Creating texture patterns in maya


If you are like me and you dont use much illustrator or you even dont know how to make repetitive patterns in photoshop, you may want to try doing it in maya. The basic workflow is to model the primitive shapes and use snapshot or duplicate special to make the patters that you need. Then just do an “ID pass” type of render and use it as a mask in your texture editing software.

Final result


Our goal is to make a mask to use in the texture for the guitar body. Once we established the shape we want, referencing some real world images, we should take a few minutes to think about all the different shapes that we need to model, how the shapes will be positioned and which tools we can use to speed up the process.

Basic setup

At this point you can import your hero model to a new scene, so you can get the scale right, and make the most basic shapes.


I start by creating a poly pipe with enough polygons to not get into tesselation issues when rendering. Then extracting the front faces after established the right scale. Now I start to look at my reference images for the pattern I want to create, I noticed that some parts of it are “cutout” and you can see the guitars’s wood texture. So in the above image as you can see I create all the necessary splits, where you see red all those parts will act as a mask and show the texture of the hero model.

Attach to motion path and snapshot

Here we will create the first repetitive detail, which is a squeezed plane along a circular shape. So I start by creating a nurbs circle and positioning my polygon shape in the starting of the circle.


Select the plane and then the circle and go to: Animate > Motion Paths > Attach to motion path [options]. You can let the default setting and click “apply”.


In the AE open the motionPath tab and set the world up vector to normal.


You will have to experiement with the settings untill you get what you need. In my case I need to chenge the up axis to x.


Scroll in your timeline and you should have the plane animated along the circle (path).


By default maya will give you a “smoth” animation, but in this case you dont want that, you need a linear curve so the geometry get’s evenly spaced in the end. Try for yourself and see what changes. Select the plane object, open the graph editor, click “a” to frame the animation curve if needed, select all the points and click on the linear curve icon that you can see in the image below.


Now select the plane and go to Animate > Create animation snapshot, use the settings below as reference, you probably will need to change the increment depending on your goal.


So this is the main idea, you can create your curves (paths) and distribute your objects along it. This can be very usefull in some situations.

Create all the shapes


In this image you can see that I have created several patterns to fit the design I wanted, using over and over again the same technique of animation snapshot in maya. Then is just a matter of positioning your elements in the z axis, so you have the right overlapping.

In the end you can render with maya software, setting good anti aliasing like “production quality” preset, using a 1:1 resolution like 2048×2048 in an ortographic view like front, that way you dont have any perspective issues in your texture mask.

Final texture


As you can see in the image I created the diffuse texture pattern using the masks made in maya, since I used red blue and green colors I can easly select by channel in photoshop to create selections.

That’s it, let me know if you found this tutorial usefull.

  • Qrious

    Very, very useful. Thanks for sharing this! Keep it up, we appreciate it!