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I have a finished model where the UV maps overlap - lots of wood that isn't detailed to be particular to the model.

Current state

I'd like to re-map the texture so that specific details can be added. I'd like to rebuild the UV map into non-overlapping islands, without losing the current texture application, and preferably without manually pulling apart the islands.

Is this possible?

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Yes, using texture baking.

The workflows are slightly different depending on the render engine you are using, but here's how to do it in cycles.

A screenshot just to show how things are initially:

enter image description here

  1. Create a new UV map in Properties > Object data, then with it selected, edit or re-unwrap to make the second UV map layed out how you want it:

    enter image description here

  2. Create a new image to bake to by pressing ⎇ AltN in the image editor, or by pressing new in header > Image:

    enter image description here

  3. Add a texture node to your material(s), set to the image you want to bake to.

  4. Connect the texture you want to bake from with an emission shader and set hte bake type to emit. Then with the new UV map still selected in Object data and the target image's texture node selected in the material node setup(s), press Bake:

    enter image description here

After it's baked, remember to save the image. F3 to save it to disk, or header > image > Pack as PNG to pack it into the .blend as a png.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is so very useful thanks a lot, i knew it was baking but not how. $\endgroup$ – Tom Beacock Oct 14 '16 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, it actually worked! Thank you so much! Crazy that you have to have the old and new image in the material's nodes. Even though, now that I think of it, it makes sense :) $\endgroup$ – Manu Järvinen May 3 '18 at 11:49
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As an additional note to section 1:

enter image description here

Make sure the renderable UV map is set to the original. I had it accidentally on the new_map and it messed up the process

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  • $\begingroup$ That note is crucial, if not for this, I would have spent hours looking for why my bake would overwrite my texture constantly! This also goes for baking with Blender Internal Render $\endgroup$ – Ben Mar 20 at 9:11

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