Up to this point, we have only talked about half of UV Textures; the UV map and layout. The layout is the arrangement of all the UV maps. Each UV map 'maps' image pixels to a mesh face. There is one UV map for each seam or sub-mesh. The entire layout is colored by an image. Blender provides several features that help you when working with the image part of the UV Texture. Blender also includes a built-in texture painting program. This section discusses how to use images effectively.
Texture images take up precious memory space, often being loaded into a special video memory bank that is very fast and very expensive, so it is often very small. So, keep the images as small as possible. A 64x64 image takes up only one fourth the memory of a 128x128 image. For photo-realistic rendering of objects in animations, often larger image textures are used, because the object might be zoomed in on in camera moves. In general, you want to use a texture sized proportionally to the number of pixels that it will occupy in the final render. Ultimately, you only have a certain amount of physical RAM to hold an image texture and the model and to provide work space when rendering your image.
If you can re-use images across different meshes, this greatly reduces memory requirements. You can re-use images if you map those areas of the meshes that "look alike" to a layout that uses the common image. In the overview below, the left image is re-used for both the sphere and a portion of the monkey. The monkey uses two layouts, one which has one UV map of a few faces, and another that has three maps.
You don't have to UV map the entire mesh. The sphere above on the left has some faces mapped, but other faces use procedural materials and textures. Only use UV Textures for those portions of your mesh where you want very graphic, precise detail. For example, a model of a vase only needs UV Texture for the rim where decorative artwork is incorporated. A throw pillow does not need a different image for the back as the front; in fact many throw pillows have a fabric (procedural material) back.
As another example, you should UV map both eyes of a head to the same image (unless you want one bloodshot and the other clear). Mapping both sides of a face to the same image might not be advisable, because the location of freckles and skin defects are not symmetrical. You could of course change the UV map for one side of the face to slightly offset, but it might be noticeable. Ears are another example where images or section of an images can be mapped to similar faces.
The process consists of the following steps.
- Create the Mesh. Unwrap it into one or more UV Layouts.
- Create one or more Materials for the Mesh.
- Create one or more images for each UV Layout and aspect of the texture. Either
- paint directly on the mesh using Texture Paint in the 3D window,
- load and/or edit an image in the UV Editor window, or
- Bake the existing materials into an image for the UV Editor window.
- Apply those images as UV Textures to the mesh to affect one or more aspects of the mesh. This is done by using one or more of the numerous Map To options. For example,
- map to Color to affect the diffuse coloring of the mesh,
- map to Nor to affect the normal direction to give the surface a bumpy or creased look, or
- map to Spec (specularity) to make certain areas look shiny and oily.
- Layer the UV Textures to create a convincing result.
Using Images and Materials
To use an image as the color and alpha (transparency) of the texture, you can create an image in an external paint program and tell the UV/Image Editor to Open that file as the texture, or you can create a New image and save it as the texture.
If you want to start off by creating an image using an external paint program, you will want to save an outline of your UV faces by using the script Save UV Face Layout located in the UVs menu. This script is discussed here.
Creating an Image Texture
To create an image within Blender, you have to first create a New Blank Image with a uniform color or test grid. After that, you can color the image using the:
- Vertex colors as the basis for an image
- Render Bake image based on how the mesh looks in the scene
- Texture Baker script (discontinued past version 2.43)
After you have created your image, you can modify it using Blender's built-in Texture Paint or any external image painting program.
See Texture in 3D View but does not Render
You may be able to see the texture in Textured display mode in the 3D View; this is all that is required to have textures show up in Blender's Game Engine. Rendering, however, requires a material. You must have a TexFace material assigned to the mesh for it to render using the UV Texture. In the Material settings, ADD NEW material to a selected object and enable TexFace.
Creating a New Blank Image
Once you have unwrapped, use the UV/Image Editor Image->New to create a new image that will be the UV Texture.
