The Ministry's procedure is unlike previous attempts at making an automated UV unwrapper.
It thinks like an artist. It doesn't follow some simple heuristic, it apply to every model. Just like a skilled artist, the procedure
analyses the model and approaches each type of geometry differently to
get the optimal result. It detects over 20 different types of
topologies and approaches each one differently. The Ministry has
spent countless hours UV mapping and texturing models. This experience
has layed the foundation to create the ultimate UV tool, for 3D
painted models, light mapping and procedural materials. The Ministry of Flat is
continuously developing the procedure with the feedback and support of list of
professional 3D artists at several different AAA game studios to
ensure it meets all the demands of 3D artists.
The Ministry is dedicated to a fully automated procedure. There is no need to set seams, tweak settings, or even inspection of the model, it
just does the work. Hard surface, soft surface, or a mix, whatever kind of
models you have, the procedure has a stage dedicated to it. We have a vision of a workflow
where artists can reliably forget that UV mapping even exists and go
straight from modeling to texturing. For this to be possible, the
algorithm must be trustworthy, and consistently produce great results. Any
human input required would limit the use cases, and act a as a crutch to
our ministerial staff, that should not have to be accepted by artists.
The Ministry believes in optimizing, to minimize stretching and seams, and to
maintain an even texture resolution throughout the model. But unlike
other solutions it also takes great care to rotate the texture
correctly. Correctly rotated UV makes a huge difference in texture
quality in many cases, as jaggy lines require a lot more texture
resolution than straight lines. Sometimes the procedure even adds stretching,
in order to maximize texture usage and to better follow the topology
of the model, just like an experinced artist would. The procedure also places
seams in places where they are best hidden. The Ministry's has implemented
countless special cases and tricks, taken from the experience of a good UV artist.
- No artist input. Zero, zilch, zip, nada.
- Handles any type of mesh, characters, machines or environments.
- Ideal for lightmaps and use with procedural paint tools.
- Enables new workflows where geometry changes are less costly.
- Handles complex meshes with many folds very well.
- High quality output:
- No overlaps.
- Good packing.
- Minimal stretching.
- Intelligently rotated.
- No reversed polygons.
- Adjustable island gaps to prevent bleeds.
- Dependable, removes the need for asset QA.
- Available with UI, or as command line tool for pipeline integration.
- Full support.
What is UV mapping?
UV mapping, the process of taking a 3D model, and unwrapping it into
a flat surface, is one of the most labor intensive and costly
processes in computer graphics. A professional game artist spends as
much as 10-15% of their time just on this task. For most Game, VR, and
VFX artists this represent a huge time sink and cost. The Ministy of Flat removes
that entire step in a fast and reliable way.
Can the Ministry's procedure handle any kind of model?
Yes, as long as it's a polygon mesh, we can handle it. The ministy is devoted to following the intent of the artist, and will interpret the topology as such. Meshes with poor topology may therefore get poorly treated.
How do I integrate the procedure into my pipeline?
The unwrapper is available as a standalone executable with a GUI, and
as a command line tool that can be integrated into a pipeline to fully
automate the UV process of large data sets.
Can we completely get rid of UV editors now?
For texturing yes, but UV maps can sometimes have other uses, like for
some shader input and for visual effects. An example would be mapping
used to scroll running water shader across a surface to simulate how
it behaves in rain.
Does the Ministry's procedure handle large models?
Yes. The unwrapper has been tested on 300 MB files. While it handles
large models, it is worth noting that given that the procedure lays out the
entire model into one sheet and each island requires some spacing to
avoid texture bleeds. With a high enough count of islands, the texels
needed for the spacing will eat up most of the texture space. It is
therefore recommended to divide complex models into multiple
objects that are UV wrapped and textured separately.
How fast is it?
Quality has always been a higher priority than speed during the
development, but it still manages to be fast. Most models are computed
in just a few seconds. Given that the Ministry employs many different
algorithms for different types of geometry, speed also depends on the
type of geometry. In general the procedure operates close to linearly,
meaning that a twice as large model takes roughly twice the time to
What format does the Ministry of Flat support?
We support obj files. Obj is a format that is universally
supported by applications such as Blender, 3DStudio Max, Maya,
Houdini, Modo and Substance.
What is the Separate edges option?
Separate hard edges is an option that forces the algorithm to
separate any hard edges. This is useful for lightmapping and some bump
mapping where you want to avoid having a texture "bleed around edges".
Separating hard edges creates more islands and therefore more texture
space is needed for filling, resulting in slightly lower texture
I see results with more seams then I've seen in other automated UV
unwrappers, why is this?
While it is generally good to reduce the number of
seams, many other factors also affect the Ministry's decision to produce more
seams. The first one being that modern workflows have higher texture
resolutions and 3D painting tools. To a large degree, that reduces the
issues associated with seams. The second is that with more islands,
it is possible to pack them better. Models that has been unwrapped into
single large islands often have awkward shapes that leave large parts
of the texture unused. Unwrapping large shapes also produces a lot of
stretching in undesirable ways. Often areas near seams gets stretched
out to take up a lot of texture space, even though the seams are
placed to be in less important areas of the model. You end up with a
mapping where you have most of the texture resolution where you least
Are the exported models identical to the ones imported?
No. To work properly the procedure has to clean the model and make sure
there is no broken geometry, such as polygons without surface, or
polygons that reference a vertex more thn once. The procedure also tries to
convert triangle pairs into quads in order to apply some filters.
Polygons with more than four sides will be converted to triangles and
quads. Vertex numbering and order is however preserved.
Why should I invest in procedure for my studio?
Your employees will love it. But mostly because it makes financial
sense. Here is a quick calculation: An artist probably spends one
month each year just on UV mapping, so take the man month cost of an
artist, multiply it with the number of artists you employ. That's how
much you spend on UV mapping each year. Now compare it to the cost of
license. If it's higher you should license the software, If it's lower, please make
sure you are following all minimum wage regulations in your juristiction.
How was the procedure implemented?
It was entirely implemented in C for maximum performance.
Is it possible to license the procedure for inclusion in a software solution?
Possibly. Please contact us with what you have in mind and we will see
how we best can help you.
Does the Ministry believe that the earth is flat?
No, but we do believe we can make it flat.