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Making A PSD Network In Maya

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I'm sure you all know how to use the automated create PSD network in Maya. In this tutorial I'll show you how to make it by hand in the hypershade.

Set-up

This tutorial assumes you have a basic knowledge of nodes and connections.

Also, a basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop is required.

Open a file that you want to create an Adobe Photoshop network for.

Getting The UV Snapshots

You'll need these to represent the UVs on the texture map.

Step one - Select your model and open the UV editor by going to window>UV texture editor.

Step two - On the UV texture editor menu set, go to polygons>UV snapshot...

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Step three - Leave the file in its default location; set the resolution to the size that you want your final texture map to be in pixels. The image format must remain a non-compressed format. Example: a JPeg format won't work. Click okay and you're done.

Creating The Adobe Photoshop File

First open Adobe Photoshop.

Step one - Go to file>new... Set the width and height to the same value used for the UV snapshot. Make sure the measurement is set to pixels; the rest of the attributes can remain at their defaults.

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Depending on your requirments, you need to create a new layer for each attribute you want to texture map. Example: one for color, one for bump map, one for diffuser.

Step two - Go to layer>new>layer... Set the name of the layer to the name of the texture map. This is not required; it's for organization. Create all the layers for the texture maps that you intend to create.

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PSD File Structure

When you load the file into Maya, Maya can't select each individual layer. What it can select is a group of layers from a file (this is done through a PSD file node). So in Adobe you must define a group for each texture map. You can have multiple layers inside the group.

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Step one - Select a layer and go to layer>group layers. Change the name from group to the names of the texture map. Example, color, diffuser, transparency, etc. This is required. Maya will reference this group by its name.

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Step two - Repeat step one until you've put all your maps in a group.

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Step three - Save your file in your source images folder (documents/Maya/projects/current project (default)/source images/). Make sure you save it as a PSD file.

Importing The UV Snapshot

The UV snapshot tells you where the UVs are placed while texturing.

Step one - Don't close the already open Adobe Photoshop document we created, but go to file>open. Now we need to locate the UV snapshot we created. It will be in your documents/Maya/projects/current project (default)/images/OutUV.

Step two - With the new document open, go to layer>duplicate layer... Set the destination to the name of your saved Adobe file.

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Step three - Close the new document and go back to the PSD file.

Step four - The UV snapshot will have a black background that we'll remove later. It cannot be inside any of the groups. If it is, drag it out. It needs to be on top of all the othe layers because we intend to paint underneath it so we don't paint over our UVs.

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Step five - The UV snapshot has a black background to it that will not work because we can't see under it. To fix that, we'll use the background eraser tool.

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If you can't see the tool, click on the eraser icon, hold, and wait for the menu to come out, then select "background eraser tool".

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Step six - Set the background eraser to the settings in the image below.

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Set the foreground color to white and the background color to black.

Now just erase the entire image. It may look like it's erasing all of it, but it's actually just erasing the black. The white lines won't show up against the white background; we'll fix that in a second.

Step seven - Go to layer>layer styles>color overlay. Set the color to the color of your choice.

Step eight - Since you don't want to accidently paint on the UV snapshot layer, click on the lock button to prevent the layer from being further edited.

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Save the file.

Back to Maya.

Now that we've created our PSD file, time to load it into Maya. First we're going to need to open the hypershade. Go to window>rendering editors>hypershade.

Step one - On the left side of the hpershade, create Maya node, create the shader you intend to be using for you model. Example: Blinn, Lambert.

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Step two - Under the create Maya node section, roll down to until you find the PSD file. Don't confuse this with the standard file node - there's a big difference. We'll explain that later.

Step three - Select it and open the attributes editor (window>attributes editor).

Step four - Click on the folder icon across from the text image name and load the PSD file you saved in your source image.

Step five - Set the "link to layer set" to the name of the group that you want this PSD file node to use. Example: color, etc.

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Step six - Back in the hypershade middle mouse button drag and drop the PSD file node onto the shader.

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Step seven - Select the appropriate connection to be made, example: if the PSD file node is linking to the color texture, it should connect to the color attribute of the shader.

Step eight - Create a new PSD file node. Select it, open the attributes editor and repeat steps 4 through 7, but change the link to layer set to a different group (example: bump) and, when connecting it to the shader, change the connection to what's appropriate for that texture.

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Step nine - Select your model, right click on the shader in the hypershade, hold and select assign material to selection.

Now you're done. The advantages of creating the network and file by hand is 1. you know how it works so if it breaks you can fix it 2. you can set any resolution you want 3. the file structure naming can be more relevant.

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