- Give your image a more descriptive name
- Width and Height
- If you are texturing an item for a game, it is best to use image sizes that are powers of two (16, 32, 64, 128 ...) for both width and height, so they can be drawn properly in real-time using OpenGL. Most 3D cards don't support images larger than 2048x2048 pixels.
- For rendered artwork, textures can be any size. Images do not have to be square; they can be any size that you want, provided you have the memory and graphics display capability. Size should be based on the amount of detail that you need.
- Base Color
- Click on the color swatch (default is black) to bring up the color picker applet, and choose the starting base color.
- Choosing an alpha less than 1 will allow other layers of UV textures to show through. The key to realistic looking skin, for example, is many layers that can be individually controlled.
- UV Test Grid
- Click this to use the UV Test grid discussed below.
- 32 bit Float
- Click to have channel values stored as 4-bytes float numbers, instead of traditional 1-byte integer. This will use four time more memory, but might be useful in some situation, like e.g. HDR images…
Of course, this simplest of new images will be blank. You will have to start texture painting to get some color into those cheeks. Esc aborts the new image creation.
Using the Test Grid
Use the UV Test Grid option to check for undue stretching or distortion of faces. If your image is a base uniform pattern and you want the application of that image to your model to look like cloth, you do NOT want any stretching (unless you want the cloth to look like spandex).
When you render, the mesh will have the test grid as its colors, and the UV Texture will be the size image you specified. You can save the UV image using the Image->Save menu.
Modifying your Image Texture
To modify your new Texture, you can:
- use the UV Painter script to create an image from vertex colors,
- Render Bake an image based on how the mesh looks,
- use the Texture Baker script (version 2.43-) to create an image,
- paint using Texture Paint,
- use external software to create an image,
- use the "projection painting" feature of recent versions of Blender, or
- some combination of the above.
The first three options, (UV Painter, Render Bake, and Texture Baker) replace the image with an image that they create. Texture paint and external software can be used to add or enhance the image. Regardless of which method you use, ultimately you must either
- save your texture in a separate image file (for example JPG for colors, PNG with RGBA for alpha),
- pack the image inside the blend file (UV/Image Editor Image->Pack as PNG),
- or do both.
The advantage to saving as a separate file is that you can easily switch textures just by copying other image files over it, and you can use external editing programs to work on it. The advantage of packing is that your whole project is kept in the .blend file, and that you only have to manage one file.
Creating an image from Vertex Colors via UV Painter Script
- Removed in Blender ver 2.43, TODO: Equivalent feature?
The UV Painter script is located in the UV/Image Editor UVs menu. This nifty script takes the vertex colors from the selected faces and colors in your UV layout. The line button draws an outline of your UV map, and the Scale button scales up or down the image. When you Save your image, a targa-format image file is created for your editing pleasure. UV Painter is an easy way to start painting your mesh, once you have finished your layout.
The Redraw button updates the painting based on any UV layout changes or vertex painting done since the last time the cursor visited the window, although updates may occur automatically.
A small (bug?) Note: After saving the targa image, you must edit it with an external program (Gimp) as it saves dead space off to the side, and you want to scale it in pixels.
Replacing an image via Render Bake
The Render Bake feature provides several tools to replace the current image based on a render of:
- Vertex Paint colors
- Normals (bumps)
- Procedural materials, textures and lighting
- Ambient Occlusion
Click on the hyperlink above for more info. The Render Bake produces an image, already mapped to your UV layout, shown in the UV/Image Editor.
Creating an image via Texture Baker ScriptRemoved in Blender ver 2.43, TODO: Equivalent feature?
The Texture Baker script, available from the UV/Image Editor UVs menu, saves a UV texture layout of the chosen mesh, that can be used as a UV map for it. It is a way to export procedural textures from Blender as normal image textures that can be edited with a 2d graphical image manipulation program or used with the mesh in games and other 3d applications.
Select your faces in the 3D View Face Select mode; run the script by selecting the menu item. A pop-up panel will appear, allowing you to change the image name or leave it be. The first time you run the script, supply the filename. Choose a reasonable resolution, and an image is rendered. The image depends on your Material settings:
- If you do not have either VCol Paint or TexFace enabled in your material buttons, you will get the UV Layout colored with the procedural (base) material and textures that are current; for example a shadeless purple that is marbled.
