I'm having a really tough time finding a solution for this (seemingly common) situation. I have a complex model that uses the mirror modifier, that also has an armature attached. Blender allows me to fully build this model to almost completion without applying the mirror modifier, which is great, because it reduces the work by half. My vertex weights, bone relationships, etc. Everything works flawlessly with the mirror modifier active. Until I get to the point where I'm defining the texture UVs.
How in the world is this done?
Here are some more random notes about my quest to keep my mirror modifier:
I certainly don't want to apply the mirror modifier. If I do this, then build a complex UV layout, I'm completely stuck with my model as-is, and cannot make changes later without repeating all of the work that happens after I apply it. Not to mention I would have to save two versions of my object so I could "undo" my work.
Blender has a mirror UVs toggle in the mirror modifier settings, but it only has one offset. How am I supposed to use this effectively? Doesn't this require every single separately mapped entity to reside in the absolute center of my UV space? How does one map out a complex object with many small symmetrical parts with everything in the absolute center? Is there some clever way to offset specific elements to different places?
Blender has a toggle near the options button in the 3D view that enables "mesh symmetry on the X axis", but I cannot get it to function correctly. Even a simple action like joining two vertices with an edge (key J) does not work on the other side. Does this mode only support simple offsetting actions? If it worked correctly, I could simply do away with my modifier, but that doesn't seem possible at the moment. Unless there is an option or add-on somewhere that makes it work the way its supposed to? Some type of aggressive symmetry?
Really appreciate any guidance on this, as I feel stuck between two terrible choices. Either commit to my work so far, which I absolutely know I will regret, or find some way to deal with the extremely limited functionality of the mirror modifier's UV help.