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When should you use the conformal method verses the defualt angle based method when UV unwrapping? What difference do they make?

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3 Answers 3

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Angle Based unwrapping gives a good 2d representation of a mesh while Conformal usually gives a less accurate UV mapping than Angle Based, but works better for simpler objects. (src)

From experience I use a mixture of both depending on how complicated the mesh is, Angle Based tends to give better results in general.

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The difference between Conformal and Angle Based is in how the UVs islands inner vertex are calculated onto the 2D surface of the UVs. For a well elaborated (faces made properly) and seamed mesh, the difference will be minimal if any, but when it comes to complex mesh and UVs island's inner vertex, there can be an huge difference in results.

The main difference between the 2 methods could be simplified into saying that each has its own priority and results in a different kind of deformation of the UVs to fit onto the 2D (from the 3D).

The Angle Based method will use a sort of rounded up technique on the average of all the connected vertex in an island to find the position, for each said vertex in the Uvs, to be as close as possible to its original 3D angle. It usually result in better UVs for things that have complex geometry like organic things that has lots of relief-involved angles. The result of the Angle Based method has more chance to result in deformed UVs, but lesser chances of having overlapping UVs for things like concave and convex faces if the seams were properly set up.

The Conformal, on the other hand, will prioritize the original projected angle of each set of triangle' vertex. This method is useful if you want the UVs to display an as-close-as-possible-from-the-3D form of each triangles. It's usually useful for things like machines or/and static environment probs where you really don't have any sort of stretching in the UV's. This method has the issue of putting a really low priority on the overall result of the UVs in terms of overlaying triangles, meaning that, especially for organic meshes, this method can easily result with an UVs island ending with a fold onto itself.

As examples:

The Angle Based method is better if you were to unwrap a living being such as a character's face or hand UVs as slightly stretched UVs might not be much of a visible problem unlike overlapping UVs which are a pain to readjust or cut off from the problematic UVs' island.

The Conformal method is better if you were to unwrap a machine with some really specific details that need to avoid any form of stretching.

Obviously, there's no fixed method as you might prefer to use Conformal for things like cloth (including clothes) to ensure the cloth's texture is kept clean or to use the Angle Based on a sculpted wooden chair or table because a small stretch of the UVs would only result in a more authentic-and-less-mecanical wooden visual. The usual trick is to start with Angle Based and if you dislike the slightly distorted result, try Conformal. If you're working in something like environment/interior design, you might want to try Conformal first and, if there's too many overlaying or extended UVs, try Angle Based.

Remember that you can do both methods on a single model by selecting the faces you want to Unwrap, use the Unwrap option with the method of your choice, then select the other faces (CTRL+I is the shortcut) and unwrap with the other method, then select all faces and, in the UV Editing window, select UV > "Pack Islands".

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Angle based is mostly preferred for organic objects as it gives more organic and accurate results compared to conformal which is usually refined and less messy and used for hard objects.

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