The UVPackmaster Addon stands out in packing the UV islands, so we end up with better resolution of our textures. On top of that there are loads of other options like overlap check, measure area and lots more. Because I use just a few features but very frequent, the UVPackmaster is in the list of my favourite addons. As you might have noticed, I tried many free and paid addons for Blender, and there are a few that I use very often. This addon is such an addon.
Why the UVPackmaster is so useful
As I said, I just use a few features but very frequent. What I use the addon for is as follows. Often I do organic modelling and give the models a procedural shader. One of the benefits of using procedural shaders is that you don’t have to bother about UV-mapping and -unwrapping (which is one of my weakest point). Another benefit of procedural textures is that resolution doesn’t matter. But….. procedural textures can be slow (shader compling) and other platforms doesn’t understand the procedural textures. So…. I need to bake the procedural textures. Meaning that is like most other materials that work with Albedo, Roughness and Normal maps (PBR).
The problem is that you need to unwrap it (I am lazy and use Smart UV Project. But one problem is that if check the UV Editor, you see often overlapped island. Which means that if you bake the procedural texture, there will be an artefact at that spot. Another problem with standard unwrapping in Blender is that the islands are not packed efficiently. Meaning that if you put the islands close together, you can have a better resolution of the textures at the end. So the UVPackmaster is useful to me, because it can check the overlapping islands, and it can pack the islands so that I have better quality (resolution) of textures with the same size of textures.
How to use the UVPackmaster addon
You might use it differently, but the way I use it is as follows (Basic usage but useful). I have an organic model with procedural textures, go in Edit mode and unwrap > Smart UV project. Then open the UV editor and do the following steps;
- In the UV editor, Press A to select all
- Open the N-Panel (press: N) where you can find the UVPackmaster addon.
- Under Basic options, I set the margin mostly to 0.01.
- Optionally: under packing devices, select your GPU (or CPU). GPU is available in the Pro version, not the standard version. But packing goes also quickly on CPU, even with an i3 processor.
- And while writing this review I just discovered how good the heuristic options works. In Heuristic, enable Heuristic. It means that we have to press Escape later, to stop the packing engine.
- And under Engine Operations, click Pack. Press Escape when the result looks ok to you (like what you see in the screenshots below).
- To check if there is overlapping, click: Overlap check.
Here is the result: Before and After.
You see on the left there is quite some space not used and on the right it looks much better. This means that with the same file-size of the texture, we get a better quality. The next step is to bake the procedural textures in to Albedo-, Roughness- and Normal Maps. For more information about the addon check the official website.
How to install the UVPackmaster Addon
Installation needs some attention, because the packing engine is a separate program. And the Addon is a bridge between Blender and the Packing Engine. On top of that, you need also (at the moment writing) the Visual Studio Redistributable 2017. Double check the instructions here first.
My suggestion is to install first the Visual Studio Redistributable 2017, the packing Engine, and the addon as last. This because you need to restart the pc after installing the VS Redistributable 2017. And the addon (N-Panel in the UV editor), probably ask where the packing engine is installed. By default on Windows, in my case it’s: C:\Program Files\UVPackmaster.
Where to purchase the UVPackmaster
You see that there are two versions: Standard and Pro. A comparison table can be found at the bottom of this page.
Other addons that are useful in combination with the UVPackmaster
And to work with UV’s itself you might be interested in the UV Toolkit which is quite popular as I check my stats.