Baking Normal Maps - Eh? I need a little help


I’m still getting used to the normal mapping work flow and I’m unsure how to paint them. Here’s what I want to paint: It’s a cupboard, that will have glass on it, it has shelves on the inside and that’s about it. I’ve tried to keep it simple.

Today I finished a tutorial ( on normal mapping. In the tutorial I used a single plane and made a texture for it. To do this I made a high poly version above the single plane, then baked my normals to it.

So how do I do it to a complex model like this? Do I have to paint them manually? If I do, how so?

I would you like people to share how they would go by texturing something like this.

I’m using Blender 2.6.5 and Photoshop CS6. Here’s an example of what I’ve tried, for using a high poly mesh and baking onto a low poly mesh:


Edit: Might I add that some of the normals are baking onto things they shouldn’t. I’m going to remake the high poly version and see if it was just me, making a terrible mesh.

Edit: Here is the .blend file, I’ve used an ‘explode’ method to try and get it working. But to no avail!


you do it the exact same way you do for a simple model. You unwrap the LOW-Poly mesh, and bake the normal map with the high-Polygon Model to the Low-Polygon Model, using the “selected to active”-mode. Guessing from your Picture you unwrapped the high Poly mesh (as it appears to have seams assigned) and baked the image to that? Doing that just makes no sense, in fact you dont even need to unwrap the highpoly mesh.

It’s not quite clear to me what this model is for, if you’re just rendering it, i would just use the high polygon version itself and forget about the normal mapping here, if this to be used in a Game, it could still be an acceptable amount of Polygons. If you realy want to use a normal map, you should take a look on your Model, you have realy small insets/extrusions on the Low-Polygon Mesh, yet quite big extrusions/insets on the High-Polygon. What you want to have, is having the Geometry that stands out most in your Low Poly, and faking the depth of smaller details with a normalmap.

Ah, ignore the seams on the high poly mesh, that’s just because I duplicated the low poly so I could edit it into a high poly. Or do the seams mess the whole thing up?

I’m currently baking to the low poly, I’ve checked this over.

The model will be used in a game engine, possibly. It is for me to practise modelling game assets and texturing them.
I’ve been trying to keep the most important geometry and have all that I want/need. So let’s say I have all I need, why isn’t baking working? Must be something I’m doing wrong.

Thank you for the reply.

it doesn’t matter if the high poly one is unwrapped or not, it works according to proximity. you can adjust the range in the render baking buttons.

Someone over at Polycount suggested that I do an ‘expldode’ bake, in which I move all the objects apart. I think it’s because everything is way too close to each other. Who knows…

Edit: Trying out that method. I’ve added a keyframe at the start, but when I go to the next frame, ‘explode’ it and add a keyframe, the first frame has changed… I think this is because I’ve edited the mesh.

I’ve added the .blend file to the first post.

It might be that Distance and Bias is set too far off

Ah! I see. What of the jagged egdes, on the mini shelves? Or is that because I haven’t unwrapped it properly?

I’m experimenting with something else, to see if I can get it working.

Thanks for the help =] I’ll redo the values and see what’s what.

As i understand you want normalmap beveled parts and dozen of screw heads of this furniture. I do not see any other reason here. As a result of unwrapping huge, absolutely flat surfaces, bevel takes i would say 1 to 3% of 2k x 2k texture space. Same proportion, if not less, would go to rendered scene image. Considering antialiasing errors i’d rather leave in extra simpler bevel polys and save normalmap texture for some hightech panel with instruments and what not.
Just my 2 pennies.

I considered this. So instead of trying to use high poly bevels, I should just include them into my low poly? I was worried that too many poly’s on an item might slow a game down, but looking at video games now, I realised that we can fit so much more it.

When baking, does the high poly mesh have to be above and around the low poly? If it’s not, do I have to make it bigger so it is?

the high poly and low poly meshes should occupy essentially the same space while baking.

And what if the high poly is bevelled and it goes inside the low poly? Or do the normals bake to the low poly from every direction?