According to the note in this page of the Blender manual:

You can perform UV texturing on a mesh within Blender without assigning a material, and you will even see it in your 3D Viewport in textured viewport mode.

However, if I create a UV map for a mesh, assign an image to the UV map in the UV Editor, and choose "texture" as the color source in the Viewport Shading dropdown (with viewport shading set to Solid), no texturing is applied in the 3D Viewport: UV editing workspace before adding material

If I further add a material to the object in the Shading workspace and provide a texture input for the material's base color, the 3D viewport does preview texturing under Solid viewport shading, but in a confusing way. It displays the mesh with the UVs of the map currently being viewed in the UV Editor, regardless of what map is chosen for rendering in Properties->Object Data Properties->UV Maps, but it uses the texture specified by the material, not the image active in the UV Editor. (Setting the viewport shading to Material Preview or Rendered uses the UV map chosen for rendering regardless of the UV Editor state, as expected.) adding material to object UV editing workspace after adding material

Is there any way to get the result described by the documentation: previewing a texture on a mesh without having to add a material first? And likewise, does the choice of image in the UV Editor interface ever affect the 3D Viewport?


1 Answer 1


The preview behavior you describe is how Blender used to work until extremely recently (I think it went away with 3.0). Unfortunately, it was very confusing. You kind of just had to know the magic incantation where you clicked your object , selected the faces in edit mode, then simultaneously select an image texture in the texture view. It's better for everyone involved for the viewport to only be showing subsets of the material, not a weird display override mode where you can show something not true to the model.

To answer your other question, the texture selection is more of a preview when UV-ing, but comes up more when you are Texture painting. You have the option of painting on the model directly or the texture directly, and the texture you have selected is what gets painted on in the Image viewer.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally, I would argue that texture previews away with Blender 2.8+ when Multitexture mode was removed in favor of keeping only GLSL (and soon Vulkan). $\endgroup$
    – RPaladin
    Jun 15, 2022 at 4:04

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