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UV Unwrap In Blender - How To Manually Unwrap UVs

UV Unwrap In Blender - How To Manually Unwrap UVs

Want to unwrap UV in Blender, want to open them as I want, and arrange them nicely.

That's all I want to do... but I don't know how!

This is usually what happens when you first start working with Blender's UVs, especially if you came to Blender from Maya.

Toha still does this from time to time, but it still allows for smoother and less stressful UV deployment than before. Therefore...

In this article, I will summarize "How to manually do Blender's UV unwrap the way you want.

I think it is useful for hand-drawn textures and models with a certain degree of low poly.

If you are having trouble with Blender's UV unwrap being messed up, please read this :)

 

By the way, "What is UV? How do I open it?" I will not discuss this in this article. I will write about it in another article when I have a chance, but for now, please refer to this article.

 

This article corresponds to the long-term supported version Blender 2.83/2.93 LTS.

 

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UV Unwrap in Blender - Points to keep in mind!

GOGO

Before you start unwrapping UVs in Blender, there are some points that you should keep in mind.

Blender UV Unwrap Points
  1. Be careful "UV Sync Selection" when editing UVs
  2. Blender's UV editor does not allow "UV cut"
  3. Let's do Blender's UV unwrap after setting the "scale to 1"

I'll try to explain in order.

 

(1) Be careful "UV Sync Selection" when editing UVs!

Oh, my God!

First of all, here it is.

Blender UV Unwrap Points:1

When editing UVs in Blender, watch out for the "UV Sync Selection" in the UV Editor!

UV Sync Selection in Blender UV Editor

For those familiar with Maya's UV editor, this is probably the most confusing part.

 

Blender'sUV editor has the The following behavior is normally used.

  • Only the UVs corresponding to the selected vertex, edge, or face in the 3D Viewport is displayed in the UV Editor.
  • Selecting a UV in the UV editor does not make the corresponding vertex selected in the 3D viewport.

 

It is difficult to understand in writing, so please see the figure below.

When UV sync selection is off, only the UVs of the selected area is displayed in the editor in the 3D viewport.
When UV sync selection is off, UV selection in the editor is not reflected in the 3D viewport selection.
UV Sync selection on, UV editor, and 3D viewport selections are synchronized.

Thus, in normal mode, the UV editor and 3D viewport selection are asynchronous, and only when "UV Sync Selection" is enabled are the UV editor and 3D viewport selection synchronized.

However, when "UV Synchronous Selection" is ON, if there are multiple UV points corresponding to a single vertex, it is not possible to select only a specific UV point among them. This causes various inconveniences when working with UV editing.

 

For this reason, Blender requires switching the UV sync selection ON/OFF in the UV editor as appropriate and skillfully working through the UV development and editing process.

If you don't know that "Blender's UV editor has this kind of specification", you will be in a situation like Toha used to be! I'll be in a state like Toha used to be!

Seeing is believing, so please feel and see for yourself!

 

By the way, Maya's UV editor is...

  • Always in the UV sync selection.
  • Even if there are multiple UV points on a vertex, you can select only a specific UV point.
  • All UVs that an object has are always displayed in the UV editor.

So, if you are used to UV editing in Maya, you may find it difficult to edit UVs in Blender.

 

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(2) Blender's UV editor does not allow "UV cut"

gasp

Next is this.

Blender UV Unwrap Points:2

There is no "Cut UV" menu in Blender's UV editor.
Instead of cutting, "Mark Seam → Expand" or "Select the surface you want to separate the UVs from → Expand".

*In Blender 2.9, even on the UV editor, "UV Lip Move"(Blender keymap V key) to detach UVs, Select face with UV sync selection ON → Move to detach the UV.

 

"Seam" is "Nui-me" in Japanese, and its meaning is almost the same as that of UV protection.

However, in the case of BlenderSimply seaming the edges does not separate the UVs.By doing the seam -> deployment as a set, UV is cut and deployed at the seam, which is the same as UV cutting.

Blender Seam and unfold to open UV

Alternatively, select the surface whose UVs you want to separate and click Expand to separate and expand only the UVs of the selected area.

Blender Select and Expand to open UV only where selected.

 

When editing UVs in Maya, I sometimes use the flow of "first open the UV map appropriately and then cut UVs at the edges I want to cut", but it takes a little time to do the same thing in Blender.

Write in dskjal site, I think it is easier to use one of the following two workflows for UV unwrap in Blender.

  1. Manually seam where you want to cut the UV and then expand the whole thing.
  2. Automatic unfolding to disassemble, then seaming, then removing unnecessary seams.

 

Since Toha also uses a method similar to (1) for UV development in Maya, many of the useful functions, etc. introduced in this article may be suitable for the method (1).

 

(3) Let's do Blender's UV unwrap after setting the "scale to 1"

Hm-hmm...

