The following describes how I setup the UV’s for my model in order to paint the textures.
Step 1: make a duplicate of your model. This is important so you don’t mess up any of your original model. Later you can transfer the UV’s from this duplicate back onto your original.
Step 2: On the duplicate, select the areas that are the most complex (ie. nose, ears, eye area, lips). (you probably will want to do this step one area at a time).
Step 3: now you’ll want to average your selected vertices. You can get to this command through the Polygons>Average Vertices>options menu.
Set the Iteration value to whichever you feel is appropriate. I set mine between 10 and 50 and applied it a couple times. Repeat this step for all of your complex areas on your model. The reason for averaging the vertices is to make the more complex areas of your model less complex, so after you apply the Cylindrical projection, you won’t get so many (if any) overlayed UV’s, which will cause problems for your mapping.
When you’re finished with that, your duplicate should look something like the images on the right. As you can see, all the more complex areas of my model are now less complex and more planar, which should make a better cylindrical projection and UV layout.
Step 4: Now you’re ready to map the UV’s for your model. Select your duplicate model and go to the Edit Polygons>Textures>Cylindrical Mapping>options menu. I just used the Smart Fit option which fits the projection automatically around your selection. You’re welcome to play around with the different options, but for this instance, these are the settings I used.
Step 5: In the attribute editor for the cylindrical projection, you’ll find the following options (right image). Make sure you set the Rotate Z value to 0.1. Maya has this weird habit of messing up the UV’s of the cylindrical projection, and this seems to fix the problem. These are the settings I used.
Step 6: I also noticed that the UV’s for the top of the head and the UV’s for the neck area were garbled
from the Cylindrical projection, so I selected the poly’s on the top of the head, and did a planar projection for those, and selected the poly’s around the neck and did a second Cylindrical projection for those.
So I ended up with 3 UV shells in the UV Texture Editor, which I’ll need to sew together to get one unwrapped UV shell