Keeping My Mind Busy

In an effort to keep my thinking away from the event of Friday afternoon, I am going to delve into building the long-procrastinated, big LEGO project I have here. Big Ben.

I am one of those pedantic types that rankles at this structure being called Big Ben. The bell is called “Big Ben,” while the tower is “The Elizabeth Tower.” I’m not sure why that annoys me so much…

Another major London landmark that is available in LEGO is the Tower Bridge. I will very likely acquire that one next.

Yesterday, I also went over to Henry’s Camera Store and bought the wide-angle Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 lens. This lens was highly recommended to me at Photoshop World. Even with the cropped sensor factor of my EOS 80D, this lens is wider than any of my other lenses.

I’m looking forward to finding some magnificent ceilings to photograph. Wide-angle lenses give the sense of epic grandeur to cathedrals and museums when the camera is angled upward. So that could be fun.

Over in the digital art world, I am very close to finishing up the unwrapping of my bell tower model.

I will probably make a video introducing RizomUV in the near future. I am not sure if I will aim for creating a tutorial series though.

UV Unwrap Of My Bell Tower

The slow and sometimes-not-steady progress on my Turin duomo inspired tower has continued. The end (of the UV mapping) is finally in sight!

rizomUV_progressI have steadily become accustomed to the RizomUV workflow. I am now working on mapping the spiral stairs to the belfry. Unfortunately, the automatic edge selection tools in RizomUV are having problems with these parts. So I am stuck with doing each piece manually.

It is slow and tedious work, but fairly straight forward. I have managed to get the stair support cut into four pieces that unwrap quite well. The tiresome bit is that there are about 60 stairs to work on…

I experimented with the mosaic automatic edge selection for the roof shingles. That was a disaster! I ended up going back and re-doing those by hand. I partly blame the way LWCAD creates shingles; there a lot of n-gons that needed cleaning up during modeling.

Currently, many of the UV islands are oriented at 90 or 180 degrees to how I want them. I’ll fix that up just before I call all of this work done.

After that, I’ll use Allegorithmic’s Substance Painter to do the texturing. I’ve owned the Substance products for a couple of years now but have never been able to use them thoroughly. I hope the model turns out as nicely as the vision in my head.

So my 3D knowledge will continue to expand!

Buying RizomUV

Friday marked the final day of my evaluation period for RizomUV. The application developer graciously doubled my time because most of the first period was spent looking at an older version of the program. I appreciated his generosity.

A full license will cost about $230. But given how much better RizomUV is over UV Layout, it is worth it.

That said, RizomUV is not without its quirks that one must get used to. But if you are aware of these idiosyncrasies and work carefully, you can avoid them. Truly, the biggest knock against the product is the lack of proper documentation.

Some users have started creating YouTube tutorials – I’m not yet sure if I’ll do the same. For now, the best learning resource is a Discord chat channel. You can text with other users and the developer directly.

What makes RizomUV superior to UV Layout? The selection ability. It is far easier to select edges for cutting in RizomUV. It has an edge loop selection. You can select individual polygons and RizomUV will cut them around their perimeter. The application also has several automatic selection features, such as box model and sharp edges.

I mentioned some quirks and the biggest one for me was that RizomUV includes the entire still-folded 3D mesh in the UV space. UV Layout used the metaphor of “rooms” to separate where you perform cutting from where you perform unwrapping. This means that in RizomUV, if you are not careful, you unwrap a part of your model but if there are other visible parts, those will become highly deformed. Basically, RizomUV is trying to unwrap a 3D mesh that does not have any edge cuts yet. The results can be bizarre and jolting.

But all in all, it is a great product. I’m glad to have bought it. Hopefully I will get my bell tower model unwrapped in the near future.