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This is a quick question (I guess) : how can I efficiently uv unwrap long mesh like this beam :

enter image description here

I would avoid to waste most of the uv space like it does right now :

enter image description here

The obvious solution is to merge the mesh with other to make a "bigger" asset, but it doesn't really make sense with the scene.

What's the best practice here ? Should I add artificial seams to "cut" the geometry ? Would it create artifacts on the render ?

Thanks ! :)

Edit : I am making an asset for a game engine so :

  • I cannot have overlapping textures
  • I can use only square textures (power of 2 sizes)
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    $\begingroup$ the UV space doesn't have to be square... if you create an image that has the proportion of your object, meaning a long rectangle, you can optimize your UVs for a better match with your object's geometry. In the UV/Image editor window press Image->New image (or Alt+N) and create an image that has the proportions you need. Unwrap your object while having the new image open and you'll be fine. $\endgroup$ – user1853 Jan 25 '16 at 20:28
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I performed a few experiments and I have the following suggestions:

  • mark a seam on one of the super-long edges.
  • when unwrapping unselect the two ends. This will give you the long faces.
  • after unwrapping the long faces, scale them in the UV/image editor to fill the available space. If you want to use the entire UV space only scale along the skinny axis ( s x ).
  • You will probably need to use a tall texture, or the texture pixels will look stretched in the 3D view.
  • If you are not using a tall texture, you should probably scale uniformly and let the texture wrap on the long axis.
  • you can unwrap the ends separately.
  • If you do not want to unwrap the ends separately, mark all the edges on the end as seams.
  • It is possible to have the end polygons overlap the texture coordinates of the long polygons, or just be a different material. If they are going to be the same material, the texture coordinates should probably have the same scaling applied to them or things might look funny.
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Typically how I deal with long stand alone object is this ...

  1. I will box unwrap the object.
  2. Create a tileable texture, meaning repeating the texture will not introduce repeated pattern seams.
  3. Add procedural noise and scratches to breakup and give variation to the tileable texture.
  4. Create a dirtmap if applicable.

So after the box unwrap your long object's UV map is no longer required to be bound within the UV editor's default square boundary, as we now change the strategy and make tileable texture our weapon of choice.

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