Kat’s Toolbox : The OBJ Wrangler

A handful of the items in my toolbox are ones I’ve written myself for one purpose or another. You can usually tell when it’s something I wrote because it will have a name that’s just awful. Today: The OBJ Wrangler.

At the moment it only does one thing, but I called it the OBJ Wrangler because it’s built around a little framework I wrote for loading, parsing and working with Wavefront OBJ files. In time, it will do more things, as I need it to, but for now it just gets me some useful stuff from UV maps for making textures.

Awful name, mostly awful software

Awful name, mostly awful software

I do a lot of texturing work in Adobe Illustrator, particularly stuff like laying out seams and details on bump maps. It’s very useful to have your UV maps in a vector format, or sometimes in an absurdly high-rez bitmap, and this is what the OBJ Wrangler gets me. I know Blender can output the UV map of a model as a SVG file, but what you get from this is thousands of individually drawn paths corresponding to each polygon.

The OBJ Wrangler has a few extra tricks – it can output a SVG file just like Blender’s one, but it can also do things like detect edges of UV regions and output these as separate, clean SVG paths. On my last project, the Panel Dress, having these was invaluable for doing all the stitching and detail work.

In future I’m hoping this will be helping me make better and more detailed textures for my products, particularly now that I’m modelling meshes with closer regard to the actual cut of the cloth that they represent.

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