Baking normal maps and joining objects


I’m making some assets for a Japanese scene in Unity and I have a question concerning normal maps baking.

Here’s the plot:
I’m making a stylized street light, having those asians paper lamps. I create a high poly model of the lamp and I can bake the normal map for it. However the pole doesn’t need such a pleasant treatment and I can manage with a low poly setting.

Is there any way I can join the two objects in order to have only one object while preserving basked information for the lamp ?

Thanks !

(from left to right: Low poly lamp, high poly lamp and pole)

It doesn’t matter if they’re one object, once you bake the normal. The only thing that matters is the material, which says to use a normal map or not use a normal map.

They can easily be one object even before you bake the normal. Just use the low-poly of your post as the high-poly.

As regards Unity, you probably want to minimize the number of different materials, particularly for static objects like this, so having a normal mapped post, even if that normal map is flat blue, is probably the better idea. Not sure why it matters whether they’re joined objects for you in Unity. Just parent one to the other and that parentage will (IIRC) propagate through into Unity. Even if it didn’t, you can easily set it up that way in the prefab.

Good, thanks, for your analysis !