Finally, there is this.

Blender UV Unwrap points:3

Blender's UV expansion should be done "after setting the object's scale to 1 in Apply"!

Blender's UV expansion is weird if you don't do it after setting the object's scale to 1 in "Apply".

 

Blender UV unwrap will be strange if you do it with the object's scale value set to something other than 1.

If the polygon size and the UV unwrap surface size is strangely different, the cause is almost always the scale value.

So before we unwrap the UVs, let's check the object's scale value!

 

Now, let's move on to the recommended method of UV development in Blender~

 

UV Unwrap in Blender - Recommend method

♪

The following is Toha's recommended method to develop UV as you wish with Blender.

Recommend of Blender UV unwrap
  1. Use the paid add-on UVToolKit 2.0
  2. Combination of free add-ons TexTools and UVToolKit
  3. MagicUV, a standard add-on, is also nice to have
  4. Some of Blender's standard features are also useful

 

The add-ons that Toha currently uses are (1) UVToolKit 2.0 (3) MagicUV. will be almost enough for manual UV editing in Blender.

Until recently, I used to use (2) a combination of TexTools and UVToolKit, but now that a paid version of UVToolKit is available, I can go without using TexTools.

The following is a step-by-step explanation of the main things each add-on can do and the most frequently used useful functions.

I hope you will find this information useful when considering the introduction of add-ons, etc., to achieve the UV unwrap you desire.

 

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(1) Use the paid add-on UVToolKit 2.0

bicorn

The paid add-on UVToolKit 2.0 is available for Gumroad and Blender Market for $19.

Currently, UVToolKit 2.0 is no longer available for purchase on either platform.For more information on the reasons for the suspension of sales of the paid version, please contactcomment field (e.g. on a blog)Please refer to the following page for more details. Please check it out.

 

UVToolKit 1.0, which was originally a free add-on, has been upgraded to the paid version 2.0 with various new features.

The free version has enough useful features, which are explained in detail in the official video here. ↓

*The paid version 2.0 is upward compatible with the free version. There was an official introduction video for the features of the paid version, but the add-on creator has temporarily closed the video now.

 

Here are some of the features that Toha finds particularly useful and likes.

Let's start with the features that are available in both the free and paid versions~.

 

Optional feature added for UV sync selection

It is very useful in a humble way.

I wrote Be careful with UV sync selection. Blender's UV editor normally only displays the UVs corresponding to the currently selected vertex in the 3D view.

So, you may have inadvertently forgotten to select a vertex and the UVs are not displayed in the editor.

UVToolKit has the "Automatically select all vertices when switching to normal mode" option to avoid missing some UVs in the editor due to selection errors! This prevents the problem of missing UVs in the editor due to selection omissions.

UVToolKit Optional feature for UV synchronization selection

 

Shift+F to display UV-specific pie menu

Press Sfiht + F to display the UV-specific pie menu.

It's convenient because it has all the functions I often use, and I actually use it a lot.

UVToolKit Shit+F for dedicated UV pie menu display

 

Automatic expansion of only selected UVs

This is such an essential feature for Toha that we can say we started using UVToolKit because of it.

When manually expanding UVs, there are times when you want to adjust the UVs in detail to make it easier to draw textures. For example, you may want to align the UVs of a certain column in a straight line and open the rest of the UVs so that they are not distorted as much as possible.

In terms of Blender's standard functionality, it is like "pinning" certain UVs and expanding others, but "expanding and expanding only selected UVs" is simply easier to operate. A favorite feature that I would not want to be without.

UVToolKit Automatically expands only selected UVs

 

Split the selected surface

You can do something like a UV cut with a UV editor.

UVToolKit Detach selected surface

 

The F key can be used to select & move UV islands

Simple and convenient.

Pressing the F key on a UV island allows you to move the island while selecting it.

UVToolKit F key to select and move island

 

Apply checker map with one click

It is common practice in Maya to "apply a checkered material to an object" to check each UV island's UV distortion and size ratio.

UVToolKit provides a checkered map template from the start, so you can apply a checkered pattern to an object at the touch of a button. Various sizes of checkered patterns are also available, so it's easy!

UVToolKit checker map applied with one click

 

Automatic grid unwrap of selected UVs

From this point forward, the functionality is limited to the paid version add-ons.

This "automatically expand selected UVs into a grid" function is something I would love to have when using manual UV expansion. The free version of UVToolKit did not allow this, so I had to use both TexTools, which does this.

The paid version has happily added this functionality and UV alignment, which will be discussed later so that the add-ons for UV development can be consolidated into a single UVToolKit.

UVToolKit 2.0 Automatic expansion of selected UVs into a grid

 

Alignment of UV vertices / Alignment of UV islands

UV vertex alignment itself is a standard Blender feature.

