Blender has a ton of addons, some are totally useless and done for a bit of a laugh, some are simple and made by people just getting into programming, but mostly they are built to solve specific problems and once you try them you wonder how you managed to work without them before!
This week we are looking at the UV_tool, Authored by Imdjs. Its first iteration appeared on Blender artists forum at the beginning of June and has been improved upon quite a bit since then. you can check out the forum thread here.
We have all had the problem that a nice smooth mesh unwraps to a wobbly drunken mess for no apparent reason other than to give us a bucket load of extra work. Alt selecting rows of vertices, S X 0 to straighten them out, then same again for the Y co ordinates, when you’d much rather just plop the uvs’ down and get on with texturing. This little addon solves that problem.
the Interface is really simple which is a nice touch, once installed and activated it simply sits in the properties panel of the uv image editor. and it is simplicity itself to use. the buttons are self explanatory, circle, for fixing circles, straighten and align for fixing straight edges. The transmission function allows you to select a row of vertices and apply the adjustment to the adjoining rows, fixing the whole mesh in one click. Brilliant!
As you can see from the screenshot below, the functionality is quite impressive and fixing messy uv. becomes a simplistic task instead of a daunting chore.
So is there anything wrong with it? well, it does have one or two issues, its not great for really complex meshes, you don’t always want everything lined up so time spent tweaking the tool could have been used to fix the mesh using other tools like the uv sculpt tools. and if you try to do something that it doesn’t like you get a trackback error and blender boots you out of edit mode. which i guess is better than having blender crash totally and tabbing back puts you where you last were so it’s slightly annoying rather than devastating!
the other main stopping point is that it is only (at the time of writing) available for windows, which is disappointing for all those mac and linux users out there.
But in the main it is a really handy little tool and well worth installing for windows users and hopefully there will be alternative versions available soon.
you can down load the Tool from the forum thread above or directly from http://blenderaddonlist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/addon-smooth-selected-uv.html