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Chriss Daysleeper

Blender: Is it possible to bake textures as they appear in rendered?

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Hi everyone!

I'd like some help with something I don't have a lot of experience in yet, and that's baking textures.

I've created a collar for Second Life and I've added some materials that resemble latex and chrome in rendered view. Is it possible to somehow bake the textures as they appear in the rendered window directly onto my mesh?

If not, are there any other ways I can use to achieve the same effect?

 

Here's a screenshot of the mesh:

Blender.png

 

 http://img.prntscr.com/img?url=http://i.imgur.com/CZJwaBT.png

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Looking at your nodes window I assume you are using the cycles render engine. Since version 2.71 blender is able to bake textures with cycles. Rather than trying to explain how, I'll give you a link to a short tutorial on how to achive the result you want. I'm not very good at explaining things clearly. :)

 

 

Good luck!

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Yeah, I'm in cycles render. Sorry for missing that piece of information out.

The video you linked was great, I picked up a few important tips, but I think I'm missing a crucial piece of information, because I don't have a bake button at all.

 

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So I seem to have a grasp on texture baking now, I've been experimenting a lot with different materials lately, and I understand the process fairly well. But It's becoming more apparent to me that the effect I want to achieve is actually physically impossible, as the texture I have in rendered is dynamic and blender can only bake a static image. It wouldn't be possible for blender to capture all those different angles at once to give off the type of reflections that are shown in the image I posted earler. (Which are only visible because of my camera positioning). Instead, what I really get are some dull shines that aren't very sharp, and I also can't seem to bake specular light either.

So now I'm wondering if people actually just create these latex textures in Photoshop, or if I simply don't have enough knowledge yet to pull it off in Blender. I suppose I could bake what I can and then save the images for further enhancing in Photoshop, but it would be very time consuming.

I really need some professional advice here.

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You can get some results by experimenting with the positions of the lights in your scene. Blender bakes the specular reflection for each pixel as if it was looking straight at it. I don't use the cycles render engine myself (yet) but as far as I know you should be able to bake specular reflection with the right nodes setup. The first thing I ever baked in blender was an atempt to produce latex (see image below). The reflections you see are specular lighting. They don't look sharp but that's the material setup I used. I never experimented further with this because I found the baked specular effect to look very fake when you move around the object in SL. Where in RL the specular lighting changes depending on the viewing angle, baked specular reflection will be static and while it might look nice from a static viewpoint, it looks terribly fake once the object or your camera moves.

Perhaps a better way to go about this is to use the materials feature in SL. You can bake a specular intensity map in blender and select that texture under the shininess option in the texture edit window. These reflections won't be static and work with the lighting and viewing angle in SL. The only drawback is you have to have Advanced Lighting Model turned on in the graphics preferences of your viewer to see the effect.

 

This is my first and only attempt at baked latex reflections in SL.

Snaphot SL (19).jpg

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"Blender bakes the specular reflection for each pixel as if it was looking straight at it."

Yes, along the normal, which means it doesn't even represent the real highlights for any real camera position. I once spent a week trying to make a complicated Cycles node setup, by manipulating the normals, that would give the baked highlights at least for one camera angle and lighting setup. I got fairly close, but in the end there were always some horrible artefacts left. Anyway, as you say, that wouldn't be much use in SL because it would only work with static lighting and camera.

I also tried desperately to make a Cycles setup that would mimic SL shading +/- ALM, for testing baked textures. Failed there too. If anyone with better knowledge of Cycles etc. can do better with these attempts, it would be valuable.

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Christhiana wrote:

You can get some results by experimenting with the positions of the lights in your scene. Blender bakes the specular reflection for each pixel as if it was looking straight at it.

I see. I've been using mesh plane's with emission shaders around my object to try and get some good lighting for baking, but I'm curious as to what else I could do to increase the results. One thing I'd like to ask about is the "Light Path" properties under the Render tab, just above the Bake button. There's a lot of options that sound like they could make a difference in the bake, but I don't know much about them yet. I'm also told to increase the sampling for better results, so I do bump that up quite a bit before baking. Does increasing the number of bounces under the Light Paths do much for me? It's hard to tell at this point because I'm always changing my material nodes.

As for specular mapping, I haven't really explored that area yet, but I'll see what I can learn.

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"Does increasing the number of bounces under the Light Paths do much for me?"

Here's an example. This is lit with a set of strip lights (emitting planes) above left, plus a bit of ambient occlusion. There's a red cylinder off to the left. The top row is rendered view, middle is (part of) a combined bake, and bottom is the baked texture (set shadeless in Shading, texture display). On the left is zero bounces, in the middle one, and at the right two. You can see the effect of adding bounces inside the holes, and by the appearance of the indirect light from the red cylinder. At the bottom, you can see that there is a similar effect on the baked texture, but also that the baked 'highlights' are nothing like the rendered ones. The indirect red light is also different. That's the effect of the strange camera used by the baking, always looking along the surface's normal.It's as if for each pixel, you moved the camera for to a point of the the normal coming out of the surface where that pixel is.

cobake1all.png

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On 4/14/2015 at 9:37 PM, Drongle McMahon said:

"Does increasing the number of bounces under the Light Paths do much for me?"

Here's an example. This is lit with a set of strip lights (emitting planes) above left, plus a bit of ambient occlusion. There's a red cylinder off to the left. The top row is rendered view, middle is (part of) a combined bake, and bottom is the baked texture (set shadeless in Shading, texture display). On the left is zero bounces, in the middle one, and at the right two. You can see the effect of adding bounces inside the holes, and by the appearance of the indirect light from the red cylinder. At the bottom, you can see that there is a similar effect on the baked texture, but also that the baked 'highlights' are nothing like the rendered ones. The indirect red light is also different. That's the effect of the strange camera used by the baking, always looking along the surface's normal.It's as if for each pixel, you moved the camera for to a point of the the normal coming out of the surface where that pixel is.

cobake1all.png

Btw why baked textures look so dull, I'm dealing with that problem too. How to make baked textures look realistic like in render ?

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Baking good looking, realistic reflections is typically a difficult task (I would go as far as saying it's  a pointless task) because the very property of reflections is that they reflect the world around your object from the point of view of the camera viewing it.

Why not work with materials instead?

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