Lightmap Pack pros and cons

I’ve spent the past few days really digging into Blender’s UV and texture painting tools. I now feel very comfortable with taking an object, creating seams, and using the Live Unwrap to see the resulting wrap. I’ve figured out how to prevent UVs from overlapping each other and how to get a decent unwrap.

The one thing that I didn’t investigate was the Lightmap Pack feature, as I was not aware of it until today. If I understand this feature correctly, I can imagine some situations where this might come in handy – like, for a quick-and-dirty UV map.

Anyway, here are what I think are the pros and cons of using the Lightmap Pack feature to unwrap. Please correct me if these assumptions are wrong, and please suggest any additional pros and cons if I’ve missed anything:

PROS:

  • Creating a usable UV map is instant. I wouldn’t have to worry about creating seams, and there’s no chance of UVs overlapping each other or being in weird shapes.

CONS:

  • I would lose control over which parts of the UV map get more texture detail.
  • I would be giving up the idea of using islands on a UV/texture map, so painting directly on a texture map would be trickier.
  • The possibility of seeing “cracks” or the wrong texture on an object would increase, since there’s more places where the UV map would be broken up.

Am I missing anything?

The main con to me: massive distortion. Use only with baked textures, baked after triangulation, or rendered via fixed/fixed alternate/default triangulation in Blender. Painting directly on a 2D image is completely off the table because of the distortion.

Cracks shouldn’t be an issue, because you shouldn’t be using anything except baked textures or 3D painting in Blender or SP or whatever. Because of the distortion. If lightmap pack doesn’t give you good enough margins, ctrl P pack islands will let you adjust margins in one operation.

If you want a nearly brainless unwrap, try a smart project. Although it’s true, every once in a while that’ll still give you some overlap, not quite as brainless of lightmap pack.

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