- With VCol Paint enabled, the rendered image includes the procedural materials and textures, modulated by the vertex paint job.
- Selecting both VCol Paint and TexFace incorporates procedurals, vertex, and current UV image, melding them all into one beautiful render.
Save the image using Blender's File->Save Image dialog, and the image will be saved in the format specified in the render settings. You can then load it as discussed below.
Broken in 2.44
In 2.43 and before, if the script does not run completely perfectly with you answering all questions, it may leave all Layers unselected, with your 3D View thus blank. Don't know why, it just does.
Create/Modify via an External Image Paint Program
Using your favorite image painting program, draw something that matches your UV layout. Then save your changes, and back in Blender, use the Image->Open menu command to load it as your UV image for the mesh in Face Select Mode for the desired (and active) UV Texture layer.
Modify an image via Texture Paint
Use the UV/Image Editor menu Image->New. Then start painting your mesh with Texture Paint.
Using a Saved Image
Use Image->Open to search for and use images in any popular format as the UV Texture. It will be opened and placed as a background to the layout. More often than not, use an image that follows your UV layout. Recall that you saved an outline of your layout and used that to guide the painting of your UV texture image.
If you open an avi file, the first frame of the animation will be used. You can not open an image sequence or use a frame in the middle of a file.
When you open the .blend file, Blender goes out and loads in the most recent image from its location on your hard drive.
In a team environment, or if you are using an external paint program to edit the image while the .blend file is active, and the file is updated and re-saved, use the UV/Image Editor to Image->Reload it and see the latest and greatest in Blender. Also, use Reload if you have mapped more faces to an image, and the 3D View will be updated with the latest image mapping back to faces.
If you move the image file, Blender may not be able to find it, and you will have to Image->Replace it. Use this option to map a UV layout to a different image altogether.
Organize your images
In any scale project, there quickly becomes hundreds of images that are used as UV Textures. Set up a //tex/UV/ directory to hold your UV Textures. Practice good directory and change management. Unfortunately, Blender does not support the Windows shortcut links.
Blender contains a Find Image Target Paths script in the UVs menu in the UV/Image Editor window. Starting from a specified root directory for your project, this script will search down and, based on filename, reload images automatically. Use this script if you have renamed a subdirectory or moved a few images around inside your project.
The other way to locate images is to change one of your Blender UI panes to an Image Browser window. This file browser showns you thumbnails and image information (size, format, etc.) of only image files in a directory.
Mapping the Image Texture
Some Modifiers Prevent UV Mapping
In particular, the Decimate Modifier, even if it is only in the Editing modifier list (stack) and not actually applied to the mesh, prevent UV mapping, since it affects the number of vertices and thus UV coordinates.
You then have to create a new Material for the mesh. Then you have two ways of applying that texture to the material:
- The proper way is to map the image using the UV texture, and to load that image as an image texture.
- The quick way is to enable TexFace in the Material panel. This tells Blender to use the UVTexture as the base material color (alpha is ignored). Any other textures are layered on top of that base from the top texture channel to the bottom according to their mix method. For example, a wood texture mapped to Alpha on top of a TexFace image makes streaks of the material transparent.
To map the image as a Texture channel (usually the top channel), in the Map Input sub-panel enable UV, and enter the name of the UV Texture (by default UVTex). The advantage is many more options in the Texture's Map Image panel, such as UseAlpha and repeat/mirror. You can also control how multiple textures are layered onto one another by their order in the Texture channels, as well as how they mix with each other, animate their color influence, etc.
