You did not miss any steps. The grey scale image that baked is the displacement map. What you may be missing is how displacement maps work when you render. In order for Displacement to work, you need to add more verts to your low poly mesh. That is to say, it either needs subdivided or to have a subsurf modifier added with a high render level. Here is what I get after adding subsurf render level 5 and maxing out the Disp value for your baked texture. (Note: also set both the high and low poly models to Smooth before baking and rendering.)
Thanks for the help. I’m glad I was on the right track.
I followed your suggestions and Set Smooth both the low poly and high poly before baking. The results were less bumpy that I would have liked, even at max Displacement, so I started over with Set Smooth only on the low poly and left the high poly alone when baking (I used an even higher poly count than my original .blend). Then I set Subsurf 5 to render. That seemed to give a better result.
My low poly object has 48 faces. Is that too low for a base mesh to bake on a lot of detail? Should I subdivide the base mesh more to start out?
What is a good resolution for the underlying color texture? In my original blend, I had scaled down the texture, but for these tests I used the full sized 2240x1680 image.
This time I also baked Normals. Is Tangent the correct setting for baking Normals?
In the texture settings I added the following. Are these the right settings?
Color texture (flat texture): Map Image: Camera
Displacement baked: Map Image: Tangent
Normal baked: Map Image: Tangent + Normal Map checked
For the Color texture, Map Input: I selected UV, the same as for the Normal and Displacement maps.
I set Map To: Displacement to 1.0 and Normal to 2. What is the normal range for these settings? Are these too low or high?
For these renders, I used both Displacement and Normal maps. I gather from your comments that I usually should just use one or the other.
I also wanted to see how these would look in the game engine. In the game engine, it looks like the base low-poly mesh with a flat texture. Is there something else I need to do so there will be more texture relief/definition closer to the look of the BI rendered version? Or is this a limitation of the game engine?
Also, I’m not sure if it’s a bug or not, but through all my testing with various options (mostly when I hit P to view in the game engine) I would sometimes lose some of my maps. I had to go back and reload the image maps a few times to get the 3D view and render to work properly again.
Here’s a quick test scene with a group of these baked objects.