There has been a few tools and techniques cropping up for varian applications, that will allow you to transfer UV space elements into the 3D world space. It can be more useful to visualize UVs in 3D space, rather than the 2D space of a UV editor. I’ve seen this in Maya before, using SOuP’s MaptoMesh node.
allows you blend between your object’s points from Object Space into UV Space
If you want to try the same thing in Houdini, Lumi 3D Studios offers a free Houdini node that will allow you to visualize UVs right in the 3D viewport. The UV Visualizer node lets you easily blend between your objects vertices from object space, to UV space, and back again. This can make it really easy to see where your UV islands are located in relation to your mesh.
It’s really kind of cool, and it can be downloaded for free on Orbolt. Check out the UV Visualizer node for Houdini here.