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IIianII

What is the right way to bake textures?

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With all these awesome features we have on SL, such as bento, bake on mesh, sl materials, shadows and ALM, I wonder about what's the right way of texturing mesh while keeping in mind all the features mentioned?

I also want to know how does the majority of creators bake textures? I use the combined bake option on blender and that's it. Do people still blend AO maps to their final bake or do they bake each maps separately and combine them on PS?

To be more specific, if I'm gonna make a table what's the best or most correct way of texturing it in 2018?

Edited by IIianII

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46 minutes ago, rtd144 said:

Baked lighting is horrible, in my opinion.

There's baked textures and then there is baked textures.

Most of the baked textures we see in SL are done with what Klytyna so precisely calls Blender Bake-Fail function and those tend to be horrible of course. Thoughtless content creation usually is.

Well thought out and not too exaggerated baked textures can be very effective though. But they still tend to add to the lag. With baking we need so much more textures than with modern tileable ones and too many textures in the scene is still one of the two biggest causes of lag in SL.

Maybe tileable textures are kind'a baked btw. There's this thing called "fake baking" which, despite the name, is far more impressive than "real" baking. What it means is that the artist adds the shading manually. It is sometimes possible to use fake baking to amke textures with very good shading that are still tileable - at least along one axis - giving us the best of both worlds.

 

Now to the OP:

On 9/11/2018 at 4:28 PM, IIianII said:

I wonder about what's the right way of texturing mesh while keeping in mind all the features mentioned?

You're not gonna like this answer:

  1. Keep the number and resolution of the textures down to the absolute minimum
  2. Use tileable textures wherever possible, baked custom textures where they have the most effect
  3. With baked textures, pack the islands on the UV map as tightly as possible to reduce pixel waste and always look for opportunities to reuse the same texture space for multiple parts.
  4. Don't trust Blender's automatic UV mapping or baking. Engage brain and eyes.
  5. Try to keep a fairly consistent pixel density all over a scene. It's the parts of the scene with the lwoest pixel density that really define the overall graphics quality so there is no point wasting pixels on much higher resolution elsewhere in the scene.
  6. Be a bit careful not to overdo or udnerdo shading and other details. What looks good at first sight may well be way too exaggerated or bland in the long run.

Those are the important points, the rest are minor details.

Except of course for the obvious noob mistakes like:

  1. Don't use 1024x1024 resolution textures for shadow prims
  2. Avoid rogue alphas

And all that stuff. But really...

Edited by ChinRey
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I use a combination of the following maps in photoshop to compile my materials. 

  • Base colour
  • Ambient occlusion set to multiply - usually 80-100%
  • Concavity also set to multiply - around 40%
  • Convexity set to screen - around 20% - this requires a light touch

This is  flattened (to avoid seams) exported out and sometimes I then take it to bitmap to material and have a tinker in there  with the roughness controls. I then export the roughness map and use that to modulate the gloss via the normal maps alpha channel. 

I never bake on lights, Why some folk think this looks good is beyond me. Take any of those objects into a scene where the light isn't the same, and they just look odd and out of place and make the avatar appear full bright. It's so 2012, plus it's a lag fest as often the smallest build contain multiple baked 1024 textures. 

 

Edit: I bake most of my maps from high poly mesh made in zbrush or blender

Edit 2: I use knald for baking, this is well worth the 100 bucks and never lets me down, but there's also 'handplane' which is free

Edited by Cube Republic
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2 hours ago, Cube Republic said:

I never bake on lights, Why some folk think this looks good is beyond me.

I couldn't agree more but I do understand why people are seduced by it. When it works, the result can be spectacular. But it only works if every single item in the scene is custom made to match and if every visitor uses exactly the same static windlight and you still get the lag issue with all the high resolution textures.

 

2 hours ago, Cube Republic said:

...

and make the avatar appear full bright.

Ummmmmm,,,,

 

errrrr....

 

well...

 

I probably should use a spoiler tag here to protect sensitive people but it seems we don't have those on this forum. So a warning instead: don't read the small print if you suffer from good taste.

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People have actually started to use full bright mesh avatars now.

Edited by ChinRey
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Another good little point is to make your textures a bit less vibrant/saturated as the windlights most often tend to increase the saturation.

Also think in terms of LOD for texture density, the highest LOD is ok to have more, but it could reduce quite a lot in low lod levels, lowest level having the tiny low-fi texture it deserves.  This may not be important for all objects not meant to be seen from afar; but.... otherwise speaking, LOD is another area texture concerns play an important role.

I use Blender addon Zerobrush to instabake down highpoly sculpting and the hand painting its other features bring to the table,  I will put in a bit of shadow where it makes sense too, but not light, since lights are not limited in SL at all.  You can have as many as you want, the only limit is how many projectors actually cast shadows at a given time around the players view, and that is a general tech limitation, not necessarily an SL thing.

Edit: There is one case painting in light is awesome, but its using the Alpha Emissive Mask, so you can make part of a texture full bright and glow without the rest of the texture having the same effect, its quite neat, and can be animated too!

 

Edited by Macrocosm Draegonne
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