To Bake or Not to Bake?

Quick question: I sell models on TS, and have for years. I make good money every month doing so. However, this question has always nagged at me.

Should I combine AO and diffuse maps, or leave them separate?

Pros of merging AO & diffuse:

  • Merging textures is more efficient.
  • The model is ready to use in a game

Pros of not merging AO & diffuse

  • Many objects in the same scene can use the same diffuse texture
  • Material is easily edited - diffuse texture can be replaced (flexibility)
  • Objects can take advantage of the greater resolution offered by tiling textures.

For the most part, I merge AO and diffuse on small props, and leave them separate on architecture, where tiling the diffuse is important.

Any thoughts? Remember, my objective here is to sell the items, not to use them in my own game.

I would make second uv layer for the AO, lightmap, what ever map, that way you will get to keep both pros.

Many formats supports multiple UVs so that should not be a problem either.

I think it’s a good idea to supply both versions. Failing that, I’d say don’t merge. It can be trivially done by whoever buys it.