What does "baking" mean?

im new to the 3d animation thing and i keep hearing about “baking” but i have no idea what it means.


It’s basically a transfer process: this to that. Works for more than just images such as baking a physics simulation to IPOs, etc.

Say you have an object. You add a texture. And another texture with displacement. A few lights to cast shadows. Then you turn on Ambient Occlusion.

Now, every time you render the scene, Blender has to calculate the texture, the displacement, the shadows, and Ambient Occlusion. This takes a while.

Say you get the first object just the way you like it, and are not going to change it any more. You add a second object and work with it. But every time you render the scene, Blender still does all that extra work for the first object even though nothing has changed.

Wouldn’t it be a vast savings of time if you could somehow store the work Blender does on the first object. This way, instead of wasting time re-calculating everything, Blender could instead quickly re-load the stored work.

This process is called Texture Baking.