The previous pages explained how to create a set of UV Layouts for different portions of the mesh. For example, there may be one UV Layout for the face of a character, and another for their clothes. Now, to texture the clothes, you need to create an image at least for the Color of the clothes, and possible a "bump" texture to give the fabric the appearance of some weave by creating a different image for the Normal of the clothes. Where the fabric is worn, for example at the elbows and knees, the sheen, or Specularity, of the fabric will vary and you will want a different image that tells Blender how to vary the Specularity. Where the fabric is folded over or creased, you want another image that maps Displacement to the mesh to physically deform the mesh. Each of these are examples of applying an image as a texture to the mesh.
As another example, the face is the subject of many questions and tutorials. In general, you will want to create a Material that has the basic skin color, appropriate shaders, and sub-surface scattering. Then you will want to layer on additional UV Textures for:
- Freckle map for Color and Normal aspects
- Subdermal veins and tendons for Displacement
- Creases and Wrinkles and skin cell stratification for Normal
- Makeup images for Color
- Oily maps for Specularity
- For a zombie, Alpha transparency where the flesh has rotted away (ewwww....)
- Under chin and inside nostrils that receive less Ambient light
- Thin skin is more translucent, so a map is needed for that
Each image is mapped by using another Texture Channel. Each of these maps are images which are applied to the different aspects (Color, Normal, Specularity) of the image. Tileable images can be repeated to give a smaller, denser pattern by using the Texture controls for repeat or size.
Replacing the active Image
Recall that each face gets coordinates and a link to an image. To map a face to a different image, simply select that face (or faces) and use the UV/Image Editor window Image menu to Replace the current image with an existing file (such as a JPG or PNG file).
Packing Images inside the Blend file
If you pack your .blend file, the current version of all UV Texture images are packed into the file. If those files later change, the updates will not be automatically re-packed; the old version of the image is what will be used. To update, you will have to re-pack or reload.
The File->Append function automatically goes into .blend files and shows you the image textures packed in it. The public domain Blender Texture CD is also a great resource, and there are many other sources of public domain (and licensed) textures. All textures on the Elephants Dream CD are liberally licensed under CC-BY 2.5.
Layering UV Textures
Great textures are formed by layering images on top of one another. You start with a base layer, which is the base paint. Each successive layer on top of that is somewhat transparent to let the bottom layers show through, but opaque where you want to add on to details.
To avoid massive confusion, all image textures for a mesh usually use the same UV map. If you do, each image will line up with the one below it, and they will layer on top of one another like the examples shown to the right. To do this, just create one UV Texture (map) as described in this section. Then, create material image textures as described in the procedural materials section. Instead of mapping to Original Coordinates (OrCo), map to UV. Use that map name repeatedly in the Material->Textures->Map Input panel by selecting UV and typing the name in the text field. In the example to the right, our UV Texture is called "Head" (you may have to expand the image to see the panel settings). Then, the image texture shown will be mapped using the UV coordinates. In the "Base UV Texture" example to the right, the face has two textures UV mapped; one for a base color, and another for spots, blemishes and makeup. Both textures use the same UV Texture map as their Map Input, and both affect Color. The Makeup texture is transparent except where there is color, so that the base color texture shows through. Note that the colors were too strong on the image, so they amount of Col affects is turned down to 60% in the second layer (the blemish layer).
Normally, we think of image textures affecting the color of a mesh. Realism and photo-realistic rendering is a combination of many different ways that light interacts with the surface of the mesh. The image texture can be Mapped To not only color, but also Normal (bumpiness) or Reflection or any of the other attributes specified in the Map To panel. If you paint a grey-scale image (laid out according to the UV Layout) with white where the skin is oily and shiny, and dark where it is not, you would map that input image according to the UV Layout, but have it affect Specularity (not color). To make portions of a mesh transparent and thus reveal another mesh surface underneath, you would paint a grey-scale image with black where you want the texture transparent, map input to UV, and map it to Alpha (not color). To make portions of a mesh, like a piece of hot metal, appear to glow, you would use a grey-scale image mapped to Emit.
Believe it or not, this is only "the tip of the iceberg!" If everything that's been described here just isn't enough for you, the texture nodes feature, introduced in recent versions of Blender, enables you to layer and combine textures in almost any way you can imagine.