There are, but it is by far easier to use if each alignment function is provided with its button.

The free version of UVToolKit does not have this feature, but TexTools has a similar button.

UVToolKit 2.0 Align UV Vertices / Align UV Islands

 

Stack or match similar UV islands

Although we have not yet faced a situation where we have to make full use of these features, from our experience, we think they are very useful. These features are only available in the paid version.

When we manually unwrap UVs, we usually plan to draw textures by hand, and often do so to make the texturing process as efficient as possible and to make it easier to draw beautiful textures.

So the ability to automatically align and overlap similar UV islands would be useful and nice to have.

UVToolKit 2.0 Stack similar islands
UVToolKit 2.0 Match Similar Islands

 

*There is an actual video of UV unwrap using UVToolKit 2.0. check it!

 

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(2) Combination of free add-ons TexTools and UVToolKit

Hm-hmm...

Although UVToolKit 2.0 is feature-rich, we sometimes hesitate to use paid add-ons out of the blue.

In such cases, I recommend using the free add-on TexTools together with the free version of UVToolKit.

 

TexTools is a well-known add-on for UVs in Blender, but it is officially supported only up to Blender 2.79. Volunteers have independently made it compatible with Blender 2.8 and later published it on GitHub..

The functions and usage of TexTools are explained on the official page. (*English, but you can understand the content if you translate it automatically.)

 

It is still a little difficult to do UV unwrap with TexTools alone, so I think it would be quite comfortable to include the free version of UVToolKit and use it according to your purpose.

 

As a paid version of the UVToolKit features is briefly explained, here we will mainly introduce the features that we think are particularly useful for TexTools.

 

Automatic grid unwrap of selected UVs

This function is still useful.

If you unwrap the UVs into a grid, it is easier to arrange the UVs in space, and textures such as stripes are much easier to draw. This feature is not available in the free version of UVToolKit, so use TexTools.

TexTools Automatic expansion of selected UVs into a grid

 

Alignment of UV vertices / Alignment of UV islands

This is another feature not found in the free version of UVToolKit: when you press the Align button in TexTools, it will align UV points when UV vertices are selected in the UV editor, and align UV islands when UV faces are selected.

TexTools UV vertex alignment / UV island alignment

 

Textures can be baked

TexTools has a Texture Bake menu. The official page description shows You can see that you can do quite a variety of bakes.

TexTools Textures can be baked.

I used TexTools the other day when baking AO (Ambient Occlusion)... it was so useful!

I wrote about AO Baking in Blender in another article, I think I'll be using TexTools again now!

 

(3) MagicUV, a standard add-on, is also nice to have

I see

Next up is Standard Add-on MagicUV, which is included in Blender from the start.
*See here for how to enable the Standard Blender add-on.

MagicUV is not an add-on that you can do everything with, but it is a useful add-on that can do many things that other add-ons cannot do. It is included in the standard version, so there is no harm in enabling it.

It is in English only, but MagicUV's Tutorial page explains the functionality, and there are tutorial videos.

 

The best way to learn how to use MagicUV is to check these carefully, but following the example, I'll introduce a feature that Toha particularly likes.

 

Texture lock

In Maya, it is "hold UVs and move vertices".

This is a little off the subject of UV unwrap, but there are times when, after applying a texture to a model, you want to move only a few vertices of the model without moving the apparent texture.

Normally, when you move a vertex, the texture moves with it, but "Texture lock" preserves the appearance of the texture and moves the UV vertices along with it as the vertex moves.

Sometimes it doesn't work and you get an error, or you can use Ctrl+Z to move the vertices back, but it doesn't move the UVs back. This function is available only in MagicUV.

MagicUV Texture Lock

 

UV Inspection

This function displays inverted or overlapping UVs (overlap) on the UV editor.

It is difficult to tell at a glance whether UV is inverted or not, so it would be useful to have.

MagicUV UV Inspection

 

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(4) Some of Blender's standard features are also useful

Sigma, ha!

Now, finally, let's take a look at Standard Blender Features.

To be honest, I think it is quite difficult to develop UVs as you want with only the functions that Blender has from the beginning. It's a pain to pin every single time, and it's hard to do...

But don't be underestimated, there are many useful Blender standard features as well.

Some of the features that we consider essential were not included in the add-ons, so we searched for them and found that some of them were included in the standard features from the beginning. I will introduce them here, so please make use of them!

 

Island size averaging

It's a must-have feature!

Based on the polygonal area of the object, the size of the UV island is automatically aligned so that the UV area ratio is approximately the same.

Since the size of each UV island becomes uneven when editing UVs, the ability to align the ratios is super useful.

There are some UV editing tricks, such as enlarging the area of certain UVs (e.g., faces) and drawing detailed textures, but it is easier to do this after averaging out the overall proportions.

