Baking shadows and texture help for low poly model

I have a high poly sculpting model. I need to texture paint it then bake textures and shadows to my low poly version of the model but Im confused.
I would just bake a normal map but I cant for what Im using the model for(Future Pinball) so I am going to fake the shadows but I need to bake shadows at the same time as textures right? That would mean I need to unwrap the high poly model then texture paint or can I texture paint it and not unwrap it but still get it to bake? Blender crashes on my PC cus its too high of polys?
I cant bake shadows from the high poly to the low poly then texture paint my low poly becuase it would paint over my shadows.
Hope that makes some sense and if not let me know. Thanks guys:)

Update: Maybe I could bake the shadows. Save the image. Then texture paint low poly model. save that texture. Open in photoshop and and make the shadow image its own layer over the texture image?

No, you UV map the low poly model. That is where everything gets baked. You do need to paint high poly somehow. Shadow on high poly comes from lighting on it. You don’t need to paint those.

How can I paint the high poly model? Everytime I unwrap it crashes/freezes.I dont want my high res model any lower. sculpt set at 5 and I need to keep it there. My PC cant handle the unwrap. I tried painting without unwraping but it wouldnt let me paint onto it.

High poly model is not built for painting. Normal workflow is to create high poly model to create normal map. This normal map will create an illusion of surface feature. Your painting lay on top of this surface. In fact your color map, diffusion map, can be a simple color image with AO value layered over it. Extensive painting is not necessary. Adding Specular map can increase its complex surface appearance even more.

u don’t need to unwrap highpoly model. just unwrap low poly model. then First Select Highpoly model , then lowpoly model and bake baby bake :slight_smile:

Not sure what you mean by AO value layered over it? Also like I said I cant use normal maps. The game engine only expects one texture and not normal maps. Its not that big of a deal now. I guess I’ll just take it into photoshop and paint it the best I can where needed. Just sucked that I wasted all that time sculpting.