Mix and Match Materials
You can mix and match procedural materials and textures, vertex paint, and UV textures onto the same mesh.
The image to the right has a world with a red ambient light. The material has both VCol Paint and TexFace enabled, and receives half of ambient light. A weak cloud texture affects color, mixing in a tan color. The right vertices are vertex painted yellow and the left is unpainted procedural gray. The UV Texture is a stock arrow image from the public domain texture CD. Scene lighting is a white light off to the right. From this information and the User Manual thus far, you should now be able to recreate this image. In other words, I have taught you all that I know, my young padawan. May the Force be with you. Oh wait, there's more...
You can also assign multiple materials to the mesh based on which faces you want to be procedural and which you want to be texture-mapped. Just don't UV map the faces you want to be procedural.
You can use UV Textures and VertexPaint (V in the 3D View window) simultaneously, if both are enabled in the Material settings. The vertex colors are used to modulate the brightness or color of the UV image texture:
- UV Texture is at the base (TexFace)
- Vertex paint affects its colors, then
- Procedural textures are laid on top of that,
- Area lights shine on the surface, casting shadows and what not, and finally
- Ambient light lights it up.
A UV Layout can only have one image, although you can tile and animate the image. Since a layout is a bunch of arranged UV Maps, and a UV Map maps many mesh faces, a face can therefore only have one UV Texture image, and the UV coordinates for that face must fit entirely on the image. If you want a face to have multiple images, split the face into parts, and assign each part its own image. (Or you can get fancy with Nodes, but that's another story ...)
Using Alpha Transparency
Alpha 0.0 (transparent) areas of a UV Image render as black. Unlike a procedural texture, they do not make the base material transparent, since UV Textures do not operate on the base procedural material. The UV texture overrides any procedural color underneath. Procedural Textures are applied on top of UV Textures, so a procedural image texture would override any UV Texture. Transparent (black) areas of a procedural texture mapped to alpha operate on top of anything else, making the object transparent in those places. The only thing that modulates visible parts of a UV Texture are the Vertex Colors. In the example to the right, the finger image is transparent at the cuff and top of the finger and is used as a UV Texture. All three balls have a base material of blue and a marbling texture. The base material color is not used whenever TexFace is enabled.
The top left ball has not had any vertex painting, and the finger is mapped to the middle band, and the texture is mapped to a pink color. As you can see, the base material has VCol Paint and TexFace enabled; the base color blue is not used, but the texture is. With no vertex painting, there is nothing to modulate the UV Texture colors, so the finger shows as white. Transparent areas of the UV Image show as black.
The top right ball has had a pink vertex color applied to the vertical band of faces (in the 3D View window, select the faces in UV Paint mode, switch to Vertex Paint mode, pick a pink color, and Paint->Set Vertex Colors). The finger is mapped to the middle vertical band of faces, and VCol and TexFace are enabled. The texture is mapped to Alpha black and multiplies the base material alpha value which is 1.0. Thus, white areas of the texture are 1.0, and 1.0 times 1.0 is 1.0 (last time I checked, at least), so that area is opaque and shows. Black areas of the procedural texture, 0.0, multiply the base material to be transparent. As you can see, the unmapped faces (left and right sides of the ball) show the vertex paint (none, which is gray) and the painted ones show pink, and the middle stripe that is both painted and mapped change the white UV Texture areas to pink. Where the procedural texture says to make the object transparent, the green background shows through. Transparent areas of the UV Texture insist on rendering black.
The bottom ball uses multiple materials. Most of the ball (all faces except the middle band) is a base material that does not have TexFace (nor Vertex Color Paint - VCol Paint) enabled. Without it enabled, the base blue material color shows and the pink color texture is mixed on top. The middle band is assigned a new material (2 Mat 2) that does have vertex paint and TexFace enabled. The middle band of faces were vertex painted yellow, so the white parts of the finger are yellow. Where the pink texture runs over the UV texture, the mixed color changes to green, since pink and yellow make a green.
