Lightmaps, AO, GI and baking it with external render engines/tools.. What do you use?

While Blender ain´t all that shabby for baking I wanted to look around. The ultimate solution most likely would be Autodesks “Beast” but currently I can´t even justify to buy vray.

I was wondering if there are any, addon render engines that support texture baking, maybe even something with bidirectional mlt support.

Octane, Luxray and Indigo seem to have no such thing. I hear Vray can bake textures, but I can´t find a bake button anywhere.
Sunflow should be able, but their exporter refuses work.
Unity only supports the nice stuff in the pro version, and IrrEdit only spits out scenes for the Irrlicht engine.

I was also looking into “Giles” but that tool is beyond me and I can´t find decent tutorials.

So, the question is, how do you guys bake really nice lightmaps with indirect lighting, GI, AO…?

AO can be rendered in octane, and proabably any rendering engine that supports clay rendering mode and even lighting.
Someone on the Octane forum said “Since lightmapping is directional, eg it does’nt involve specular and glossy reflections, eg only diffuse interreflections and reflected or transmitted caustics, it does’nt make much sense to use an unbiased renderer for lightmaps.”

I knoiw next to nothing about lightmaps, but judging from the experienced users, you wouldn’t use an unbiased render engine.

Hope that helps. (probably doesn’t, but anyway…)

You can render AO pretty much everywhere, but not bake it… that´s the point. :wink:
Setup lights and bake Lights, GI/AO and Shadows into textures > Lightmaps&Shadowmaps

I really don´t care if it is biased or unbiased, whatever looks better. But if you have a complicated lighting setup MLT might be useful, especially if you have for instance a hugestorage with small windows at the top, where sunlight enters.
I really didn´t look much into lightmap creation, but I hence there´s not much use for them anymore anways with dereffered shading, a almost endless supply of dynamic lights, realtime indirect lighting… that´s most likely also why the tools that are for baking lightmaps are either age old, or part of expensive engines.

I guess for now I´ll be looking further into giles. It´s quite powerful:
http://www.frecle.net/index.php?show=giles.features

Deled is nice too:
http://www.delgine.com/index.php?filename=product_deled

But it has no GI. “just” AO, directional light, spotlights and pointlights. It has a prefab object database though.

If you have the hardware, then http://www.studiogpu.com/

Yeh, I even have it installed. I completely forgot it can bake textures. I really dislike the tool for it´s inability to import .obj.
I guess I got to look into it again.

Hmm. I really don´t like studiogpu that much. Even compared to blender it is very unintuitive and lacks usability.
Giles is rather easy to handle though and delivers quite good results very fast, however version 2 is in beta and quite instable. If I remember correctly prior version of giles was 40 USD, which is accepptable. I might stick with it.

I´ll hop over to a vray thread though, I finally found the stupid bake checkbox in the vray exporter (vray has that many options, you turn optionblind) if baking works nice, that´s another + for vray on my list.

Vray+Blender, very nice way to bake lightmaps with GI. Fast and expensive :smiley: well not if you weigh it to vrays other capabilities.