Help! Am I making a huge mistake with baking normals?

Hi friends,

I am a Blender novice and I’m trying to make a space ship for use in some larger animated scenes. I have made a ship with roughly 5,000 faces and I used the random flow add on to generate some plating.

Of course, the plating makes up more than 150,000 faces, so I wanted to bake it to the main object as normal data to save memory.

Unfortunately I am clearly getting something wrong. Is this even possible, or can you only bake minor details to a similar object? Is there any way for me to get the plating detail in as a normal or displacement map?

It is sitting almost directly on top of the main mesh (maybe a 0.01 gap), but despite all my various attempts at fiddling with mesh extrusion and ray distance settings when baking, I only get these messed up, unusable normal maps (see below).

Please help me, or tell me if I am trying to do something impossible!!!

Messed up maps:

You can definitely do this, and much more. I’ve baked from 1.5 mil down to to 7k, and much finer detail than this.

How are you baking? If you’re not already using a cage, try that. I am a novice at baking, and that solved almost all of my initial problems. It’s a bit more setup but makes up for that with much better control.


Well your normal map does show some details but as i can see your first image also doesn’t show very detailed added greebles according to the second images as the non-greebled version… so what do you expect ?? You might wanna extrude (seems to be called min Depth ??) this a bit more with the random flow and aso may have more non-90-degree angles ??

Okay I will give that a go, I dont want them to stand out too much but if it helps I can try that. How exactly do I avoid the 90 degree faces? By beveling? I actually do have a bevel modifier on it but could try strengthening that

Okay thanks, that’s encouraging to hear! I wasn’t using a cage, but I will learn how to do that now and see if that brings any improvement, fingers crossed

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@piranha4D Okay I just tried it on one of the wings which is a simpler shape and it worked nearly perfectly, THANK YOU! I’ve been pulling my hair out over this for days so thank you very much! It clearly will take a bit of fiddling with a more complex shape but it can be done!

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IDK all settings of random flow… but beveling could be a solution… yes…