If you want the two images to show through one another, and mix together, you need to use Alpha. The base material can have an image texture with an Alpha setting, allowing the underlying UV Texture to show through.
To overlay multiple UV images, you have several options:
- Create multiple UV Textures which map the same, and then use different images (with Alpha) and blender will overlay them automatically.
- Use the Composite Nodes to combine the two images via the AlphaOver node, creating and saving the composite image. Open that composited image as the UV Texture.
- Use an external paint program to alpha overlay the images and save the file, and load it as the face's UV Texture
- Define two objects, one just inside the other. The inner object would have the base image, and the outer image the overlaid image with a material alpha less than one (1.0).
- Use the Material nodes to combine the two images via the AlphaOver or Mix node, thus creating a third noded material that you use as the material for the face. Using this approach, you will not have to UV map; simply assign the material to the face using the Multiple Materials
UV Textures vs. Procedural Textures
A Material Texture, that has a Map Input of UV, and is an image texture that is mapped to Color, is equivalent to a UV Texture. It provides much more flexibility, because it can be sized and offset, and the degree to which it affects the color of your object can be controlled in the Map To panel. In addition, you can have different images for each texture channel; one for color, one for alpha, one for normals, one for specularity, one for reflectivity, etc. Procedural textures, like Clouds, are INCREDIBLY simple and useful for adding realism and details to an image.
|UV Texture||Procedural Texture|
|Image maps to precise coordinates on the selected faces of the mesh||Pattern is generated dynamically, and is mapped to the entire mesh (or portion covered by that material)|
|The Image maps once to a range of mesh faces specifically selected||Maps once to all the faces to which that material is assigned; either the whole mesh or a portion|
|Image is mapped once to faces.||Size XYZ in the MapInput allows tiling the texture many times across faces. Number of times depends on size of mesh|
|Affect the color and the alpha of the object.||Can also affect normals (bumpiness), reflectivity, emit, displacement, and a dozen other aspects of the mesh's appearance; can even warp or stencil subsequent textures.|
|Can have many for a mesh||Can be layered, up to 10 textures can be applied, layering on one another. Many mix methods for mixing multiple channels together.|
|Any Image type (still, video, rendered). Preset test grid available||Many different presents: clouds, wood grain, marble, noise, and even magic.|
|Provides the UV layout for animated textures||Noise is the only animated procedural texture|
|Takes very limited graphics memory||Uses no or little memory; instead uses CPU compute power|
So, in a sense, a single UV texture for a mesh is simpler but more limited than using multiple textures (mapped to UV coordinates), because they do one specific thing very well: adding image details to a range of faces of a mesh. They work together if the procedural texture maps to the UV coordinates specified in your layout. As discussed earlier, you can map multiple UV textures to different images using the UV Coordinate mapping system in the Map Input panel.
UV/Image Editor Menu
There are several menu items, options and features in the UV/Image Editor window that pertain to using and manipulating the images used in UV Textures. In the View->Properties panel, the Anim and Tile options are for the Blender Game Engine only. Animated UV textures are procedural textures that are mapped to UV coordinates.
Window Header Buttons
- The button that looks like a little package automatically puts a copy of the image file inside your .blend file when you use Image->Open, automatically packing them all together. Use this option to transport only one file (instead of the .blend and all the .png's used), or to isolate your .blend from any changes that may be happening.
- Rotation/Scaling Pivot
- 2D Cursor; , : As analogous to the Object Mode/ Edit Mode 3D Cursor pivot. This will rotate the current UV selection around the 2D cursor position. LMB click to position the 2D cursor at desired location.
- Median Point; ⇧ Shift, : As analogous to the Edit Mode Median Point pivot. Enabling the Median Point pivot will calculate a rotation point for a UV selection accordingly to the vertice count or weight of objects. Blender supposes every vertex has the same weight.
- Bounding Box Center; . : As analogous to the Edit Mode Bounding Box Center pivot. Blender will encompass your UV selection as tightly as possible with a 2D rectangle or box, and then use it's center as a rotation point.
