Please Help me understand UV mapping

For some reason I just get stuck on UV mapping. Is this the process in a nutshell?

-edit mode, select faces, assign them to UV map

-unwrap mesh by unwrap type

-layout the unwraped faces in viewer (why do you load up art work here if it isn’t used?)

-make a material, allocate texture, use UV wrap(specify by name)

-load an image to attach to UV layout.

The question that sticks for me is what is step 3 for? How is the imported image used here? Can anyone sum this up in dummy speak for me?
And why do other aps set texture spaces more interactively, I get lost having to run through so many panels to achieve the wrapping effect. Can’t I just do it all in the viewer window or the 3D view?

Well, I’ll give it a try.

UV mapping is like cutting a cardboard box wide open. Imagine that you have made a poster and need to stick it to the cardboard box. Putting the poster on the box while it’s still a box would be difficult. Therefore you need to cut the proper edges to flatten it out and then stick the poster you’ve made, on it (and after that glue the box toghether :P)

UV mapping is exactly the same. You need to cut your models in some edges to flatten the geometry out.

When I’m unwrapping - as it’s called - I select the edges that I can see which needs to be cut and make them a seam (CTRL + E and select “Make seam”). This way you tell Blender that the edges you’ve selected for seams must be cut. Continue the process until you think you got the seams where they will do good.

Next I press U and select “Unwrap” from the menu which appears. Then Blender will unwrap your model and export it to the UV editor screen. Go there now.

Now if the unwrap is good, export it to a TGA file and then you can paint on it in Paint Shop Pro, GIMP or whatever you use (remember to make use of layers). Then open the image you’ve made into Blender and then you have UV textured your model! :slight_smile:

Thnx KC, so the UV editor window is only for moving the flattened unwrap around and exporting it? I don’t use it to actually apply the texture there?
I’m not sure I understand, why do I see a(n apparently) mapped object in the 3D window when applying an image in the UV editor. Is this just for reference and not actually stuck on the object yet?
Sorry for dumbness of question.
Thnx kkrawal that still went a bit over head tho.

The Image applied in the UV editor, would be used if your run a game in Blender, it also causes the image to appear in the 3D window. However, for actual rendering you want to apply the image as an image texture. Doing both is fine, if you want to see the texture in the 3D view and also render it.

Well yes, the UV editor is only there and used for coordinating the faces. You then load an image into UV editor, which you have made in GIMP, Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop or whatever you use. Now the coordinates you flattened out is equal to the image you have made. And then it is as good as done, only remember to enable texture in materials menu.