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Texture Locator

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When any texture layer is created in the Shader Tree, image based or procedural, an associated 'Texture Locator' item is automatically generated and added to the items list and linked by the texture layers 'Locator' property. By default, Texture Locators are generally added to a folder (really a group locator item) called 'Texture Group'. This makes it easy to toggle the visibility of the locators in the 3D viewports, as some users find them distracting. Users may select the texture locator directly in the items list, or by selecting the locator icon in any 3D viewport. Most often though, users will select them via the shader tree; when any texture layer is selected in the tree, the locator is available in the named subtab on the right side of the items associated 'Properties' panel. Additionally, the locator may be toggled by the small '+' sign preceding the texture layers name in the Shader Tree, LMB+clicking the '+' icon reveals the layer.
Texture locators provide a very important function as they control the application of the texture layer over the rendered surface. A Texture Locator is like a regular 'Locator' Item, in that it has Position, Rotation and Scale information. Additionally there are settings specific to controlling the images projection method, meaning how it is mapped or applied to the surface. For certain projection modes, such as 'Planar', users can interactively position textures in the 3D viewport by transforming the Texture Locator item itself. Other modes, UV in particular, completely ignore the positional and scale attributes as the mapping is defined by the UV map itself.

Texture Locator PanelTransform--

Position: An Item transform that allows the user to numerically position the texture locator item in XYZ space. This position defines the center position of the textures overall volume as defined by the 'Size' setting.

Rotation: An Item transform that allows the user to numerically set the rotation of the texture volume. The Rotation transform originates from items position value.

Order: Allows the user to set the order that rotations are applied to the locator item. Changing the order that rotations are applied can sometimes help to reduce or eliminate gimbal lock when animating.

Size: These XYZ values set the textures projection size, or boundary as the case may be defining the textures overall volume.

Auto Size: This button automatically sets the 'Position' and 'Size' values; determined by the overall bounding box volume of the tagged surface(s).

World Transforms: Typically, if you move a texture locator around, the texture will move over a surface that is sitting still, this allows for animated textures. If you parent the texture locator to the item and move the item around, both are moving in sync, so the texture stays still. With 'World Transforms' enabled, the parented texture will animate over the surface as if the surface was setting still and the locator was moving by itself. It is a subtle difference to World Coordinates.

World Coordinates: Typically, when you move an item, the texture moves with it, as if painted on. When 'World Coordinates' is enabled, textures will act as if frozen in place, with surfaces swimming through the texture. This option is extremely useful for texturing cloned or replicated items (that are NOT animated) with procedural textures as it provides the look of randomizing the texturing, without the need to modify any other surface attributes.


Projection Type: A projection defines how a texture, be it image based or procedural, is applied to a dimensional 3D surface. The various projection types can greatly affect the final rendered outcome. Modo offers a variety of projection types (illustrated below).


