Thursday, August 27th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

3d-io releases UV packing tool UV-Packer 3 for free

Plugin developer 3d-io has made UV-Packer, its automated UV packing tool, available for free.

As well the new price tag – or lack thereof – 3d-io describes the latest version, UV-Packer 3 for 3ds Max, as “massively optimized for 2020+ workflow” and capable of dealing with “extreme high-polygon assets”.

A new Blender version of the plugin is also in development.

A high-performance automated UV packing plugin for 3ds Max
Originally released in 2008, and previously sold for $130, UV-Packer is a UV packing plugin for 3ds Max.

The software automatically arranges the UV islands of a model to minimise wasted UV 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.

The product site shows UV-Packer packing 8,000 UV clusters for an 80,000 polygon building in 3 seconds, achieving 48% UV space usage, compared to 110 seconds and 35% space usage for Max’s native UV tools.

Version 3 of the software now available free to game and visualisation artists
3D-io describes the latest version of the plugin, UV-Packer 3, as “geared to the needs of 3D artists, game studios, arch viz, photogrammetry … and 3D product designers”.

“It is massively optimized for 2020+ workflow and market requirements: it can deal with extreme high-polygon assets and thousands of UV clusters with ease.”

We can’t find a changelog for version 3 online, but 3d-io describes the highlights of the software – including functionality added in previous releases – as follows:

  • Free
  • Rapid packing procedure
  • Minimal UV area waste and off-cuts
  • No overlapping, exact padding
  • Fast and precise packing of massive polygon assets and UV-clusters
  • Optimized for contemporary 3D design
  • Multi-object packing
  • Resolution independent
  • Multithreading
  • UV tiles support
  • Sleek and customizable UI & UX
  • MAXScript, docs, statistics & morSupport and maintenance

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 3 is available free for 3ds Max 2015+. You don’t have to register on the product website to download it. A new version of the plugin for Blender is “coming soon”.

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

Download UV-Packer 3 for 3ds Max free from the product website