SolidWorks contains two completely separate methods for working in sheet metal. In one method you can use dedicated sheet metal features from the start, and in the other method you build a part using thin features and other generic modeling tools, and then tell SolidWorks it is sheet metal so you can flatten it.
The reason for two methods is that the generic modeling method came first, and then SolidWorks introduced a more powerful set of dedicated sheet metal features. You can use these tools together or separately, and either way you get an accurately flattened part at the end.
Sheet metal tools do not always represent real-world sheet metal manufacturing processes 100 percent accurately because some shapes that result from bending processes are too complex to easily represent in a CAD model. So there are times when you still have to use your imagination a little bit. The main point is that the Flat Patterns are always accurate because sheet metal is usually fabricated using 2D data.
The features used in the Base Flange method are easy to grasp conceptually, and they have many individual controls. These are the tools that represent ...