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Exploring Innovation in UV Mapping: An Interview with Rizom-Lab

Exploring Innovation in UV Mapping: An Interview with Rizom-Lab

Rémi Arquier founded Unfold3D in 2003, a pioneer in commercial UV mapping technology. In 2016, he launched Rizom-Lab and the RizomUV product line, focusing on speed and ease of use. The team's goal is to create the perfect UV mapping toolset through collaboration with clients and users. Rizom-Lab offers 2 standalone applications which are RizomUV Virtual Spaces and RizomUV Real Spaces, and integrative solution RizomUV C++ Library for software companies. 

Fox Renderfarm, as the industry's top cloud rendering and render farm service provider, is honored to interview the Rizom-Lab team. Join us in this interview to learn more about Rizom-Lab and its innovative products.

Fox Renderfarm: Hey guys! Can you give our users an overview of Rizom-Lab’s products and key features?

Rémi: At Rizom-Lab, we specialize in developing cutting-edge software solutions for 3D mapping and unwrapping. Our flagship product is RizomUV, a powerful set of tools designed to streamline the UV mapping process for 3D artists. 

Logo © Rizom-Lab

© Rizom-Lab

Key features include:

Efficient UV Unwrapping: RizomUV offers advanced algorithms for efficient and accurate UV unwrapping, allowing artists to easily attain UVs with minimal distortion, very quickly.

Optimized Packing: RizomUV includes tools for optimizing UV space, ensuring efficient use of texture space, and organizing islands where the artist needs them.

Collaboration and Compatibility: We understand the importance of collaboration in creative projects. RizomUV supports various file formats (USD, FBX, OBJ, etc…), enhancing compatibility in a workflow, and facilitating smooth collaboration among team members.

Real-Time Visualisation: Users can visualize their UV maps in multiple ways, making it easier to identify and address any issues during the mapping process.

Automatic unwrapping: A semi and fully-automatic tool to generate seams, unwrap, and pack in a single click.

© Rizom-Lab

© Rizom-Lab

RizomUV comes in two flavors, so to speak, Virtual Spaces and Real Space. Virtual Spaces is aimed at people who are creating 3D objects that will end up in a virtual environment, think game engines, and rendering. Real Space, on the other hand, is for people who want to bring their 3D objects or UV templates into the real world. Good examples of this would be printing or laser cutting. As you can imagine, this requires real-world coordinates and accurate size, which is why Real Space has a 1:1 scale relationship between 3D and UV space.

Fox Renderfarm: How does Rizom-Lab differentiate itself from competitors in the UV mapping software market, and what makes it a preferred choice for 3D artists and well-known studios?

Samuel: I think we distinguish ourselves through a combination of our software’s advanced features, and a commitment to providing solutions that meet the evolving needs of not only established 3D artists and studios but also those that are just starting their journey. One area we are particularly proud of is our indie pricing. We have always tried to be fair in this regard, and refrain from putting up barriers to people that are just starting out, or trying to learn. This is demonstrated beautifully by our free licenses for students.

As for what makes RizomUV a preferred choice? Put simply, I’d say it’s performance and speed, facilitated by tools that are both powerful and accessible, that artists actually need.

Fox Renderfarm: RizomUV is known for its ultra-fast processing speed. Could you elaborate on the technology or innovations that enable this remarkable speed, and how it enhances the workflow of 3D professionals?

Rémi: Absolutely! The exceptional speed of RizomUV is primarily due to 3 key factors: 

First, our algorithms. We've continually refined key algorithms, including Unfold, Optimise, Pack, and Auto Seams, to enhance speed, quality, and versatility. We have been working on these advanced subjects since 2004, with our earlier versions even integrated into the most renowned DCCs (Digital Content Creation tools). Today, we offer even more advanced capabilities in our standalone version, and we are still working on them for the next versions.

© Rizom-Lab_

© Rizom-Lab

Secondly, the UI design is crucial. We tailored RizomUV specifically for UV mapping, making it more than just an add-on or subset feature of a DCC toolset. It's a dedicated solution for UV mapping, and its specialization is evident upon first use. This is achieved by seamlessly integrating both 3D and UV space, optimizing the transition of geometry from 3D to UV. A key example is how isolating an island in the 3D view automatically isolates it in the UV view, and vice versa. This simple detail, among many others, sets us apart.

Lastly, the feature set significantly contributes to the efficiency of our software. While automatic features provide rapid results, crafting high-quality UVs, particularly for gaming applications, requires pixel-perfect precision and effortless control over coordinates. This often necessitates manual intervention. In this context, RizomUV is comparable to Illustrator, but for UV mapping. It features an extensive range of tools for alignment, flipping, fitting, and distribution, all meticulously tailored for UV mapping requirements. Beyond this, we offer unique and visually stunning real-time tools to visualize and select elements according to their texel density, orientation, distortion, and more.

The combination of these technologies and optimizations not only makes RizomUV one of the fastest UV mapping solutions on the market but also significantly enhances the overall workflow for 3D professionals. Artists can accomplish more in less time, iterate quickly on their designs, and maintain a smooth and productive creative process from start to finish.

Fox Renderfarm: Can you tell us about any recent developments or updates in the software that users in the 3D industry should be excited about?

Samuel: I can’t say too much before the release as things are still changing, but what I can say is that one big feature is going to make a lot of game artists very happy. We are developing a set of tools in an area that is completely new to RizomUV, and will definitely make the application more complete. I can also tell you, that the look and feel of the application is shifting too. This is in order to facilitate a better user experience and to give us a solid foundation to add feature additions, without RizomUV becoming cluttered. It’s very exciting stuff!

© Rizom-Lab__

© Rizom-Lab

Fox Renderfarm: How do you manage digital marketing and communication strategies to reach your audience and maintain a vibrant community?

Samuel: When it comes to letting people know a new RizomUV release is out, or we have a sale in progress, social media and publishing campaigns are invaluable in this regard. But when it comes to communicating something about the software itself, I’m a big believer in the visual approach. This is why we are building up a library of tutorial videos and playlists. It is much easier for someone to understand an abstract concept if they can see it being played out, as opposed to a wall of text. 

We also speak to our users directly through our support system, and through our Discord server which is a really great place to speak, share work, images, and videos, and generally help each other out. It feels very natural and informal.

Fox Renderfarm: Rizom-Lab places a strong emphasis on its relationship with the community. Can you share some insights into the kind of feedback received from the community, and how this relationship influenced the ongoing development and improvement of the software?

Samuel: Speaking to our users, Discord community, and studio artists is invaluable, and dare I say, crucial. We learn a lot about what artists need, and inversely what they don’t. They also give us good lessons in broad generalized psychology. I know that may sound strange, but when you have lots of people asking the same questions about a tool, or it’s expected behaviour, it really helps us shine a light on something we may not have considered.

We also have a BETA Team that is entirely comprised of community members. This ranges from studio artists, educators, developers, and 3D generalists. They get access to new releases first and help us tweak things and squash bugs before wider releases. They are a fantastic and enthusiastic bunch! 

Fox Renderfarm: Lastly, can you share the future plans and upcoming initiatives?

Rémi: Yes, I can. We are currently reworking our website, in an effort to make things flow better and generally be more user-friendly. It’s also getting an upgraded look, so it will be easier on the eye. We are also putting a lot of consideration and thought into the automatic tools in RizomUV. Not only do we want them to be better, but also more understandable from a user perspective. In a more general sense, we are adopting a “less is more” philosophy with RizomUV. We want to strip out the unnecessary while streamlining and optimizing what is needed for a more concise, and faster user experience.

© Rizom-Lab___

© Rizom-Lab

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