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I have a simple question: why does Blender distort UV maps by default?

To illustrate my question, here is what Blender does with a UV map of a very simple mesh of a wooden barrel:

enter image description here

And here is what you get with a similar mesh in (I think) Maya:

enter image description here

The difference is staggering: the one in Maya is nice and clean with no distortion and, more importantly, full use of the available texture real estate, while the one in Blender is distorted and with a lot of "dead space."

Why does Blender do this? How can I get a normal UV unwrapping with isles that is not distorted and uses all or most of the available texture space?

I have tried conformal UV unwrapping, but other than a slightly smaller distortion it was the same awful unwrapping.

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  • $\begingroup$ Part of the problem is what you mean by distortion. I think you're unwrapping a barrel here, so those crescent shaped sections are because the circumference of the barrel is smaller toward its tapered ends. The unwrap is actually less distorted, but also significantly less useful for texturing and efficiency. That said, there are frequently cases where a simple and optimal unwrap is easy, but Blender still has trouble hitting it. $\endgroup$ – Rekov Feb 12 at 18:25
  • $\begingroup$ You are absolutely right. I was in the wrong here! $\endgroup$ – Gergely Kovacs Feb 24 at 12:15
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It depends on the model you have as well as the UV deployment method you have chosen, and where you have marked your seams.

The following is documentation on the general workflow of UV unwrap and its use in industry https://conceptartempire.com/uv-mapping-unwrapping/

Here is a blender tutorial on how UV works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7M-B6xnaEM

In this other tutorial you will see more advance UV workflow of blender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3654VGZObg&feature=emb_title

Notably through the use of add-ons simplifying life by integrating tools to optimize the UV space(Tex tools, UV Packmaster...).

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Your mesh is triangulated. You might like to select all in edit mode and do Alt J to convert it to quads. The straightening addons work on quads.

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