When we last saw our hero he was wrestling with a whole battalion of rebellious triangular polygons. The ‘tris’ seemed to be sabotaging the great UV texturing experiment, or was that just a red herring? Our hero was soon to find out. Now, on with the story …
ahem … I have spent the last day or so trying to figure out the texturing problem. I looked into the tris vs quads issue. The entire flat face of the wings was made of tris, but converting it to quads had no noticeable effect on the distorted wing and texture. While on the subject, I must mention that converting between tris and quads is a dream in Blender. For tris to quads it’s Alt-T in edit mode, and quads to tris is Ctrl-T in edit mode. Simple.
Having ruled out the tris as the cause of the un-sightly distortion, I needed to look elsewhere. Just as a trial I played around with the placement of the bones in the armature and that solved the problem. Because I had used an extruded curve, Blender had created the face of the wings automatically. This involved lots of tris in a sort of radial pattern, with vertices only on the edges of the wings. The problem was that the centre of rotation of the wing was not the same as the central point of the edge lines. So, the bone armature lay at a glancing angle to the lines, thus causing a sort of unequal twist of vertices when the wing was posed. I could not move the centre of rotation, so I moved the far end of the bone instead – making the armature lay almost perpendicular to the face lines. This seems to have done the trick.
That done, I finished texturing the wings, and then moved on to the body. The body was a little more complicated because it is a complex shape, and I had used cubic mapping on the UV texture. Cubic mapping seems like the logical choice when you see it laid out flat, but try fitting the various sides into a decent texture and it is a different story. I did finish the texture, but next time I should try one of the others methods, maybe cylindrical mapping. The antennae and the compound eyes were adorned with procedural textures, and you see before you the finished product rendered in Blender.
I am quite happy with the results. It is not technically perfect, and it has some holes in it (literally as well as metaphorically ;)), but it serves the purpose. It should work well in the scene I plan to create with it. That is what remains to be done. As always when there is something new to be seen, you will be the first to know … after me, that is.