I’m still kind of a newbie… What exactly in “texture baking”?
“Baking” generally refers to the process of recording as an image, some aspect of the Material or Mesh characteristics of a model. One value of this is that certain kinds of Material parameters can take longer to compute and apply to a model than an Image Texture, so it saves rendering time. Baking is usually done once a Material or Mesh is finalized.
In texture baking, for example, what is originally a procedural texture can be recorded as an image. Sometimes various “channels” of a material can be consolidated into a single image, simplifying the number of texture images used. Material colors applied in Texture Paint mode can be saved to an image. Texture baking can also help with disguising seams on a UV unwrap, a somewhat complicated but very useful process.
In normal baking, the mesh normals (which affect how light appears to reflect from the model’s surface) can be recorded – this results in very specialized images with RGB values based on normal vectors.
Usually baking requires having the model UV-unwrapped and -mapped, so the resulting image is properly fit to the model.
Just FYI, there are other types of “baking” employed in physics sims and animation, where the action of a mesh that is computed frame-by-frame by physics math (which can be very slow) is recorded (baked) to a set of keyframes that display much faster than the full sim. In NLA (non-linear animation), a sequence that is composed of many short “strips” of animation combined to produce a full sequence can be “baked” to a single set of composite keyframes.
very informative post… helps a lot…