UV Mapping Introduction

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Written Introduction

For a thorough written Introduction to UV Mapping, see Blender Noob to Pro UV Map Basics (yet for 2.49 version, we have to wait for 2.5 wikis - or write it…)

Short text intro for video tuts

You use UV Mapping to have more control over texturing your model.
To do so, you unwrap the surface of your 3D model in a way that allows to display it as a flat surface - in a separate Editor Window: The UV Image Editor.

In case you're wondering, UV mapping stands for the technique used to "wrap" a 2D image texture onto a 3D mesh. "U" and "V" are the name of the axes of a plane, since "X", "Y" and "Z" are used for the coordinates in the 3D space. For example: increasing your "V" on a sphere might move you along a longitude line (north or south), while increasing your "U" might move you along a line of latitude (east or west).

(Quoted from Noob to Pro, see link above)

UV Mapping can be moderately complicated, so many tutorials introduce you to it by unwrapping a cube first, to make the process better understandable.
The embedded videos repeat the basics but show increasingly complex examples, which can give you a good introduction to UV Mapping by videos.

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  • Learn UVunwrapping "the other way round": build a complex shape (more complex than a cube) out of paper: Dolf J. Veenvliet gives a written insight /outlook to his real-life teaching.

Introduction by video tutorials

First Idea/Refresh memory in 1.5 minutes

To get a first idea, or refresh your memory, see this very fast tutorial without voice by pablolizardo


UPDATE: You can find a great (brandnew as to writing this) introduction to UV Unwrapping by Jonathan Williamson on blenderookie with a cube, a ball and Suzanne as examples.

Aternative videos:
This video by Rex Harby, published on BlenderNerd gives you a good straightfoward introduction including basic explanation

Or this video by markharell, which explains the same task more detailed

Suzanne Unwrapping - more complex shape

Video by Keith Boshoff

UV Mapping a Cartoonish Fish (Video Series up to Advanced)

Videos by revolt_andy, I encourage you to see the complete series of tuts he made ( thread on blenderartists ) as soon as you have developed a feeling for the basics.

Organize the unwrapped mesh segments in your UV editor

Adjust the segments on your UV canvas for better handling;

2nd part of the video:
Bake a normals map of high poly version to get all the details on the low poly version

Unwrap a female character (video Jonathan Wiliamson)

See the video on blendercookie

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