UV Mapping, Texturing, Shaders

UV mapping is a technique used to take 2 dimensional images (Texture map) and project them onto a 3D object  making them appear as 3 dimensional images. This is done by applying a texture map that uses an additional set of coordinates (U & V co-ordinates) above the classic Cartesian coordinates of X, Y and Z. The UV mapping process involves assigning pixels in the texture map to surface mappings on the polygons of the 3D object.


  1. It is very easy to alter the map and see the changes immediately.
  2. UV maps can be easily exported to other 3d programs and then adjusted within these programs.
  3. There are many different types of map depending on the shape of the image eg: cylindrical maps , spherical maps etc and a choice of the best map based on the general overall shape can be made.
  4. A good UV map will provide the coordinates for images that depict colour, specularity etc.
  5. Can be used to define the position of normal and displacement maps that have been generated from higher-resolution versions of the model but can impart this detail onto lower polygon versions.
  6. They can be exported into 2D applications such as Photoshop for further enhancements like adding texts etc.

UV Mapping(UV Mapping, n.d)



Refers to the process by which textural details such as clothing, skin, surface of tables etc can be added to 3D objects to produce realistic & life like results. The process of texturing is called “Texture Mapping”. Texturing can be achieved using various kinds of maps.

  1. Projection painting – is the process of using a photograph to create a realistic texture.
  2. Colour Maps / Diffuse maps – helps define the surface colour for all materials without any lighting or shading information.

Color-Maps(Colour Map, 2015)


  1. Bump Maps – is a grey scale image used to create an illusion of ridges & turfs on a surface. It doesn’t actually create any extra geometry but just an illusion.

Bump-Maps(Bump Map, 2015)


  1. Displacement Maps – similar to the bump map, displacement maps create height illusions but this actually affects the geometry.

Displacement-Maps(Displacement Map, 2015)

  1. Normal Maps – is a pseudo height map which creates an illusion of anything from height to how the model is affected by lighting. It is a map of what direction your geometry normals are facing.


  1. Specular Maps – is a map that directs the 3D program as to how shiny each area of the model is.

Specular Maps(Specular Map, 2015)


  1. Mask Maps – helps to combine multiple textures together on a single object by using black & white values to define which texture layer is displayed on which area of the object. They are a very flexible way to work as it lets one change where textures appear without actually touching the maps themselves.

Mask-Maps(Mask Map, 2015)


  1. Opacity Maps – helps create transparency effects from the use of black white & grayscales to determine the extent of opacity.

(Opacity Map, n.d)


  1. Glow Maps – allows one to control the glow shape, colour & strength. It blends with the diffuse map & based on the diffuse colour produces a resultant glow effect.

(Glow Map, n.d)



Are an algorithm that describes how the surface responds to light. In other words, they are a set of instructions applied to a 3D model that lets the computer know how it should be displayed so as to control the way the surface of the model interacts with light, including opacity, reflectivity, specular highlight etc. Some of the types of shaders as shown in the picture below are:

  1. Anisotropic Shader
  2. Blinn Shader
  3. Metal Shader
  4. Multi-layer Shader
  5. Oren-Nayar-Blinn Shader
  6. Phong Shader
  7. Strauss Shader
  8. Translucent Shader



  1. Understanding UV Mapping. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2016, from http://www.steves-digicams.com/knowledge-center/how-tos/video-software/understanding-uv-mapping.html#b
  2. How to use UV maps. (2013, July 31). Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://www.creativebloq.com/how-use-uv-maps-8134077
  3. Nobel-Jørgensen, M. (2011, April 05). Procedural generated mesh in Unity part 2 with UV mapping. Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://blog.nobel-joergensen.com/2011/04/05/procedural-generated-mesh-in-unity-part-2-with-uv-mapping/
  4. 3D Texturing Terminology | Learning to 3D Texture. (2014). Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://blog.digitaltutors.com/cover-bases-common-3d-texturing-terminology/
  5. Understanding the Difference between Texture Maps. (2014). Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://blog.digitaltutors.com/understanding-difference-texture-maps/
  6. Shading Type. (2014, December 17). Retrieved January 30, 2016, from https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2015/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-2AD138C0-5CAC-4825-8855-5535CAE0D4F4-htm.html
  7. Types of Maps. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://www.reallusion.com/iclone/Help/iClone3/15_Multiple_Channel_Texture_Mapping/Types_of_maps.htm
  8. Owed, A. (2013, May 21). Geometry, Textures & Shaders with Processing – Tutorial. Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://www.creativeapplications.net/processing/geometry-textures-shaders-processing-tutorial/