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Download free UV packing tool UV-Packer for Blender

Monday, March 1st, 2021 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Plugin developer 3d-io has released UV-Packer for Blender, a new edition of its free UV packing plugin for the open-source 3D software.

Designed for “3D artists, game studios, arch viz, photogrammetry … and 3D product designers”, the plugin optimises the packing of UV islands for both organic and hard surface models to minimise wasted UV space.

A high-performance automated UV packing plugin
UV-Packer began life as a commercial 3ds Max plugin, with 3d-io making the 3ds Max edition available free on the release of version 3 last year.

The software automatically arranges the UV islands of a previously UV-unwrapped 3D model to minimise wasted space, reducing total file sizes for sets of texture maps.

It is resolution-independent – so packing times remain constant, regardless of the resolution of the textures – and supports tiled UV layouts, used in applications like ZBrush.

UV-Packer is multi-threaded and, according to 3d-io, is capable of “crunching thousands of UV islands and millions of polygons in minimum time”.

The product website shows the plugin achieving 48% UV packing efficiency for an 80,000-polygon building model, as opposed to 28% for Blender’s native tools.

Free for commercial use, but the SDK remains a paid product
The Blender edition of UV-Packer consists of two components: the UV-Packer engine itself, and a Blender integration plugin. You can see installation instructions at the end of the video above.

The engine is not open-source, but the EULA included in the .zip archive with the installer permits use in commercial projects. The integration plugin is available under a MIT licence.

The UV-Packer SDK, used by software developers and studios to customise the plugin, or to integrate it into other tools, remains a commercial product.

UV-Packer’s sister applications, including 3ds Max and Maya UV unwrapping plugin Unwrella, and texture baking tool Flatiron, also remain available commercially.

Pricing and system requirements
UV-Packer for Blender is available free for Blender 2.90+ on Windows only. Linux and macOS versions are due “soon”. You don’t have to register on the product website to download it.

A perpetual licence for the UV-Packer SDK costs €5,000 (around $5,920).

Download UV-Packer for Blender free from the product website

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