I have a medium complexity architectural type project, and I want to drive a camera around it to make an animation, so baking the walls, floors, fixtures, is important to allow reasonable rendering times.
I feel I understand how to use baking, using Blender Guru’s method, and I’ve tried a couple of baking tools, but they all have a severe problem: After you finish baking, the UV Maps of all objects are all changed and are now pointing to the Texture Atlas(es). I want to be able to go back and adjust the lighting or move walls, and re-bake again. But since the UV Maps are no longer pointing to the original textures, this is not possible.
My approach involves making a second UV Map and keeping it associated with the Texture Atlas. Every material has a final specially named Mix Shader in front of the Material Output. I feed the Texture Atlas to an Emission Shader and then two one of the Mix Shader inputs. The other Mix Shader input is connected to the original object Texture. With a Python script, I switch all of the Mix Shaders in the project to either use the Baked Texture atlas, or the original object textures when I want to rebake everything. Then I can switch back.
This does work, but seems cumbersome. I am finding it hard to believe that when the thousands of Blender users do their bakes, that they NEVER want to go back and rebake with the original textures.
How do Blender users handle the need to go back and rebake textures? Does the world need ANOTHER plugin to handle baking like this?