After modelling a 3D object the next logical step is to add texture to it. But before imagery can be added, the model first needs to be uv unwrapped. This basically means you turn the 3D object into a 2D net of itself, so that when texture is introduced the net can easily fold back around the model.
The texture menu in Maya is called ‘Hypershade’. This is where shaders and textures can be added to models.
To mark areas that i uv unwrapped i needed a new material, so from the menu i created a ‘lambert’ one. In the details for the lambert, i clicked the box next to the colour option. This opened another menu, and i chose checkerboard since it makes it easier to tell which parts i have unwrapped. After that i dragged the material onto my model by holding the middle mouse button.
To start unwrapping, open the ‘uv editor’. Select a number of faces on the model that you think will flatten out without distorting, then shift right click in the editor, and select ‘planar map’. The faces won’t be unfolded properly so you need to change your selection type and select all the uvs. Shift right click again and there will be an option to smooth uvs, an ‘unfold’ button will appear which you need to hold and drag as far right as you can. This completely flattens out those faces and highlights if they don’t work (e.g. overlapping).
To connect sections of the net, you select an edge that both sections share, then shift right click and ‘move and sew’. This connects them but you will need to unfold them again after.
This is what the net of my spaceship looks like so far in the UV editor.
I still have to UV unwrap some of my model, like the underside and the guns.