Hello, everyone. Almost everybody knows about memory limitation of Blender’s baker – normals baking from sculpted mesh could easily run out of memory. Last few weeks Morten Mikkelsen and me were working under baker which could bake things directly from sculpted mesh. We’ve got some success there and here’s description of new approach.

Usage

Usage of new baker isn’t more difficult as usage Blender’s default baker. You should have unwrapped with images assigned to each face. Such mesh is preparing in exactly the same way as you’ve been doing it before. When you’ll be ready to bake, you should also go to the Bake panel from Render buttons.and when Normals or Displacement is chosen in Bake Method field you’ll see new option named Bake from Multires. That’s exactly that option you need to bake sculpted mesh. When you’ll check this option on, you could bake your model with Bake button.

Bake panel with new options

Baking happens from the highest multiresolution level to the viewport level. This means baked texture should be applied on mesh with exactly the same subdivision level as it was set in Preview level of multires when you was baking texture – only in this case rendered result would be correct.

Displacement map baked against high resolution mesh

Baking normal maps

When you’re baking normal maps, baker uses tangent space for normals. it’s the most re-usable space and baker is optimized to use this space, so there’s no way to choose another space for normals.

Such options as Selected to Active and Split aren’t supported for new kind of baker.

Baking displacement maps

Baking displacement maps happens in normalized heights, so black color in image would mean the lowest point in your mesh and white color would mean the highest one.

Selected to Active and Split options aren’t available as in case of Normals baking, but there’s new option available: Low Resolution Mesh. This option is used to specify against which kind of low-resolution mesh heights should be computed. It could be mesh with exactly the same shape as mesh in viewport and could be “smoothed” mesh.

Smooth heights is good for bump mapping and for displacement mapping on a subdivision mesh and non-smooth heights is good for displacement mapping the non-subdivided low resolution mesh.

Limitations

Displacement map baked against low resolution mesh

As it was already mentioned, there are some limitations of new baker:

  • Selected to active and Split options are not available for this baker
  • Baking could be done from mesh with multiresolution modifier on the top of the modifiers stack. If there’s no multiresolution modifier in the top of stack or subdivision level is set to 0, baking wouldn’t happen.
  • Baker can’t deal with displacement and normals textures added to object. Baked texture wouldn’t be affected with this textures.
  • Triangular faces could be handled a bit wrong. This happens due to quite difficult conversions between different spaces and solving this issue is still in progress,

-Sergey-