After someone told me that my unwraps suck, and I should stick my face in a massive blender(lie). It made me sad. : [
Since then, I made several training montages tuned to 80s rock that depicted my journey unwrapping meshes over a period of 5 years(lie). After all that sweat and blood, still I use only 80 percent of my UV space while 20 remains for buffer space and edge padding(mostly true).
Ready to fall asleep on subway tracks(lie), I decided to first check the efficiency of models that people have created for games. Turns out, the average usage of UV space actually is 25 percent, with the best I've seen (on a complex unwrap comprised of 5 characters) 16.5 percent vacant space.
So, optimizing meshes for MAXIMUM UV space U-U-USAGE. Is it worth it? How much time would you spend on unwrapping a current day character or complex item? with numerous UV islands of different sizes and shapes.
What are some of the most efficient UV unwraps you've made? And I'm not talking about on a series of crates. I mean on complex items and characters that contain both organic and hard edged shapes. What's your average?
And if you're not using a program that can check UV efficiency, do this:
Export UVs to photoshop, magic wand, select empty space with contiguous option selected, ctrl+shift+m, select all, ctrl+shift+m. Divide the huge "Area" number by the slightly less huge "Area" number.