Honestly, there are articles around the net about “normal mapping” in particualr “tangent space normal mapping” (google it).
One of the good articles I have ran into is here:
and here, (also mentioned in above link)
The rules apply to any kind of baking… I’ll try and lay out some simple rules:
Do not have non-manifold edes… each edge should have no more than 2 faces attached.
When adding details, avoid 90 degree angles. Even though it looks more pleasing to the eye in “solid” mode, 90 degree angles are killer on baking any type of shading or normal maping. You want more obtuse angles.
this has to do with both normal mapping, and in the case of ambient occlusion baking, (as I am doing here), if edges and indentations are to be represented, you will need an area that representins the change of shading. 90 degree angles simply will not show any difference. Even a 100 degree angle is better, because it allows the baker to bake in a “shadow” area. If you don’t understand, you’ll just have to trust me on this one until you do understand…
When baking, remeber that the dead give away… the “flatenner”, what reveals the baked details are all an illusion, is the lack of silhouette.
Indeed, when looking at highly detailed low-poly art, note the silhouette, the outline of the object, you’ll note that even though the model looks mooth, the edges around it are jagged, and geomtrical.
If there is an important concept to know, it is silhouettes. Meditate, understand. You can bake details into faces, but the silhhouettes never lie. If you are stuck in the matrix, just rotate around a highly detailed object, and notice the lack of silhouette for the details, then the object will apear flat.
This is why you must hide silhouettes.
- you can extrude “outwardly”, but only slightly. To add details, extrude faces “inwardly”