perhaps this question has already been asked a few times, but its really the most painful feature in Blender for me. So I try to understand why it is like this, or even better, to find a workaround.
So my question is about setting the texture to an object. Thats the way i do it (without knowing it better):
Open texture panel and add an image to the material.
Select the UV Map.
=> Nothing appears.
I have to go to edit mode, select the vertices, and in UV Editor I have to open the texture again.
Now, why do I need the 5. step, if I have already chosen the image in step 3? I think the 5. step should not be needed. So, one argument could be perhaps, that I can choose different textures for the vertices on one mesh. But can this be really efficient in a game engine? I dont know. But even if this would be the reason, why do I need step 3? I need either step 3 or 5, but not both. So could anybody explain me how to add a texture the easiest way and why this is so complicated? I somehow have the feeling, there must be an easy way.
UV/image editor is for UV’s and images as the name says. Assigning an image to selected UV faces creates a relation called face assigned textures, which the textured viewport shading shows as default (multitexture mode, not glsl). It can help with UV editing, it gives a preview of the mapping, you can paint directly on the image by painting on the model, and may help with texture baking sometimes. A material has an option to use face assigned textures directly, but that’s not useful in a general sense because the lack of control and definitions.
Giving material a material assigned texture, image type, influences the material and can make use of the UV coordinates if it has those. Material viewport shading shows material assigned image textures and lighting (glsl).
All material systems can make use of textures to influence its properties. When you assign a texture to it, you create a definition where you have a material property X controlled by texture Y using image Z. The texture uses coordinates UV, which go with the geometry. When you export that material, it puts those definitions to a format another application may read and if its material has a property X, it can assign a texture Y and use the image Z from its location. Texture coordinates came with the model geometry so it can use that too.
Or, the importing application may ignore all of that for any reason.
The terminology is used very loosely when it comes to a “texture”. An image is an image. A texture has definitions about the mapping, how it influences the material, what and how the image file is used. When you have an image that is used to control a specific material property, specularity for example, you have an image that could be called a texture map, specularity map for example.