- Sync UV and Mesh Selection
- This will show all UV faces of your Unwrap/UV Map in the UV/Image Window, not only the selected faces. It is very useful when working (applying transformations) on your UV Map layout, or simply for a better perspective of how faces are linked and laying flat in the UV Map.
- UV Vertex select mode
- Enables selection of vertice.
- UV Face select mode
- Enables selection of faces.
- Sticky UV selection
- Shared Vertex ; CtrlC : When welding or stitching, you want to be sure that you sew the UV maps together correctly. At a seam, when unwrapping, two UV coordinates were created, one for each side of the seam. With Stick UVs enabled, a RMB click will not only select the UV vertex closest to the mouse cursor, but also all the other UV vertices that correspond to the same mesh vertex (but who are now shown on the 'other' side of the seam in another UV map).
- Shared Location ; AltC : Works in the same way, but only on the UVs that are 'connected', meaning they are within a 5 pixel range of the first selected UV.
- Disable ; ⇧ ShiftC : Disables sticky selection.
- Snap while CTRL is held during transformation ; ⇧ Shift⇆ Tab
- When applying a transformation to a UV selection, hold down Ctrl to snap the selection to your mouse pointer, according to the selected snap method chosen (described below). Once satisfied with position, LMB click to apply transformation or RMB click to cancel.
- Median : Move the median of the selection to the snap target (mouse pointer).
- Center : Move the current transformation center to the snap target. Can be used in conjunction with 2D Cursor to snap with offset.
- Closest : Move the closest point of the selection to the snap target.
- Texture Painting
- The magic pencil button changes your mouse and keyboard into a mini-paint program. Paint using the LMB . See Doc:Manual/Textures/UV/Painting_the_Texture
- Draw With Alpha
- UV Textures do not have to be totally opaque; they can be *partially transparent, like a partial reflection on a window. Turning on this button makes the display show only the opaque parts of the image.
- Draw Alpha Only
- The dot button disregards colors and shows the alpha channel of the image as a BW gradient, with white being Alpha of 1.0 which is totally opaque and black, which is totally transparent. Use this option to see what parts of the object will be transparent based on the UV Texture.
- When changes happen in this window (UV/Image Editor), other affected windows are updated in real time.
When working on details, remember that you can expand any window to full-screen by pressing ⇧ ShiftSpace to toggle the active window between a pane and full-screen. You can also use Ctrl↑ and Ctrl↓
This menu gives you options when working with the image that is mapped to the mesh.
- Realtime Texture Mapping: sets display updates to either UV Coordinates (default) or Reflection. With reflection, the texture shown is like looking in a mirror at the image. Use this when rendering a scene featuring a mirror that has a reflection 'out the window' when there is no 'outside'. This is sometimes also called using the UV Layout as a Reflection Map, namely mapping the image as if it was a reflection. The image you want to use is what would be reflected, namely the view from the reverse camera angle.
- Texture Painting: Enables and turns on Doc:Manual/Textures/UV/Painting_the_Texture.
- Pack Image: When selected, takes all the images in use and puts a copy inside the .blend file. Use this when sending off your file or packing up for the weekend.
- Reload: refreshes the image in Blender by re-reading the source image file. Use this if the artist has updated the image with changes.
- Replace: Replaces the Image with a new one that has a different name/location, keeping the UV mapping. The old one is discarded from memory/pack. Use this if you mistakenly opened the wrong file.
- Save As, Open, and New: saves the current image, opens an existing file, and creates a new image, respectively. But I bet you already figured that out.
Blender has a built-in picture window, the Image Browser window type, that allows you to scroll through directories on your hard disk, and shows you thumbnails only of image files in the directory. When you hover over a file, the header shows you the size and format of the file. Very Handy...even better than the Windoze file browser.
UVs Menu (Image Related)
Sometimes it is necessary to move image files to a new location on your hard disk. Use the Find Image Target Paths script to update the image links. You can fill in the top level root directory name, and Blender will search down from there to find a similar file.