Normal Map Cycles Baking Help

I baked a normal map in cycles with a method I found on youtube where you select the high poly (sculpted) version > then the low poly (non-sculpted) version > then bake with selected to active checked.

This gave me a nice normal map where all my sculpting showed up nicely on my low poly version. HOWEVER, it completed ignored my painted texture. I painted some wood tiles and figured when I baked it would recognize it and add some bump map action however it did not. How would I go about baking my sculpting from my high poly to my low poly version AND my low poly painted texture all onto one normal map image?

I’m creating this object for Unity so I kind of need it to all be on one normal map, thanks for the help.

If you are using a bump/normal map input to a shader, try plugging the bump map into the “Displacement” input of the shader output node instead. It will ignore bump map nodes when baking normal maps, but the displacement should work.

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You could use this node setup for baking the textured normals, and mix with the hi_poly->lo_poly baked normals with this nodegroup.

The nightly build of blender also bakes down normals from the material.

Download 2.79 from last night.


This is my current setup.

Some more info

I just did a quick test, and helluvamesh is correct. This wasn’t working when I tried it in 2.79 but in the latest nightly build it bakes normal maps correctly. :slight_smile:

Alright I will download it. Now on the nightly build, how would I go about baking both?

How would I go about doing that, whats the node setup?

Minimal setup:
bake.blend (2.2 MB)

About speed:
When only baking down material properties and or normals, displacement and not any lighting feature you can greatly speed up baking times by setting the render samples to 8. With higher resolutions 4 is enough. (Properties Editor > Sampling > Samples > Render)

I opened your file and understand what you are getting at however my low poly model has an image texture on it that I painted on. Yours does not.

Example below.


I am able to bake the sculpting correctly however my PAINTING is not baking properly and shows up flat. I want BOTH the SCULPTING from my high poly and my PAINT from the low poly to bake. Thanks for the help.

Baking down high poly mesh with material to a low-poly mesh with no material is common practice that’s why we all thought that’s what you want. But that’s not what you want, you simply want to combine normalmaps (another common practice).

  1. Bake down the high-poly to low-poly, never mind that there’s no detail from the low-poly, it’s impossible to bake that way. When you bake from high-poly to low-poly the material of the low-poly is always ignored.
  2. Save the baked normalmap.
  3. Overlay the two normalmaps in the material of the low-poly mesh using this node group.

  1. Bake the low-poly mesh again (with Selected To Active unchecked) to get all the detail into a single texture that your game engine can use.

Nightly version of Blender is still required.

See the blend file at the end of my next post.

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Full setup:

Color To Normal:

TS to WS:

Normal To Color:

Blend file:
overlay_tangent_space_normalmaps.blend (687.0 KB)

I don’t know where did you get this formula, but it doesn’t give me any good results… :frowning:
The nodegroup I posted above, which is a quaternion rotation explained here, works better.

Then you’re not using it right or copied it wrong. See my attached file in my previous post. I’ve been using this successfully for years in Blender. The math is from Unreal 4’s Blend Angle Corrected Normals node.

Ohhh my bad, i build it wrong :blush: … now it’s giving something similar to what I was expecting.
It also makes the overlayed normal texture a bit sharper than the original… Might be usefull for some textures. :slight_smile:
Thanks for sharing it :wink:

@helluvamesh @Secrop

Can one of you please send me an example file with a high poly (sculpted) and low poly model (non sculpted + painted) please? I’m really trying to bake painted details + sculpted details onto one normal map however everything I am trying does not work. I’ve spent the last 3 days looking online and the only thing I can find is tutorials on baking the high to low poly, however, I need that + the painted texture. I’m still new to blender so the info posted above confused me even more.


  1. Get a normalmap by baking Selected To Active (high-poly to low-poly) and save it into an image file. That part you know.
  2. Get another normalmap by baking with Selected to Active turned off, only the low-poly is selected now. Save this normalmap into an image file, too. This is the detail normalmap.
  3. Overlay the two normalmaps.
    3.1. Duplicate the low-poly mesh and remove all materials from it.
    3.2. Open the blend file I posted above and rename the material named “Material” to sg like “Overlay Normalmaps” for easier recognition.
    3.3. Append this material into your working file.
    3.4. Assign that material to the duplicated low-poly mesh. This should be the only material on your mesh.
    3.5. Assign the normalmap from point 1 to the upper image texture, assign the normalmap from point 2 to the lower texture.
    3.6. Add a new image texture to the material and make it the only selected node.
    3.7. Make the duplicate low-poly mesh the only selected object and bake with Selected to Active turned off. This is your final normalmap.

Making some progress here but I’m failing at the last part (I think)

Here is what I got so far.

Sculpted Normal Map Step 1

Paint Related Normal Map Step 2

Attempt 1 at baking (I baked with clear turned on)

Result: Nothing

Attempt 2 created a fresh image to bake on and baked with clear turned off

Result: Nothing

What am I doing wrong here?

Why don’t you just post your blend file so I can take a look.

Things to check:

  • Did you save each texture to a separate image?
  • Are you baking to a new image every time. Aren’t you overriding previous images?