Best way to bake a grid of cubes on to a plane

What’s the best way to bake a grid of cubes on to a plane? I’m trying to make my own tiled floor. Here’s an example:

The grid is made out of smaller beveled cubes…

When I tried to bake the first time, I got a yellow result, so I figured: the normals are inverted. I flipped the normals, got a blue result but no geometry. So I flipped the grid 180 degrees and finally got blue geometry, but I’m not satisfied with the results. These are screenshots of the results, normal map, and bake properties.

Is there a better way or am I too picky with my results? I’d like to bake out proper normals so I can texture the floor with my own style instead of downloading textures from a site.

why so high a distance? move the plane closer to the thing you want to bake ( the beveled side) and make the distance not high. its currently looking for normal data 400 miles away

Didn’t know the distance was much of an issue when objects were further way. I might have misunderstood a tutorial I took at Blender Cookie where the tutor said to crank it up, he didn’t know the distance.

I tried lowering the distance with another floor tile I made, and there’s a slight difference, maybe I’m imagining things. I was quite subtle with the corner bevel this time.

Yet I did run into certain visual artifacts when I baked out normal and texture maps. The edges on my baked out textures are not very aligned if I zoom in, again maybe I’m being picky and that’s normal:

Edit: updated post to include everything. Easier to link to afterwards.

Can’t use just cubes, have to delete the bottom faces for baking or increase bias to not include them.

And here’s what is going on with the distance and bias:

Bias is “offset” for the baking. You are telling to bake from this point, in Blender units.
Distance is how much further away from bias it should bake, in Blender units.

Default distance and offset is 0 and 0. To get the example situation baked, you would have to increase distance to at least 1.5 to get both domes baked. But in the example I’ve set the bias to 1.1, so distance 0.3 doesn’t include left dome and cuts the top off from the right one (left result). Distance of 0.4 includes top from left dome and almost everything from the right one (right result).

Best explanation on how distance and bias works, thanks! The tutorial I was taking never explained any of this, just said 1.00 for Bias was the magic bullet. A great tutorial nonetheless, but now I know what I’m doing when baking. Thanks again.

You’re welcome. Although I forgot to draw a distance to both directions from bias. Here’s another screenshot that shows that too.

Bias is set to 1.1
When distance is set to 0.3, it cuts the top off from the right dome and doesn’t include left dome at all. This is the result on the left.
With distance is set to 0.4, tops from both domes are included. Result on the right.

Thanks for the updated response. Your explanation makes sense but I’m afraid there’s something I’m not getting or doing wrong. I tried baking another normal map, but unfortunately I get a piece of the geometry cut off. I don’t understand since the highest parts of the geometry are all the same, none of the beveled polygons are higher than another. I’ve moved the low polygon and the high planes closer and further to each other, same results. This is the normal map:

(sorry forgot to crop the image)

I’ve also included my .blend file

There is missing geometry between the horizontal lines and there’s not enough coverage on the image or the image is too low resolution for small detail to bake to.

I changed the UVs so that it takes more space on the image, and I put a 2048x2048 for them. You can move individual UV faces by enabling sync on the UV/image editor header and moving UV faces in UV face selection mode (ctrl+tab).

JA12 some of your illustrations really should be in the wiki. Actually they probably are, but this one (bias/distance) should be too.

Ja12, okay now I’m baking properly and I’m rearranging all of my UV Maps. Thanks yet again. Marked Solved :slight_smile: