I agree, Hex is a pain to UV map in. It can be done, but a hell of a lot of energy, and frustration are expended in doing so. I got tired of Hex fighting me (and am experienced mapper), so I went back to my usual suspects.
My pipeline/UV mapping software:
*UV Mapper Classic (and Pro for testing only)
*headus UVLayout (free version)
I use whatever algorithm works best for what type of mapping per object I am trying to achieve, so I go back and forth between them remapping along the way.
Example; I just mapped a pendant 5 different times (and ways using W3D, Roadkill, and UVLayout), and will combine the best into one map. But, a secondary use/test for this is I want to test DS4 Pro’s ability for map switching on custom prop content.
Why, you ask, am I using so many programs to map one product? Well, to play to the strengths, and avoid the weaknesses of each individual ones.
*UVLayout (using for a couple of years now), hands down, has the greatest flattening algorithm out there, but I find the cut/weld lacking, and never works correctly for me (refusing to weld, edge loop cut/weld failures). And, yes, I do know how they are supposed to work. They just don’t want to work for me (in free version that is). Nonetheless, I recommend EVERYONE having a copy (free for personal use) to, at least, use for final flattening of your maps.
*UVMapper Classic - Another indispensable program that no one should be without. As a whole, I wouldn’t recommend doing complete mapping jobs in it (It’s no longer 1999, and we are not stuck in Poser4 anymore), but it handles some algorithms like a champ that can assist you to create your finals quicker. Not to mention the other uses (mentioned above, and others) it has for the Poserverse.
- Side Note: afreaginname, technically, UVMapper C does unwrap the mesh using whatever algorithm chosen, but it auto-picks seam lines. What is (usually) meant by unwrapping is to pick your own seam lines to be followed by either ABF, or LSCM flattening. Neither of which are available in UVMC (let alone custom unwrapping via edge seams). But, that is not to say someone who isn’t diligent enough couldn’t accomplish custom unwrapping in it. It can be done via vertex selection, hiding/un-hiding mesh, and temporary groups/regions. It can be done, but I can only imagine the ordeal. I would rather take my chances in Hex.
*Roadkill - Yet, another free mapper that should be included in anyone’s arsenal. The ABF, and LSCM algorithms taken directly from the original white paper source, wrapped up into a lightweight powerhouse with (IMHO) the best (on the fly) cut/weld tool out there. This program/tool later to be reborn, and improved upon inside of Blender.
*Blender - Almost on par with UVLayout in many respects, only falling short (in my eyes) by a slightly less effective flattening algorithm than UVL, and that it is not a dedicated mapper only. If Roadkill’s author would only take all the advances in Blender, and update his stand-alone. One can only wish… And, for those who don’t know, Roadkill uses auto-flattening without the ability of controlled continuous flattening that are in both Blender (added to original coding), and UVLayout.
*Wings3D - one of the best, and quickest auto-mappers for free out there with the ability to map via several different techniques. Always my starting point in any project, and always where I end up solidifying the final map. What it lacks from the others, it makes up by ease of use, and multitude of UV tool-set. Bonus; It is an exceptional modeler that can help with Hex creations when Hex is being stubborn in some areas. They play well together…
Sorry for the long post, but if we are going to talk UV mappers, then let’s talk UV mappers. Don’t just say I like this or that app. C’mon, tell the OP why he should be using such-n-such app instead of Hex. Or, hell, convince all of us to abandon the others, and make Hex our only mapping solution. I so much want Hex to be my de facto modeler/mapper. Someone convince me it should be (DAZ, looking at you, and Hex 3. Where are you?).
This thread made me think we should really start a UV Mapping 101 thread with all facets, and tidbits of the ins-n-outs of mapping where everyone can share techniques, styles, and secrets to help out all from those just getting started, to seasoned veterans and pros. What say you?
Take care all…