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I am trying to arrange multiple pieces of an outfit to fit onto the same texture. Some of these outfit pieces are already unwrapped before being imported to Blender, and so cannot be re-unwrapped as they have no seams. Some pieces have mesh caches on them, so they cannot be joined into other objects without destroying their vertex indices, and thus breaking their caches. Other objects are being unwrapped for the first time in Blender.

In order to properly arrange and optimize my UV islands, I need to be able to view all of these object's UV maps at the same time. I could export all their UV maps as images, arrange them in photoshop, then re-import that and align their UV maps to the image, but this is imprecise and inefficient.

My googling has turned up that the usual method is to join objects together, but I can't do that. Is there any other way I can work on multiple object's UV maps in blender at the same time?

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There is a tool that will allow you to visualize the islands from other objects that are still separate. To use it, select all the objects and enter Edit mode for the primary selection that you are currently working with and check View->Draw Other Objects. Now all UV Islands for the secondary selections should be visible with a faint outline in the UV Image Editor.

enter image description here

If you would like seams for objects that are already unwrapped: Enter edit mode for the object and select everything; there is a tool available UVs->Seams From Islands that will add seams to all the islands.

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  • $\begingroup$ I tried the Draw Other Objects option in 2.74 but it doesn't appear to work. I only see the uvs of the object I am in edit mode for. Is it broken? I definitely followed the steps above, and I even tried selecting all the faces in edit mode of the other object before editing my object. $\endgroup$ – MrFlamey May 28 '15 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ I used 2.74 for what I did above. Today, I just tried it again using 2.74.5 and I also went through other settings and toggled most of them on/off to see if there was something that can block this from working. I found nothing that interferes with this tool. I can't think of anything that would stop this from working for you. $\endgroup$ – MarcClintDion May 28 '15 at 17:33
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the reply. I tried again with two newly created objects and it worked. I thought that I had found a bug, but was told by Blender dev Bastien Montagne "'draw other object's UVs' only draw UVs from faces using the same image as currently active one." (see here: developer.blender.org/T44883) $\endgroup$ – MrFlamey May 30 '15 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ I'm new here so I don't know if I do this correct but I want to add info to MarcClintDion answer ... I think that Draw Other Objects works for objects that share the same image. It dosn't work for me too until I apply the same material for both objects. Thanks for help. $\endgroup$ – Zylak May 14 '17 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ Hey, if you figured out the pattern then go for it. I never understood why it only sometimes worked. $\endgroup$ – MarcClintDion May 15 '17 at 23:00

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