Solid Projection Solid-- A 'Solid' projection will only be applicable for procedural texture layers. If you think of a procedural texture as a solid volume, this projection type will render a particular value at the intersection point of the surface within the virtual volume of the procedural. A block of marble is a good example, the surface will look as if it were carved from the procedural volume revealing the surface.
Planar Projection Planar-- A 'Planar' projection is similar in concept to a movie projector, but the associated image is projected onto the surface orthographically, meaning the projection rays travel perpendicular from the virtual projection plane onto the surface. This projection type is great for flat or nearly flat surfaces. Other instances will likely cause undesirable stretching of the texture. Users can specify the axis direction, either X, Y or Z, they wish the projection to face.
Cylindrical Projection Cylindrical-- For the 'Cylindrical' projection, the texture image is warped into a cylindrical shape and projected onto the surface. Very useful in texturing cylindrical shapes, such as labeling on various cans and bottles. Surfaces perpendicular to the projection will produce undesirable stretching of the texture as exhibited by the lid of the teapot. Users can specify the axis direction for the cylinder along the X, Y or Z axes.
Spherical Projection Spherical-- For the 'Spherical' projection, the texture image is warped into a spherical shape and projected onto a surface. Useful in texturing planets and round objects such as sports balls. Spherical projections are also useful in mapping 360° panoramic images for use as environment maps. Surfaces perpendicular to the projection will produce undesirable stretching of the texture as exhibited by the spout of the teapot. Users can specify the axis direction for the sphere along the X, Y or Z axes.
Cubic Projection Cubic-- For the 'Cubic' projection, the texture is planar projected through a surface from all three axial directions, X, Y & Z. A polygon receives a certain projection based on its normal direction. This projection type is best on cube shaped objects, and occasionally on detailed surfaces where texture seams are not of great concern. The main drawback is for textures that have a proper orientation are flipped on reverse faces, this is resolved by using the 'Cube' projection method.
Box Projection Box-- Similar to 'Cubic' projection, but the 'Box' projection type projects a texture in a planar fashion from all six directions (like an inward facing cube), eliminating reverse projections on rear facing polygons inherent to the Cubic method. This projection type is best on cube shaped objects, and occasionally on detailed surfaces where texture seams are not of great concern.
Camera Projection Front Projection-- A special projection type, useful in composing 3D elements into a photograph. A 'Front Projected' image (also called a plate) is projected out from a camera or lights position (as specified by the 'Projection Camera' setting below) often onto low resolution proxy geometry or as a background environment. If the cameras position and view settings are set appropriately, rendered elements can be made to match with elements of the projected background.
UV Projection UV Map-- UV mapping is a technique where the user can precisely plot how a 2D flat image is applied onto a 3D surface by defining a 'U' horizontal and 'V' vertical position for each polygon vertex. Many primitive object are created with automatic UV maps. Otherwise, UV maps can be easily created using any of the various UV tools available in the 'Texture > UV Tools' menu. For surfaces with a UV map defined, this is the default projection method.
Light Probe Image Light Probe-- Light probe images are images used to light scenes by way of image based lighting (IBL). They are typically high dynamic range imagery (HDRI) that when applied to a scene as an Environment (and Global Illumination is enabled), brightness information embedded in the image is used to light the scene producing very realistic and natural results. A popular method of of generating these HDRI images is based on taking multiple photographs of a reflective sphere. The 'Light Probe' projection will properly unwrap this chrome-sphere style of HDRI image, projecting it out as a proper spherical background.
Implicit Projection Implicit UV-- 'Implicit UVs' are procedurally generated implied UVs used to apply image maps onto Fur fibers individually. Every fiber, when set as 'Strips' will fill the 0-1 UV space allowing appropriate images to be mapped onto the fibers, providing a means to make incredibly realistic grass and feathers, among other things.


Projection Camera: When selecting the 'Front Projection' type one may use this setting to specify the camera to project from. Lights can be projected from as well.

UV Map: When selecting the 'UV Map' projection type, one may use this setting to specify an alternate UV map.

Projection Axis: Defines an axial direction for any of the primitive projection types -Planar, Cylindrical, Spherical, Cubic, Box and LightProbe.

Horizontal/Vertical Wrap: Controls wrapping amounts for UV image maps, effectively scaling the UV across the specified texture. A 'Wrap' value of 2.0 would repeat an image twice over the same UV space, while a wrap of 0.5 would stretch the image by half.

Horizontal/Vertical Repeat: Sets how bitmap images repeat beyond the defined image size/UV space boundary; several methods can be chosen: 'Reset' disables image tiling, 'Repeat' will tile repeatedly, 'Mirror' will tile the image flipping each subsequent image producing a backward and forwards type tiling, and finally 'Edge' will simply repeat the edge row of pixels. Users should note that these options are not visible in the GL Viewports.



Falloff Type: Falloff, when defined, will fade the texture layers opacity over the specified distance. There is cubic (3D), spherical (3D) and planar X, Y or Z.

Falloff: A setting of '0' disables falloff, when set to any value above '0', the falloff amount will act like a multiplier of the size. So a setting of 0.5 on a 1 meter texture scale will fade the texture to fully transparent over 2 meters from the locators position, a setting of 0.1 would scale it to fully transparent at 10 meters.


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polydomi June 19, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Is there any way to make the front projection stick to the object when it's animated ? Other apps do this but I can't find the button in modo. It's a very important feature.


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