Non-Overlapping UVs

If you unwrap all UVs for your 3D model’s textures, it is recommended that you take the time to ensure that none of the UVs overlap. While this can be time-consuming on 3D models you’ve created previously, you can keep this in mind when creating new models. If you work for non-overlapping-UVs right from the start, you won’t have a great deal of extra work to do.

By survey, many of our customers want non-overlapping UVs in their unwrapped UVs. At right are the results of a survey TurboSquid conducted among 3D model customers in December 2010.

With symmetrical 3D models or models with repeating textures, it’s less work for you to use a smaller texture and overlap the UVs. However, overlapping UVs create problems for customers who:

  • Export to other applications like game engines or sculpting programs
  • Create variations on different parts of the model with dirt, wear, or graffiti
  • Change the textures or colors on opposite sides of the model, such as pockets on one side of a pair of pants
CheckMate Pro LogoFor CheckMate Pro certification (2.8.3), you must create unwrapped UVs for your  organic models (people and animals). It is recommended that you make them non-overlapping as well in these cases to offer the most value. Hard-surface and other non-organic models are not required to use unwrapped UVs for CheckMate Pro certification.

What Our Customers Say

Here are comments from our customers about overlapping UVs:

  • “Sometimes you would like to paint over one part of the model and leave the other as is. With overlapping UVs this is impossible to achieve.”
  • “Art directors have very specific needs. Non-overlapping UVs let me paint in whatever is required from the director.”
  • “For generating normal maps, it’s very important to not have overlapping UVs or pattern textures.”

In this video, one of our customers talks about the woes of downloading a character model with overlapping UVs.

How To Remove Overlapping UVs

Each software package that has a tool for unwrapping UVs also includes tools for dealing with overlaps. See the videos below for information on how to remove overlapping UVs in 3ds Max and Maya.