Hey I had a question, can anyone point me to a good UV unwrapping tutorial for blender? I can get my models to look good but when I go to texture them I feel like I am trying to run in sewer sludge. The only way I can get a halfway decent unwrap is if I select each face/part/side individually and project from view and then assemble it in the UV window. This is incredibly time consuming and since I am building these models for a game that I am making I really need a faster way of doing this. I have tried smart unwrap and found that it isn’t really that smart, and I have tried marking seams and using the normal unwrap function. The problem is every method I can use except for project from view results in a very wobbly UV unwrap. That is to say if I unwrap anything more complicated than a cube my unwraps result in wild stretching because things that should be rectangles and squares are being turned into diamonds and triangles, and uneven ones at that.
you will always have some amount of distortion, but good seam placement can minimize this, and areas where it is still an issue can be fixed using ‘live unwrap’. when you are making seams, you must be a tailor in reverse. you want to make cuts on the surface in a way that it will lay out flat when unwrapped, like a sewing pattern. another analogy would be a bear skin rug. you make the cuts so that it will lay out flat. you must pay particular attention to limbs and fingers and the like. for an arm, for example, you would use one cut separating the arm from the body at the shoulder, another separating the arm and hand at the wrist, and another traveling from the shoulder seam to the wrist seam. you could also do it exactly like you would skin a bear, but you would get more distortion that way. I guess reverse tailoring is a better analogy.
Generally speaking, and in organic modeling above all, Because you are attempting to map a flat image over a rounded and complex surface, the trick is to choose the right edges to make seams from.
If you set on the ‘live unwrap’ option in the UV editor you can see the changes in real time in the UVs; it is a good way to start to understand where some stitches must be put to reduce the tension.
Also to activate the ‘Stretch’ in the Display section of the UV editor tool shelf can help to visualize where stretch is too much, and to correct it by splitting the map as needed.
There are some good tutorials about unwrapping at blender cookie: http://cgcookie.com
EDIT: Modron explained it way better than me… and he was faster, grr
your explanation was quite good.