UVing in Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces: User Experience

Charlotte MacKie tested Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces and reviewed the advantages of the software that can greatly accelerate the process of UVing.

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"Square the squares and clean your checkers. No stretch you'll have, nor quality loss you'll suffer."

“Spend Time on Your Art. Not Your UVs.”

This is Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces’s people disclaimer for their software. It’s all about that. The whole point is for you to gain time, ease the process of UVing and it’s indeed a very powerful and efficient tool. The truth is, I personally always had… let’s say, an “apprehension” toward UVing and I know it’s a feeling shared by many in the industry. But be prepared! With Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces, I have switched teams and am now on the side of the defense of the UVing process.

The real power of Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces lies in its steadiness and reliability when it comes to handling polygons: you can work with up to 100K+ poly models and flatten them with non-overlapping UVs. Of course, you still have to check and maybe do some adjustments, but hey! Where is the fun challenge otherwise? 

This incredible polycount capacity makes particular sense to me when, for example, I mix it with the possibility of importing a texture map inside the software and seeing the result in real-time. I particularly like it because it allows you to work with trim textures, for instance.

Furthermore, you can set your UDIMs to 10x10 tiles and a multichannel feature is also in there! This comes in very handy if you need to prepare your model for lightmaps, for example. Finally, the adjustable grid functionality adds another layer of versatility to Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces.

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The Interface

First comes the interface. This is, in my opinion, the best part of Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces. Quite dense and perhaps overwhelming at first, it actually happens to be user-friendly, easy to get around, and very efficient. To start with, you can embrace in a glance the whole panel of possibilities: all the tools and checkers that will make your work easier are laid out so that you can find what you need without time loss.

The Color maps are a very nice feature (stretch, texel density, mat ID, and topology maps), as they allow you to see in a glimpse if something is wrong with your model’s UVs. Also, the hotkeys are perfectly functional and easy to get around. Nevertheless, if you want to set up your own, they are completely customizable to adapt to every workflow habits you may have. 

Finally, if you ever get lost, the “Help/Tips” box on the right side of the window is there for you. Add to that a detailed help page for every menu reachable via the question mark in the box and there is no excuse left for not finding your way out.

Dense and Versatile Toolset

Again, the software makes it very easy for the user: visible cuts, loop selection, optimize brushes, “live unfold” option, “see-through” selection… All those tools and more have your back while UV mapping.

The packing properties represent another strong point of the software. You can always adjust your UVs by hand, but the Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces team has developed very effective automation processes in order to use the most UV space with the least waste possible, respecting the scale and orientation you set up and ensuring you get the best result. The “Stack similar” islands functionality is obviously present and as useful as ever if you work on a character, for example, that has many identical parts (a bullet belt, for instance).

Workflow Incorporation

After a few months of testing, I have fully incorporated Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces to my workflow and it had made my creation process much smoother and comfortable. The import-export formats fit most of the needs in the industry (obj, fbx, dae). Thanks to this 3D Artist-friendly software, I was able to gain time and efficiency. Its versatility makes it a great tool either for animation or video games projects. But the most important lesson of all I’ve learned by testing Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces is: UVs can be your friends! Accepting them as such makes your 3D life even more fulfilling.

Long story short, Rizom-Lab Virtual Spaces allows you to go deeper and deeper in the UV world, gaining time, easing the process, and getting a much better result, which inevitably leads to better art!

Enough words, let's see it in action! 

Charlotte MacKie, 3D Artist

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