How Do You Get a High Res Clean Bake

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Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
So I've been working on this spaceship for a little while now. I finished the high and low poly and went on to the baking process.

I tried just doing one 2048x2048 normal bake, but it turned out with insufficient resolution. So I decided to split the mesh into two major pieces and I redid the uv's, and baked from there. It's quality is significantly better, but it still of leaves something to be desired.

Is there anything else I can do to get more detail out of my high poly and onto my low poly?

High Poly:
V6tIhjS.jpg

First Low Poly:
VDDvQ6o.png

Latest Low Poly:
Sg8yyeX.png

Normal Maps:
O4x22n8.jpg
2CeJ207.jpg

Replies

  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    Well, first you need to address all of the shading errors on your model. What application are you using to bake? Are you using a cage? are you putting hard edges on UV seams?
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 3
    What are you rendering in? What are you using to bake your normals?
  • JustMeSR
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    JustMeSR polycounter lvl 2
    Tried making cage? (Also Some Autodesk programs use "different normals" than the ones xNormal generates, so you may want to change software if that's case)

    Some splits seem to be at udesired places (windshield) - where you want smooth transition.

    Splitting UV islands at sharp edges results in better edges in normals.

    Also you may want to check out You're making me hard. Making sense of hard edges, uvs, normal maps and vertex counts and Understanding averaged normals and ray projection/Who put waviness in my normal map? threads.

    (Where did that crack from windshield go?!)
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 3
    Yeah, I was wondering the same thing about the windshield crack.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    ZacD - I'm using xnormal to bake a object space normal, then using handplane to generate a normal map. I'm not using a cage. I am putting hard edges on UV seams. I don't know how I missed those shading errors. Sorry for letting them pass through. I will work on correcting them. Thank you for pointing them out.

    JedTheKrampus - I'm rendering in marmoset. I don't think it's the render. The error is 100% on my end. I'm really looking for advice on how to go about correcting my mistakes so I can learn the right way to go about this.

    JustMeSR - Thanks for the links! The crack in the windshield is actually from a slightly older render. Everything else is exactly the same though. That said I was in a rush when I threw made this thread but I've replaced the image with the proper render.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD greentooth
    Also what application are you using to display the low poly with the normal map? You should still be using a cage, xnormal works a lot better with them.
  • Obscura
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    Obscura polycounter
    Maybe some people won't agree with this, and generally its not an established custom (maybe it will be used more in the next generations?), but actually you could save yourself from a lot if headache, and probably it would look the same easily, if you would give it more polygons, and wouldn't use normalmap for shape shading(no bake from full highpoly model), just for the surface/details. Then you don't have to worry about any normalmap issues...

    - Your normalmap doesn't do too much, except the lowpoly shadoing, and a few small surface damages by the way, so then (I think) you actually don't really need it.
    Instead, you can make a few damages and shapes that you want to normalmap, and bake a normalmap from that.

    If you don't have any hard limit then I would simply recommend this. :poly121:
    At least in the case of your model, or when the baked normalmap wouldn't do too much.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    ZacD - I am using marmoset to display the low poly with the normal maps. I will make a cage for the low poly and re-bake the normal maps. Thank you for the advice. I'll get up some renders asap to make comparisons.

    Obscura - Thanks for throwing in your opinion. I'll definitely consider just getting rid of the baked normal map altogether. In the end the polygon count is a sort of hard limit, but your definitely right in that the high poly doesn't have a lot of detail that couldn't just be achieved with texturing. Although, I would like achieve a clean bake, just to get the practice in. Either way thanks for your input!

    Also I decided to re-render the high poly in so there will be less confusion about the cracked windshield. Thanks again for all your replies!

    V6tIhjS.jpg
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    After making the cage I got a super clean bake. Thanks so much guys for taking the time posting and helping me out.

    What do you guys think of it?

    low poly with normal being displayed in marmoset:
    bxQ6BfI.png
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 11
    The bake looks pretty clean, but is hard to tell with such a matte material. If you really want to scrutinize a bake then you should toss a dark diffuse/high spec material on your model and see if the surfaces hold up.

    Outside of the bake though, your xnormal wear and tear, combined with the chunkiness of the model sell this as a stone surface rather then metal.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for the tip Quack! I'll do that to make sure everything looks good.

    You're totally right though in regards to the chunkiness. The person I'm making the model for really wanted that kind of stone-like look to it. If it were my choice I would have added panels, dialed the chunky damage back, and added more micro damage to the ship.

