Hello! I'm making a mesh from scratch and I'm stuck on how to make the sides into one on the uv map while also making the mesh more round on the edges vs just super flat. I'm quite new to uv mapping still but I'm getting the hang out it. I just don't understand why my edges are split up as so?
I am also to uv mapping from scratch in Blender, I used to do it in 3DS Max, it has much better tools for uv mapping. However, with UV squares addon you can make a very neat uv map. I believe it's built into every version older than 2.71. When you choose Blender uv map tool it uses its own God knows what kind of algorithm.
A more general tip for UV mapping is to mark sharp edges as 'sharp' (or even as 'seam', see what works for you). Then select a face let's say on the small curved side of your mesh. UV mapping two times does the trick. Use U to unwrap (in Edit mode) and first choose 'Lightmap pack'. Ignore the result, which is most of the times not useful. Do not make any changes, but unwrap a second time. This time you choose 'Follow active quads'. This usually generates a straight set of squares which you can easily handle (Scale and Grab). It tends to be big, so scale it down in your UV map. The edges marked as 'sharp' (or seam) are very helpful to select linked faces (shortcut L) and they function as seams for the UV mapping. Altogether this saves a lot of time and creates very useful and straight UV maps.
When you get the error 'no active face selected' then shift+click a face in the area of interest. This deselects the face. Shift+click again will again select the face, but this time the face is sort of promoted to the active quad. The second Unwrap needs an active quad and you can give the unwrapper what it needs by using this.
No, just select Edges not faces. You can also use Menu Select / Select Edge loops (often useful). Then you can mark them as sharp (will turn lightblue) or seam (will turn red). Both have effect on the smoothing, but seam is more useful when UV-mapping and sharp is more useful for smoothing. A seam helps you to unwrap (peel off) the 3D mesh to create a flat 2D UV-map, as the UV's follow the seams. The UV map is effectively split over the seams.
Edges marked sharp are not split when UV-mapping, but the smoothing changes. They help to create different areas of smoothing on your mesh.
Autosmooth is very useful, you use it in combination with an angle. That angle means the angle between two adjacent faces, connected by an edge. If the angle between those two faces is (for example) 30 degrees, then Autosmooth with lets say 10 degrees will not smooth both faces but it will treat them separately with a visible edge between them. If you set Autosmooth above 30 degrees, then there will be no visible edge between the faces anymore. A good setting is often 180 degrees, as this will smooth anything below 180 degrees. If you want more control over this process, then mark the relevant Edges as sharp and you can create areas of different smoothing. See this video.
Video about sharp/seam is here and about smooting (using Autosmooth) is here.
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