UV mapping
A representation of UV Mappingguf

UV mapping is the process of making a 2D graphic be represented onto a 3D object.

UV mapping involves projecting a texture on a 3D object. The "UV" within the processes name represents the original 2D images dimensions, which are then wrapped around a 3D object's X, Y and Z dimensions.
The process allows a 3D object to be painted with with an ordinary image, formally known as a UV texture map.

The process involves assigning specific pixels of the texture map to the face of the 3D object's polygons. This is usually done by copying a triangle-shaped piece of the image onto a flat triangular face on the object.

In most 3D design programs you are able Unwrap Objects into UV maps by defining seams in the object

A cube for example would have seams defined along a few edges so that when peeled it becomes a 't' shape this shape can then be rendered out and then edited in software like Paint or Photoshop. Using this edited version of the map it can then be imported back into your 3D software assigned to the 3D object.

U and V represent the coordinates of the texture in relation to the object in space. There is another UV mapping coordinate called 'W' and it is very rarely used. UVW maps are for Special 3d textures, but the amount of time and money that it takes to create and use a UVW map is not worth it seeing as UV maps can achieve basically the same thing for less work.

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