Quick UV unwrap a sculpted mesh, no islands overlapping, better version of smart UV project?

What is the quickest way to UV unwrap a sculpted mesh without islands overlapping? Are there paid add-ons that are a more advanced form of UV smart project?

Back in the day Blender used to have a uv unwrap option called “automatic UV’s.” It used to create a non human readable uv map. It got superseded by smart UV project, but smart UV project unfortunately creates too many overlapping islands on a very dense mesh. I wonder if there’s a quicker solution, including a paid add-on that works a little better than “smart UV project.”

Thanks for any solution.

There is an Island Margin option in Smart UV project operator.
The operator is creating an amount of islands according to direction faces are oriented.
So, it should not create overlapping islands although mesh is dense.
It is possible that because density of mesh is higher than image resolution, you had this feeling.
But, normally, operator does not create overlapping UV Islands.

You should not have to do an UVmapping with many polygons.
By default, a primitive has automatically generated UVs.
Sculpting with multires modifier should preserve this UVmap.
Sculpting with dyntopo will destroy it. But you should do a retopology or a remeshing on that basis.
And if you don’t want to deal with retopo and UVunwrapping, you can directly paint color attributes.

So, I don’t think many people find an interest on developing addons to UVunwrap dense meshes.

Never had overlapping UV’s with smart unwrapping !? Also if you paint your model in 3D view lightmap pack is somekind of handy… maybe just ue this or later back toany othe UVs…

Ryan King actually talks about overlapping islands in this video;

So in high dense meshes, overlapping islands does happen with the smart uv project. Ryan King shows a technique on how to handle it effectively, which is what I have employed as well. The problem is that in his demonstration, his high poly mesh is about 200k… while the meshes I’m handling are about 1 million polys… so fixing all the overlapping islands on my meshes still takes quite a bit of time compared to the ten minutes ryan probably spent on his mesh.

Also, on the subject of island margin option, the last time I tried using that option it didn’t provide good results. I don’t remember what about the results I didn’t like, I just remember not liking it. I will try to have another go at the island margin option and see if I can get it to do what I want it to do.

But if anyone else has another good option/workflow, that would be great. I’m really interested in people’s experiences with paid addons. I don’t want to have to buy uv zen master or any paid addon only for me to find out it doesn’t do high poly sculpt meshes well either… so if anyone has experience please let me know, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

UVPackmaster has a split overlapping islands option, as well as a heuristic packing algorithm that guarantees no overlap. I’d recommend it

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This addon can help

thank you thank you

Michael I am unclear on the status of the unwrap me plugin. Is it still mired in licensing issues and is not actually available? It looks exactly like what I need.

OK. That was just a misunderstanding of vocabulary used.
In his UVunwrapping, UV Islands are not overlapping because he is using Island Margin option.

That are UVfaces inside UV Islands that are overlapping. And the reason of that is the shape of unwrapped mesh. It is because the head have big cavities like mouth, nostrils, eyes, ears.
And also because mesh is made of triangles.
In theory, if shape is not different, but polycount is 5 times heavier : amount of overlaps should stay the same.
But in your case, you probably sculpted wrinkles and added more cavities.
There are lots of UV Tools to fix that. He is using basic transform tools. You can relax UVs using UVsculpt tools. Or you can use addons dedicated to UVunwrapping.

Precisely to avoid to have to do a lot of fixes, we are avoiding to work on very dense meshes.
That is why passing time making a retopology as a value. It simplifies work on UVunwrapping and animation.
That is why he used a decimate modifier, to reduce polycount and preserve shape. That is a remeshing.
Quadriflow or Voxel Remesher are alternatives producing quads instead of tris.
A lower polycount means less details.
But these details can be retrieved ; if UVs on low poly model are used to bake into texture details of high poly model.

@MichaelBenDavid

Hey I’m the developer of Unwrap Me, got a notification when you quoted my thread.
I’m currently working on the next release, which will fix any licensing issues, should have it out next week hopefully.

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I know retopology is very important, and I totally agree. But my end goal is sculptures that can be 3D printed. It wouldn’t make sense to create low polys out of my sculpts, hence why I’m skipping the step altogether.

On a side note, I have also done vertex painting, which I predominantly do. But I want the flexibility of using textures as well, which is why I’m looking for UV unwrapping solutions for highly dense meshes. This is why I miss AUV from the old blender… it created horrible-looking maps for sure, but it was a very good solution.

Thank you so much sir!

Have you tried using a Decimate modifier?

Sculpting often creates millions more faces than are actually needed. Decimate down to an acceptable level, then UV unwrap. Use a Subdivision surface modifier afterwards if needed.

I use the decimate modifier all the time, but I want to keep my poly count at a million, not 200 k.

The subdivision surface modifier will restore that. This would only be for UV unwrapping. I don’t see a lot of detail there. Why do you want a million faces when they aren’t necessary?

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With Zbrush and Substance auto UVs being sooo much more convenient I’d just keep my fingers crossed that better packing makes it in, as well as a newer/faster unwrap algorithm. There’s some good momentum in that area so who knows. I sometimes have to throw 10-20M meshes at it and smart UVs are just not quite right for the job sometimes.

Maybe someone will come up with a geo nodes solution?

I want the option of a million faces for vertex painting.

But you don’t need UVs for vertex painting, so why worry about unwrapping in that case?

ok i accidentally deleted my reply… sheesh…

I need to have a UV unwrapped million poly mesh because I’ve been experimenting with this;

in the above mesh, I only did vertex painting… in the future, I would want to bake textures and lighting information onto the vertex colors of the mesh so I could paint over it. it sounds dumb I know but there’s creative potential to it…

So does everyone kind of get what I’m trying to do now, lol? I feel like everyone is up in arms over my very unorthodox requests

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