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Fully automated UV Unwrapping that works

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.

Compatible with all major DCC tools

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.

Mapping that follows the topology

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.

Adjustable island gaps

Ministry of flat is free for most usages. The free license lets you: Ministry of flat is commersially available for custom licensing including: For further details contact the ministry at: theministry @ quelsolaar . com

QuestionWhat is UV mapping?

Answer 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.

QuestionCan the Ministry's procedure handle any kind of model?

AnswerYes, 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.

QuestionHow do I integrate the procedure into my pipeline?

AnswerThe 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.

QuestionCan we completely get rid of UV editors now?

AnswerFor 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.

QuestionDoes the Ministry's procedure handle large models?

AnswerYes. 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.

QuestionHow fast is it?

AnswerQuality 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 compute.

QuestionWhat format does the Ministry of Flat support?

AnswerWe support obj files. Obj is a format that is universally supported by applications such as Blender, 3DStudio Max, Maya, Houdini, Modo and Substance.

QuestionWhat is the Separate edges option?

AnswerSeparate 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 resolution.

QuestionI see results with more seams then I've seen in other automated UV unwrappers, why is this?

AnswerWhile 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 need it.

QuestionAre the exported models identical to the ones imported?

AnswerNo. 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.

QuestionWhy should I invest in procedure for my studio?

AnswerYour 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.

QuestionHow was the procedure implemented?

AnswerIt was entirely implemented in C for maximum performance.

QuestionIs it possible to license the procedure for inclusion in a software solution?

AnswerPossibly. Please contact us with what you have in mind and we will see how we best can help you.

QuestionDoes the Ministry believe that the earth is flat?

AnswerNo, but we do believe we can make it flat.