Modeling/UV Unwrapping question

Hi all, I’m working on a hat model for TeamFortress2 and have a question about multiple meshes and UV unwrapping. Currently the model consists of the hat itself, a buckle on the front, and an extruded curve shape sticking off the side. I think I’m far enough along with UV unwrapping that I can get the hat to unwrap the way I want, but that’s not quite enough. I obviously want the buckle and the extruded shape seperate on my UV map, but they have to be joined to the main object. I’ve been playing around with this stuff for the past several days, just trying to improve my unwrapping skills, but so far every time I’ve done a thing like this where I’ve used multiple meshes to create the object and then joined them, I can never get the unwrapping to make any sense to me.

Is there any way to unwrap these two additional objects seperately, join them to the main mesh, and have the unwrapped UVs ‘joined’ to the unwrap of the main mesh? Assuming that there’s not, anybody have any suggestions where I should be looking to learn better unwrapping techniques? Thanks for your time!

You can considering unwrapping all of the objects separately. What you do then is setup your base texture.jpg in the UV editor and break it into “quadrants” or sections. So upper left corner for example, put object number 1. Then export the UV to gimp, load it as a layer over top of texture.jpg and set the Mode to multiply or screen and then export back over the top of texture.jpg. ALT+R (reload) texture.jpg and you will see the UV from object 1. Now unwrap object 2 and move them where you like avoiding the UVs from object 1. Export UV’s, wash-rinse and repeat.

Now. Last step (optional but recommended, and be careful lots can go wrong here). When all done join the meshes and ALT+A (I think) but average the UV islands. You will need to likely make some adjustments but this gets everything to the same relative size. When I do this on multiple objects I usually like to have each piece moved off the UV all together. So for example I would move object 1 islands off to the upper left (not over texture.jpg). That way as they resize they won’t overlap each other and you can bring them back in in a more controlled manner.

Hopefully, I explained this okay or there’s something in there that helps.

I kinda get what you’re saying, but at the same time I don’t. I’ve finally got an unwrap on it with all objects joined that, while definitely not perfect, works. It’s just becoming more and more apparent that unwrapping is one of those things that I’ll just learn by doing a lot of it and experimenting with the options available. Thanks for your prompt reply. I’ll definitely be trying to implement the method you’ve described if only to see how it works in case I want to use it in the future.