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Multiple objects on one texture sheet


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I'm trying to lay out UV's for multiple objects to one texture sheet. The problem is when I switch between objects the uv's of the previous object disappear is making it to difficult to know how much space is available. Can anyone suggest to solve this without combining the objects into a single mesh?
Simply spread your textures out into the whole of the base grid area, when your finished, move to another grid outside of that square. Once you have done all your objects move/scale them back into the main grid. This of course limits you to laying everything out into squares. Other way around is to attach all your objects together, lay out all the UV's ( this could be done with the first option aswell so things aren't so confusing. ). Then when your finished, detach all the objects again. You'll have to colapse the stack I believe.

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