Can't get a good normal map bake (artifacts galore) from Hi-poly to Low-poly (Cycles)

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I’ve tried baking with and without a cage. I’ve tried raising and lowering the ray distance. I’ve switched into blender’s internal renderer and I’m still coming up with some awful normals. I’m guessing it’s something to do with my models but what do I know, that’s why I’m here.

This is normals baked at 0.0 ray distance…

This is a UV island from the back of the head showing Normal information from part of the side of the face. That doesn’t make any sense… :eek:

Normals baked at 0.005 ray distance. Much cleaner, mostly, but…

I’m still ending up with spots like this.

There’s also these issues:
All I know to call this is parallaxed normals, but this is just a divot with a semisphere in it.

I’m also getting extremely jagged edges where meshes are colliding on my Hi-Poly model.
I guess I could just blur this in photoshop or the like but if there is a way I can fix this at the source I’d like to know it.

Here’s the high and low poly models side by side

Why have you failed to supply any demo blend file to review ?? This is the minimum requirement for ALL support questions. Do so.

I tried and thought I had. The attachment UI was a bit confusing for me.

Here’s a google drive link as an alternative:

I couldn’t spend too much time on it, but I gave it a quick go. I unwrapped it to get rid of the mirroring. I’ve occasionally had problems with it.

Anyway. I created a cage (cage.001) after weighting the normals on the low poly. I expanded it a little (ALT-S) then tweaked what ever faces needed to be covered. The reason is so that you get minimal clipping as the mesh starts to balloon. There’s still some left that you could tweak a little more. But the cage combined with weighting the normals seems to be on the right track.

One thing I didn’t do was mark the seams on the low poly, as sharp, before baking. It might help with getting a cleaner result. So give that a try. You may need to re-weight the normals after doing that.

The weighted normals calculator addon.

Exploding the mesh is a good way of ensuring there’s no transfer from one surface to the next. But Unfortunately the meshes are contiguous. So that’s not possible in your case unless you make some edits.


RhinoHelm_Edited.blend (4.17 MB)