Texture Mapping

Texture mapping properties manage texture map projections for selected surfaces, polysurfaces, and meshes.

Mapping is a process of defining how to represent a 2‑D image on a 3‑D model. Mapping transforms a 2‑D source image into an image buffer called a texture.

A texture can be applied to the surface of a 3‑D model to add color, texture, or other surface detail like glossiness, reflectivity, or transparency.

The problem of how to represent the texture in 3-D rendering can be overcome by means of uv‑mapping. U and V are the coordinates of the texture corresponding to X and Y. Think of u as one direction on a piece of graph paper (side to side). Think of v as the other direction (up and down).

Any time an image is applied in a material and then applied that material to a model, uv‑texture mapping is used.

Mapping channel

A mapping channel holds a set of texture-mapping parameters. Each mapping channel is identified by a number. An object can have any number of channels and therefore can hold any number of texture mapping types.

Textures in materials can be assigned a channel number. When the textures are applied to an object, the texture is applied using the matching channel number on the object. Texture channels default to channel 1.

If an object has no applied texture mapping, surface mapping is used to map the texture.

Properties Panel


Unwraps the texture for editing.

See: Unwrap.

Custom Mapping

Add a custom mapping channel.

Surface Mapping

Add a surface mapping channel. The default texture mapping method for surfaces and polysurfaces is set by the control point structure of the surfaces.

Planar Mapping

Add a planar mapping channel.

Box Mapping

Add a box mapping channel.

Spherical Mapping

Add a spherical mapping channel.

Cylindrical Mapping

Add a cylindrical mapping channel.

Delete Mapping

Delete a mapping channel.

Match Mapping

Match the mapping to another object's mapping.

Edit Channel (Use multiple mapping channels only)

Allows changing the channel number.

Show Mapping

Display the mapping widgets for the object.

Hide Mapping

Hide the mapping widgets for all objects.


Opens the UV Editor.

See: UVEditor.

Use multiple mapping channels

Allows more than one mapping channel for a single object. The channel numbers can be changed by using the edit channel icon. These mapping channel numbers are used in the texture map settings for an objects material to control which mapping channel is used for that texture.



The mapping channel number.


The mapping type.


The name of the mapping.


The name of the mapping.


The mapping type.


Surface mapping stretches the texture over the object.

In this example, a variable radius fillet connects two planar surfaces and all are joined into one polysurface. The default surface mapping method uses the control point structure of each individual surface to orient the checkered texture map applied to the material. Notice how the checker texture does not match across seams in the polysurface.

See: ApplySurfaceMapping.


Planar mapping projects a 2-D plane onto the side of an object.

See: ApplyPlanarMapping.


Box mapping projects a 3-D box onto the sides and top of an object.

See: ApplyBoxMapping.

Box (sides only)

Box mapping sides of an object only, does not cap the mapping to the top and bottom surfaces.

See: ApplyBoxMapping.


Spherical mapping wraps the object around a sphere. The top edge of the texture shrinks into the top pole and the bottom edge into the bottom pole.

See: ApplySphericalMapping.


Cylindrical mapping an image around an object like a cylinder the left and right edge will join each other.

See: ApplyCylindricalMapping.

Capped cylindrical

Capped cylindrical mapping also maps the image to the top and bottom of the objects.

See: ApplyCylindricalMapping.


Add a custom mapping channel.

Custom surface objects control the mapping of textures over any other object.

This process is limited to single surfaces as the surface control point structure is used to control the applied mapping. Here, the surface in front of the polysurface was selected when prompted for the custom object in the command line.

Custom Mapping Steps

Select the custom mapping object.

Custom object

Use a n object to determine the mapping.

See: ApplyCustomMapping.


When a mesh is texture mapped, some UV(W) values have to be assigned to each vertex from another object – either a primitive like a sphere or a custom object like another mesh or surface.

Each mesh vertex is assigned a parameter from the other object’s UV space.

Closest point

Finds the closest point on the primitive from the point on the mesh.


Ray draws a line from the mesh along its normal until it hits the primitive.

Texture space

Single texture space (left), divided texture space (right).


Specifies that the texture will be mapped individually over each independent space.


Specifies that distinct regions of the texture will be used for each space, matching parts of the mapped object to the six independent texture spaces.

XYZ position

Sets the center point of the texture mapping widget in world coordinates.

Default position (left), position moved to a different location (right).

Pick button

Click to pick a location on the screen.

XYZ rotation

Sets the rotation of the texture in world space.

Default rotation (left), x-rotation 60 degrees (right).

XYZ size

The texture size.


When the mapping widget has been re-sized with unequal scaling, the scaling is locked to the specified aspect ratio.


Sets the texture size to 1 in all three directions.


Sets the texture size to be equal in all three directions.

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Fits the texture to the object as established by the original mapping.

UVW offset

The amount the texture is offset from the origin of the UVW texture space.

UVW repeat

The number of times the texture repeats across the object in UVW texture space.


When Lock is checked, the repeat values for u, v, and w change together so that they stay in the same relationship to each other.

When Lock is unchecked, the repeat values can be changed independently of each other.


If Lock is off, and you enter 1, 2, 3 in the UVW boxes, you will get one repeat in u, two repeats in v-, and three repeats in w.

If you then check Lock, and change the 1 to a 2, the values will change to 2, 4, 6. If you then change the 6 to 60, you will get 20, 40, 60.

UVW rotation

The rotation angle of the texture over the object in UVW texture space.

Related commands

See also


Render the objects using the current renderer.

Use materials and textures

Wikipedia: Texture Mapping

About.com: Surfacing 101 - Texture Mapping

Rhinoceros 5 © 2010-2015 Robert McNeel & Associates. 17-Sep-2015