best approach to use multiple textures with one object?


I’ll state my general objective, then what I’ve specifically done, and where I’m getting hung up. Any help is appreciated:-)

objective: I have a character made up of several mesh objects; head and hands, jacket, pants, shoes, and sunglasses. I would like to join all of these meshes into one mesh object but still retain uv maps for each part so I can apply texture images to each part after they’ve been joined into one mesh object.

what I’ve tried:

  1. while the mesh objects are all separate, I’ve marked seams and unwrapped each mesh.
  2. I’ve then baked normal maps from each mesh’s hi-poly equivalents. This is working fine, and I’ve verified that the normal maps work on each mesh. So far, so good.
  3. I specified vertex groups for each mesh, for easy selection later on
  4. I join all the meshes together into one mesh so it’s easy to skin to armature later on
  5. Now the problem step: in edit mode, when I select each vertex group (let’s say ‘jacket’ for example), I can see the uv layout in the uv/image editor, but I am unable to load the jacketNormal.png in the uv/image editor. It just won’t let me. I click image>open, select the file, but it doesn’t load. If I tab out to object mode, I can load it just fine, but as soon as I go into edit mode, it disappears. I would like to see it in edit mode to make sure that the uv unwrap is still matched to the image. I went ahead and applied the normal maps via a texture channel and it looks like it’s mapped correctly on the mesh, but It would be much easier to spot problems by looking at the uv map layout against the image background. Why is this not working?

On a related note, the behavior/functionality of the uv/image editor in relation to uv maps is a little confusing to me. Anyone know any good resources on line that explain it? All the uv/unwrap tuts I hit just walk through steps but don’t explain much.

So to sum up, it seems like what I’m trying to do here is retain the individual uv unwraps for each mesh part, so that after the join, I can still assign each part it’s respective normal map (and other textures) via different material indices, right? Is there a better way to handle assigning multiple textures to different parts of a mesh, or am I on the right track?

much thanks:-)

Do the UV maps for each object all have the same name? Do they overlap? I don’t know how much help these sujestions are, but they’re the only solutions I can think of.


thanks for the response.

No, the images each have a different name, and they do overlap when selecting more than one at a time, but that shouldn’t be a problem since I’m assigning each mesh part to a different material index.

The texture images are correctly mapping to their respective mesh part, so the important part is working, I just can’t pull up the different images in edit mode; don’t know why. Oh well.

I’m afraid I have no idea how to fix what you’re describing. Sorry about that.

The image that displays is the one associated with the active face. Select any one face of the jacket mesh by hand (i.e. by clicking on it), and the jacket image should display.

Best wishes,


Thanks for the responses. I just took a look at this again when I saw your posts, and I’m not having the initial problem anymore. It’s behaving just like you(MCollett) said it would, which is what I was expecting at the first. Don’t know what changed and why it’s working now, but that’s great:-) To be exact, it’s selecting the respective UV unwrap for the selected face automatically, but I have to manually select the image via the drop box. It’s all good!