    Thanks for taking the time to post Quack! and I'll test out the high spec and dark diffuse materials to see how it looks.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks again everybody for the help! I changed the diffuse to a darker tone, and made the surface glossier. I think it still holds up very well, and it's far easier to read.

    Thanks again for the tips Quack!

    2qIyrPx.png
  • JedTheKrampus
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    JedTheKrampus polycounter lvl 3
    It looks like there are still some tangent space sync issues, especially here:

    xLdP2xR.png

    What tangent basis have you got Toolbag set to use for this model? Are you also using the same tangent basis when you export from Handplane?
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 11
    Jack M. wrote: »
    Thanks again everybody for the help! I changed the diffuse to a darker tone, and made the surface glossier. I think it still holds up very well, and it's far easier to read.

    Thanks again for the tips Quack!

    2qIyrPx.png

    This particular issue shows that you didn't triangulate the model before you baked. So your triangle direction has changed from your baking app to your display app. This causes the typical "X" shaped error.

    Easy fix, force triangulate your model before export, rebake the normal map and reload the model with the new forced triangulation.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Quack! - I checked "triangulate mesh" in the .obj export options, but maybe that didn't do the trick. I'll try to manually triangulate, and then re-bake to see if I get the same shading error. Thanks for the suggestion, and I'll get the render of the pre-triangulated mesh up asap!

    JedTheKrampus - I flipped the y channel a couple times to make sure it was displaying correctly. If that's not what you're referring too please correct me on that. Thanks for the input!
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks again everyone for all your helping comments.

    Quack! - Your fix worked flawlessly! Here is the updated mesh, and I'm very happy with the result.

    qAQBP3X.png
  • [HP]
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    [HP] polycounter lvl 9
    Obscura wrote: »
    Maybe some people won't agree with this, and generally its not an established custom (maybe it will be used more in the next generations?), but actually you could save yourself from a lot if headache, and probably it would look the same easily, if you would give it more polygons, and wouldn't use normalmap for shape shading(no bake from full highpoly model), just for the surface/details. Then you don't have to worry about any normalmap issues...

    - Your normalmap doesn't do too much, except the lowpoly shadoing, and a few small surface damages by the way, so then (I think) you actually don't really need it.
    Instead, you can make a few damages and shapes that you want to normalmap, and bake a normalmap from that.

    If you don't have any hard limit then I would simply recommend this. :poly121:
    At least in the case of your model, or when the baked normalmap wouldn't do too much.

    +1
  • Bek
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    Bek polycounter lvl 5
    Obscura wrote: »
    Maybe some people won't agree with this.
    Eh. I think it's interesting to see what you can do, buuut if you're going to be using a normal map anyway, might as well get the most use out of it, no? It's a pretty case-by-case consideration though... in production you might really need the time you save. In a portfolio piece, perhaps not.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    In this particular case I had to make this in less than 10k polys, and as a result I thought it would be best to try and bake down from a high poly to make sure I got all of the curves correct in the smoothing.

    Do you guys think it would have been better to still do no high poly? If I didn't do a high poly, is there a particularly good way to maintain the curves that I was trying to attain through the high to low poly bake without increasing polycount too much?
  • dzibarik
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    dzibarik polycounter lvl 4
    What a nice bake. Inspiring.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Hey, I just wanted to personally thank each one of you for being so helpful.

    ZacD - Thanks for bringing the baking cage to my attention. That made a huge improvement!

    JustMeSR - Thanks for the tips and the links. They will be invaluable as I move advance in 3d modeling and texturing.

    Obscura - Thanks for posting your opinion on my workflow. In the future I will most definitely keep this in mind if not just to save a lot of time by bypassing the high poly > baking workflow while maintaining a high level of quality.

    Quack! - You are a lifesaver! Thank you for taking the time to post and helping me get this bake as clean as possible. I honestly never even knew about the triangulation shading issues before doing this.

    JedTheKrampus - Thanks for your input! I went through some of your suggestions and in the end I was actually getting the y normal direction in marmoset incorrect. I initially thought it was correct, but after re-baking and some closer inspection after looking at your comment I did have it flipped incorrectly. Thanks for taking the time to help me!

    [HP] - The fact you have graced my thread with a post will fuel my 3d endeavors for weeks to come. Thanks for posting!

    Bek - Thanks for posting!

    dzibarik - Thanks!
  • Obscura
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    Obscura polycounter
    Jack M. wrote: »
    Obscura - Thanks for posting your opinion on my workflow. In the future I will most definitely keep this in mind if not just to save a lot of time by bypassing the high poly > baking workflow while maintaining a high level of quality.

