See the two screenshots displaying a concrete (cube1) and a wooden cube (cube2). Each one has its own material which references its own uv map.

cube1 concrete

Now when I switch from cube to cube (object selection and then edit mode) the image in UV/Image Editor's background never changes. But the unwrapped faces are updated correctly and 3DView (material and rendered) is also working.

cube2 wood

This challenges me for a few days now. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Blender 2.78c Cycles

Update: This answer deals with the active image within cycles. Its simply not implemented that image view displays "the best" texture for an object but always the last image used, even if it belongs to another material. Set active image node with python

Update2 Interesting: As stated here https://developer.blender.org/T34978 the ImageView is completely decoupled from the material. This was a bugfix in 2013.

  • $\begingroup$ This challenges your understanding your expectation but not your render result is correct? Yes No? $\endgroup$ Jul 26 '17 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ yes, rendering and 3DView are correct and so the final product. But when I have to edit multiple object's uv maps, i always see the same image. When I set the wood image on cube2, then I see wood image for both. $\endgroup$
    – angabriel
    Jul 26 '17 at 13:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What you expect is correct for Blender Internal engine as it uses face textures assigning which makes UV editor to display texture choosed for the faces. Cycles doesn't use face textures and shows the same image in UV editor regardless of selected mesh (from another point of view this might be useful sometimes) $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Jul 26 '17 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak That is exactly the struggle I have. Its not a personal preference in my special workflow noone else will face. Thought you can control this behaviour with the pin icon? I understand that cycles does not know which texture to display as there can be many textures mapped within a material, but one can think of "storing the last displayed image by mesh"-feature, at least I dream of it now :-) $\endgroup$
    – angabriel
    Jul 26 '17 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ I looked at your link in your blender.stackexchange.com/questions/14097/… . Just out of curiosity ... do those scripts directly help you? $\endgroup$ Jul 26 '17 at 17:04

UV/Image Editor Window

  • Cycles Render has texture nodes. Different than Blender Render. This candidate answer may be biased towards Blender Render and may be deleted.

  • You may also switch to Blender Render from Cycles temporarily for a time period. Requires mouse movement and Click. Perhaps only slightly more effort and humiliation than going into edit mode. Some small amount of testing. Oh, yes, ummm and do not forget to switch back to Cycles, otherwise the results could be ... Catastrophic . Another Click.

enter image description here

Above image shows a pinned and unpinned image. One is static. One follows the current mesh object in Blender Render Edit Mode, Not Cycles. Thus we can see as many images as we want.

enter image description here

Viewport Shading. 2 simultaneous 3D Views. Top is Solid Shading. Bottom is Material Shading. Image above. Same Mesh. Local Mode is meant conserve CPU/GPU resources in this contrived example.

Techniques to see the current texture for an object

  • Blender Render. When you enter edit mode for the Mesh, Blender makes an effort to change the image. Please investigate. You can quickly menu into and out of edit mode. Just confirming the OP original statement .... Cycles Render Failed this test. Even when I selected the texture node in the Node Editor Window. This selection action has some effect in other parts of Blender such as Baking.

  • If computer resources permit, then you can have a 2 or more ... 3D Views, one with Material displayed. Local Mode may control CPU resource consumption. More control with display options. Or Switch Between Material and Non Material in Single 3D View.

  • Blender allows multiple windows with Menu/Window/Duplicate Window. You need not flood your current window as forbidden in a comment below. This would again allow multiple 3D Views in the own window. Window meaning here is different than a 3D View.

  • You can open up 2 or more ... Image Windows. Pin the result of one by enabling "Display current image regardless of object selection". Enter mesh edit mode with one object, choose the image window non pinned and select a new image. You can see two images at once. At least until you enter edit mode on a different mesh.

  • A single quick frame render may be a reminder.

Blender Behaviour allows flexibility because of So Many Potential Uses

  • The Image Window has many uses. Blender can not always make the correct guess . The Blender User must have control. Blender automatically changing the image for the Blender User May be contrary to the finicky and excessively moody whims of the user.
  • The little menu highlighted in your question allows you to change the image displayed or show the render result.
  • Perhaps you just want to inspect for fun, one of your many images.
  • Image Window can display the new result of Texture Painting so the result image can have no partner mesh. Odd Situation. Please search Texture Painting if that suits you.
  • Blender Render. You can have many images associated with a Mesh as Material Textures in the Texture Panel. The Blender User must be able to inspect the exact image that User desires at that moment. Even if the images are displayed in the Material Window or Texture Panel.
  • $\begingroup$ With your answer in mind I have to select the texture image everytime i select another object? I also don't understand the button "Display current image regardless of object selection". Displaying corresponding texture must be working somehow. $\endgroup$
    – angabriel
    Jul 26 '17 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ I upvoted because you shed some light into my problem. Thank you. But it still annoys me when editing many different objects. I will try to write a script / hook for this and see if i can add this as an extra feature... It would help if the image is remembered for the mesh. $\endgroup$
    – angabriel
    Jul 26 '17 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ See Edit Mode bullet point. $\endgroup$ Jul 26 '17 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ Blunder annoys me all the time. You will have more annoyance ... guaranteed. Money Back guarantee. $\endgroup$ Jul 26 '17 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for all your suggestions. Opening two or more Image Views will flood my UI but its ok when jumping between these objects to edit UV map. And btw I totally love blender. $\endgroup$
    – angabriel
    Jul 26 '17 at 14:36

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