ShaderMap Version 3.x
Quick Start: Bake Maps from 3D Models
In this quick start tutorial, you will learn how to bake ambient occlusion from a Source Model, and also how to bake Tangent Space Normal Maps from a Source Model and a Cage Model using Projection Baking. The 3D Model Setup interface is demonstrated for setting up a Cage Mesh as well as defining Material IDs.


PART A - Baking Ambient Occlusion from a Source Model

Step 1 - Download the Free Windmill Model. A free TurboSquid account is required for download. We will be using this free model from TurboSquid during this example. Once you have the file downloaded, place the "windmill.obj" file somewhere temporary such as the Desktop.


Step 2 - Open ShaderMap, on the Start Page make sure that 3D Model is selected. Click the Folder button to load the Windmill OBJ file "windmill.obj".




You now see the 3D Model imported into the Project Grid and a number of default maps added to the project that use the 3D Model as their input. The Source Model Windmill is selected and the 3D Model Setup is displayed on the right of the Main Interface.




Step 3 - Select the Ambient Occlusion map in the Project Grid and adjust the settings to match the following. Make sure the Render Mode selected is Source Map and not Cage Projection.




Step 4 - Start the Map Rendering by pressing the Green Render Button located next to the Ambient Occlusion thumbnail in the Project Grid.




Step 4 - Load the Windmill model into the Material Visualizer and drag the first material onto it. This is done by right-clicking the Source Model in the Project Grid and selecting "Send Model to Visualizer" or by clicking the PLUS button found on the bottom of the Visualizer Window. Left-click drag the material over the Windmill and release the mouse button to apply the material.

Turn the Ambient lighting in the scene way up to better visualize the occlusion shading. Below you can see the final result (Preview Unchecked) applied to the Windmill model in the Material Visualizer.

See the Material Visualizer Section to learn how to use the Light Control and load models into the Material Visualizer.






PART B - Baking Normal Maps using Cage Projection

Step 1 - In this section we will be baking High Polygon normals (from the Source Model) onto a low polygon Cage Model. Unzip this 3D Tire Model Zip File and save the files "tire_high.FBX" and "tire_low.FBX" to a temp location such as your Desktop. Thanks to PABLO PEREZ for creating the High Polygon Tire.

Step 2 - Load the file "tire_high.FBX" into ShaderMap from the ShaderMap Start Page. You will see the Tire in the 3D Model Setup. In the Node Properties, click the Load Cage button to load the file "tire_low.FBX" as the Cage Model. You will now see the Cage Model overlapping the Source Model in the 3D Model Setup.




Step 3 - Select the Push Tool in the Model Setup and ensure Ignore Backface Triangles is disabled and Select Faces is enabled. Select all of the Cage polygons the click and drag them to completely cover the Source Model.




Step 4 - Select the Tangent Space Normal Map in the Project Grid. Have a look at the Node Properties but you don't need to change anything. Press the Green Render button next to the Map Thumbnail and the Normal Map will render.




Below is the baked Normal Map with a Cage Projection baked Ambient Occlusion applied to the low polygon tire in the Material Visualizer.






PART C - Additional Settings

First it should be noted that all 3D Models used to bake maps should have valid texture coordinates that are not tiled outside of the 0.0 - 1.0 range. Second, if a model has multiple maps attached to different subsets on the model then the Subset Selection Tool (or the Subset List) should be used to first select those subsets then next to define a Material ID from those subsets. Once a Material ID is defined it can be set to any Map that uses a 3D Model as input. What this means is that the Map will only operate on the Subsets in the Material ID and will therefore output a valid texture relating to those subsets.

The default Material ID is Zero (0) and contains all subsets in the model. Care must be taken to build Material IDs for both Cage and Source Models in some instances of Cage Projection baking.




To learn more about the Maps used with 3D Models see the Maps and Models section of these docs.

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