048)
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What is the current best way to do UV unwrapping?

I know how to do basic unwrapping in Maya (I'm using 2017), bring it into Photoshop, then export it back into Maya, but this seems suboptimal to me. I have to be missing something.

My texturework is fine, but is there really no way to see how the textures are affecting the geometry in real time? Do you really have to export the whole thing, see that something got fucked up, then go back and fix it again?

If you're working with something like, say, an unwrapping face, how the fuck do you tell where things like shadows are going to go? Is it just trial and error?

Are there better ways of unwrapping UVs than Maya? I know a little about 3DSmax and other programs but I'm clueless how UVs work in those. I've also got a hypershade texture in my Maya file so I don't know how that would transfer over.

What are some ways I can improve my UV ways? Programs to use?
Use the command
automatic UVs? I feel like I'm being trolled, automatic just results in chaos for me. It's paintable, but you'd have to be mad to actually try and work with most of these results.
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I am in no way a professional nor do I have much experience, but I've been experimenting doing texturework for Banjo-Kazooie models (just to learn more about texturing, really. Given that they're really low-poly, it's easy to do stuff with them) in 3ds Max and so far I've been having best results by using Unwrap UVW then using Normal Unwrap, and selecting either front-back or left-right then fixing edges (they get distorted for some reason).
Pic related is my first model UV'd, it's Gruntilda from the game over screen (aka SexyGrunty).
way too much wasted space.
pack those UVs.
How do I do that?
Move them closer?
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Handmade and logical seams are the best, and these days pretty much every software is efficient at unwrapping your selections without too much stretching/overlapping.

Maya/Max 2017 work great, and Zbrush's UV master can be helpful too for tricky or tedious unfolds. The result is often messy though, so it's almost always mandatory to replace/reorient/repack them properly.

You seem to have weird shit and overlapping faces here and there, so the first step for you would be to git gud. Youtube is your friend.
this is my workflow. Different people might say different things, but fuck those people.

If it's basic stuff, like..non organic or inanimate models, it's best to do planar projections depending on what closely resembles basic geometry, ie. cylinders or spheres.

If it's more complex or would qualify as organic, then I usually trashmap it (automap in Maya) and .objExport and send it into RoadKill and work from there.

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