    You can have high level of quality without baking. There is no always need for baking. There is a thread about this somewhere here btw. I see this "no hp no baking workflow" in a few new games, especially in racing games. The reason for doing this is that they already have enough polygons on their cars to get good shading without normalmaps, and the only thing that would do anything in the normalmao if they would use it is the edge smoothness which can be easily faked with chamfers/support loops. From here, they have good lowpoly shading because of the enough geo, smooth edges because of extra geo, and now there is nothing that should be normalmapped (I'm talking about the plating). Hopefully now it makes sense better. Bek was right, and this is really case dependant, but there can be a lot of cases when you can get the same quality easily without making hp and baking. In production work, you will almost always have to be fast and efficient, and this can be a good compromise often, because you can save a lot of time with this, and the quality can be the same.

    - My another personal opinion about this whole question is that when people trying to learn this normalmap/lowpoly thing, almost the only thing that they can find on the internet is the "robotic", simple answer that says "always make hp, make lp, and bake a normalmap if you want to get high quality", and there is no detailed answer/description about different cases (there can be many different cases), and what to do if/when... The real answer is different from this, because there are many factors that can determine what would be better way in the given case. In the previous generations (years back) you had lower polygon budget, and yes, you almost always had to use full bakes, because the models were too lowpoly go have decent shading. But nowadays there is actually almost "no polybudget". I say no polybudget because it can be reallh high even in console games (look at the articles about the new games-polybudget-methods in it) and now it is easy to make the models look good even without normalmap because of that really high polybudget. But. The reality is still more complicated because there are various platforms/requirements that are varying along the different clients. Experience in the different cases,experience in production work, and a lot of search on the internet will give you the detailed answers about everything. Unfortunately experience is really needed in a question regarding efficiency/speed/quality which are important factors in production work.

    The problem with the lack of experience in the different approaches/cases, and the learned by rote "simply bake" thing gets revealed when a "beginner" artist gets into the industry, and he meet with a case when he should do it in a different way. Then sometimes he will get hard time to really understand what to do and how, because the "general rule" (bake) can go against the new case/solution. This can really slow things down and it can make you confused.
    This comes from that when he or she worked on his or her portfolio to get a job in the industry later, he or she tried/used/learned only the "general method", which really doesn't cover everything. This is bad in my opinion.


    Then it will look like what you learned is wrong, or at least it didn't showed you the full answer.

    I was also in the same shoes earlier but luckily the experience after time and some kind people opened my eyes, and it worth because now I can work a lot faster and I can be more efficient, and last, but not least, I can work alone easily without questions, after getting the description of what I should do. Clients are satisfied, they don't have to take time to tech me, so its good to everybody.


    - To make it clear, I don't say that there is no need for baking. I'm just saying that it really depends that how you should make things, and there are ways to do things other than always just baking everything, and people should know about these. It is more complicated then always simply baking everything. Hopefully people won't get me wrong, I'm just trying to lit to that the conclusion from what you can usually see, is that people should think about the really important things too like the speed/efficiency, and not always following the "general rules" blindly, because the reality is different from that.
  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody interpolator
    Obscura wrote: »
    You can have high level of quality without baking. There is no always need for baking. There is a thread about this somewhere here btw. I see this "no hp no baking workflow" in a few new games, especially in racing games. The reason for doing this is that they already have enough polygons on their cars to get good shading without normalmaps, and the only thing that would do anything in the normalmao if they would use it is the edge smoothness which can be easily faked with chamfers/support loops.

    Racing games generally never have bakes on car body panels. The issue isn't because of workflow or time savings. The issue is that normal maps lack the precisions to make totally clean reflections on something like a car. You need a fairly high texel density to represent all those small panel gaps well and if you are stuck using 16 bit normal maps to reduce banding the texture files become huge. Also, 16 bit normals aren't completely clean and the reflections often still show some noise.

    Aside from car modeling- I have used the workflow you are describing and it is very good in some circumstances. However, most newly developed games involve a zbrush pass on the majority of assets and as a result bakes become 100% required.


    Also, baking from high poly source isn't just about getting normals. Baking lighting info, material masks, or vertex colors from the high poly source is huge.
  • Jack M.
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    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Hey everybody, here's the final textured version of the spaceship. There are some things we would have liked to have done differently with the colors, but that's what the client wanted.

    Also I can in no way take credit for the texturing. The texturing was done by a coworker of mine Ali: http://www.artbyalireza.portfoliobox.me/

    Final:
    http://i.imgur.com/j4aFTi8.jpg
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