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Blender UV Unwrapping

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I can unwrap a box no problem, producing a nice cross shape with cuts along the seams. But when I go to unwrap any irregular shape the UV mapper seems to forget any sort of dimensional porportions of the various faces so that rectangular faces would become square and some would be just plain wrong. Am I suppose to just rearrange the various vertices on the UV map or should I unwrap the object in sections.

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The quick answer to your last question is both and more. unwrapping in Blender can be a bit of voodoo and it will fill you with a warm thrill of accomplishment once you get it. Here are some pointers for improving.

- Work in all quads when modeling. Build as much of your model in the orthographic views as you can. Try to keep your edges continuous and clean. This will help in the uwrap and in you modifications of the unwrap later.

- Start with good seams -- nothing that will stretch the uv mesh too far out of place. Choose edges that are hidden, are natural seams (like between two different surfaces), or are on the most extreme angle.

- Experiment with good starting points. With good seams, the basic unwrap (U 1) often works well enough. Sometimes you might be better off going to each ortho view and using project from view (U 5) if you have something mostly box shaped. The point here is you are shooting for a starting point that you will be modifying, not trying for a perfect automatic unwrap.

- Modify the uv points. Many of the same transformations you know from the 3D modeling workflow are here also. Moving, rotating, scaling, selecting a connected island with L, constraining transforms with the x or y key, etc. The most important to learn is option-RMB, this will select a continuous edge. Then hit W for the weld menu and align those vertices. Do this over and over again. I like to call it "Walking across the island". Yes, it takes time.

- Sometimes you can pin a few verts in an island (P) and re-unwrap just that island (in the uv window only, I think it is the E key).

- If you are working with something organic, don't sweat it too much. If you worked in all quads when modeling and made smart seams, and you can tell where things are ("this is an arm, here's where the eye is") then you are probably ok. Blender is actually pretty good at stuff that max and maya only added within the last few years.

One word of warning overall. There are things in the menus that masquerade as being shortcuts, but don't be fooled. These shortcuts are just helpers and there really is no magic button -- you will need to do a good bit of manual work to get a really nice unwrap. It takes time to learn the skills and it takes time to perform the steps need to implement those skills. When you go to create your texture maps, you will be thanking yourself for all the work you did.

Scott


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Thanks Scott, its as I feared then, no magic button, you just have to 'work it' :)

I'll try I few more approaches, the model is a pretty simple inset frame for a 3D tetris or something; made using simple face extrudes and scales, thanks again :).

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