Blender Island size averaging

 

Packing Island

It will arrange the selected UV islands within the UV coordinates 0 to 1.

Packaging of Blender Island (with rotation)

So-called UV packing function. Various add-ons automatically do everything from UV expansion to packing, and Some of them are introduced on dskjal's site.

 

I am not a big fan of automatic packing, so I always lines up UVs by hand.

This is because it is easier to draw textures if you line up the UVs yourself. If you draw everything with 3D paint or use only Substance Painter, there is no problem at all with automatic packing.

It seems that standard UV packing tends to create wasted space, so please consider other add-ons if you want to line up nicely with automatic packing.

 

By the way, when packing UVs with the standard functions, you can set whether the UV islands are rotated or not in the settings that can be made in the operator panel. It's hard to tell when it's folded.

Can be set to rotate or not on the operator panel of the island's packaging.
Packaging of Blender Island (without rotation)

 

UV editor overlay display

Using Blender's standard features, the following can be displayed in the UV editor

  • UV after modifier deformation
  • UV distortion (stretch)

In Blender 2.8, it is located in the Overlay item in the View tab of the sidebar. (*In 2.9, the overlay display item has been moved to the upper right corner of the UV editor.)

UV overlay display location is different between Blender 2.8 and 2.9

When you view the UVs after modifier deformation, you may see the UVs when the UVs are U-axis flipped with the mirror modifier, or after applying texture projection with the UV projection modifier.

Showing the stretch gives a visual indication of how distorted the UV is.

Overlay view in Blender UV Editor

 

View to Projection and other projection menus

Projection is "UV mapping" in Maya. The following projection methods are available by default

  • Smart UV Projection
  • cube projection
  • cylindrical projection
  • spherical projection
  • Projection from view
Projection menu, including projection from Blender view

Toha often uses view to projection.

If you have installed UVToolKit, you can use the Shift+F, you can also run it from the UV-specific pie menu.

 

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Summary: UV unwrap can be done as desired by using convenient functions

OK

That's all for the explanation of manual UV development done in Blender, and Toha's recommended method.

As a basic premise, it is essential to keep the following three points in mind when developing UVs in Blender.

Blender UV Unwrap Points
  1. Be careful "UV Sync Selection" when editing UVs
  2. Blender's UV editor does not allow "UV cut"
  3. Let's do Blender's UV unwrap after setting the "scale to 1"

 

Based on this point, as a Toha, I think it is difficult to unwrap UVs the way you want using only the standard Blender functions. It's not impossible, but it's a lot of work and a pain in the neck!

Therefore, we have introduced the following four recommended methods for stress-free UV unwrap in Blender.

 

At the moment, I think with the paid add-on UVToolKit 2.0, I can expand and edit UVs almost effortlessly. If something is missing, I can use MagicUV and the standard functions.

UVToolKit also has a free add-on, so if you are curious about its usability, try the free version.

Even with the combination of the free version of UVToolKit and TexTools, you can do almost anything you want to do with manual UV expansion.

 

Since UV unwrapping and editing is a tedious process, we would like to automate as much as possible where it is possible to do so.

But if you do it all automatically without thinking, it can be difficult to draw textures later.

I want to make a good distinction between the parts I automate using Blender functions and add-ons and the parts I do manually so that I can unwrap the UVs the way I want them!

I am still learning, but I hope that the contents of this article will help those who are struggling with UV unwrap.

 

*For other add-ons that are useful to use, see Blender Modeling [Addendum] article as well.

Toha
Toha

It's more comfortable, too!

List of comments

  1. nico says:

    I had no idea what the UV deployment was, but I was having trouble figuring it out.
    It was really easy to understand and helpful to be introduced to useful add-ons!
    Thank you.

  2. KT says:

    The UVToolKit video is no longer linked (private)!

    • Toha トハ says:

      Thank you very much for contacting us, KT~!
      It seems that the UV Toolkit 2.0 introduction video has been temporarily made private by the add-on author. We've removed the video from the article!

      There are reasons why the paid version 2.0 is not currently available on any platform.
      In fact, the creator of this add-on is Russian, and currently it is impossible to make payments from the platform side because the methods of sending money to those living in Russia are frozen across the board.
      For this reason, sales of paid add-ons and other products created by Russian-based creators seem to have been suspended.
      I only hope that the situation in Ukraine will calm down as soon as possible.

      So, although sales of UV Toolkit 2.0 have been temporarily suspended due to the unfortunate circumstances of the world, we will leave the introduction of add-ons and other information in this article as it is in order to support the resumption of sales.
      It is a useful add-on and Toha himself loves using it, but we apologize that it is not available for purchase despite the article. Thank you for your understanding.

      Thank you very much for your comment~!

Toha
Toha

Please feel free to comment~!

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