Looking for an Auto-Unwrap solution



Howdy TAs

I’m working on a new project that has a bit of a unique pipeline in mind. The pipeline requires taking a posed 3d sculpt from ZBrush (typically a character model) and the end result should be a detailed game asset that is poly reduced, unwrapped, with a baked normal map, curvature map, ao map, and bent normal map. The intent is that the texture will be painted by the user as if you were painting a miniature, using the bent normals and ao map as guides for where the ink might settle or the dry brushing sticks.

I can handle the poly reduction and baking materials well enough but the biggest hangup right now is finding a good auto-unwrap solution. The most promising so far is Houdini’s GameDev Auto UV but I am often getting stretching on extremities. I’ve tried ZBrush’s UV Master with poor results, but only briefly, and I started looking into blender.

I was wondering if any of y’all might have suggestions. This automated solution is in hopes of saving time and money, so we could easily take a high poly 3d sculpt and get it into the project in mere hours since we don’t have to worry about rigging, or having having an artist unwrap and texture the model manually. The goal would be a reasonable amount of seams, weighted toward occlusion areas if possible, and an even grid across the entire model w/o mirroring.

I should note that this is a Unity project and I am fairly new to actually using Houdini, Zbrush, or Blender as, in the past, I mostly have been implementing animated models from Maya into Unity. So it’s entirely possible I am just doing something wrong in these programs. I’m willing to learn and we have already purchased a license in Houdini and Substance Designer for this prototype.

Any help would be appreciated!

Brian Cummings
Technical Artist at Unknown Worlds Entertainment


This may not help b/c it doesn’t have a command line or scripting interface, but I still think it’s good.

There was a siggraph paper this year that made a pretty good attempt at this. And they released an open source implementation! When I played with it, it seemed promising.