Understanding averaged normals and ray projection/Who put waviness in my normal map?

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  • Bal
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    Bal polycounter lvl 12
    Personally i dislike the dark edges you get on the rim of the object more where the baked normals thats shouldn't be visible are visible, but thats a matter of taste i guess.

    You get dark edges in your 3D viewer, but once in game with a proper environement and lighting, it's rarely noticeable in my opinion, but yeah matter of taste. :)
  • killnpc
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    killnpc polycounter lvl 6
    ajr2764, start your own thread, you cretin.
  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 10
    PDF'ed up the wazoo.
  • DLoud
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    DLoud polycounter lvl 11
    Good stuff here Earthquake
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Nice one Lamont!

    And bloody nice one EQ! Cheers for sticking around and expanding on some of this stuff as well! Great thread!

    I know I've heard alot of this stuff before in bits and pieces, but I'd still not corrected my workflow properly. What you mentioned about 'bake and forget' - getting it right with the mesh and avoiding problems latter - really rung true!
  • EarthQuake
    This was some great information. I am still a rookie at modeling, high to low poly modeling in particular and I noticed that you mentioned creating a "model for your low", which I assume is a thread similar to this or perhaps a tutorial. Regardless, I'm having difficulty finding it. Could you post a link please? I would love to read it.

    Sorry, there is not a thread for this, and it is not "a model" but "Modeling for your low". What this means is that we plan and model our highpoly giving lots of consideration to how the final lowpoly will be constructed.
    Tickwomp wrote: »
    Ugh, been looking through simlar normal map threads to figure out what the hell is going on whenever I have to bake stuff; this sums it up nicely. I do have a question about this specific example though. Is it safe to say that the waviness is less in the far right cylinder because shape of the cylinder matches closer to the high poly? The top edge also looks nicer than I've ever been able to achieve; is that only from averaging the normals of the cage and having more sides?

    Well, two things.

    Averaged cage normals cause waviness, not "help" them, you may want to re-read the first posts a little there.

    Secondly, yes it is simply because there are more sides. The more accurately we can match the highpoly with our low, the less difference there is between the models when the rays look out at that skewed angle.
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    EarthQuake wrote: »

    Oh, and another thing. Even if your lowpoly's normals look like A, your Cage/Projection mesh normals look like B. That is unless of course your bake is set up poorly(either using "offset" in max, match using "surface normals" in maya, or using the ray distance in XN instead of a proper, welded cage). If your cage is not averaged, you will get seams on all of your hard edges, as the normals will be facing perpendictular along those edges, and cause gaps in the projection.
    waviness07.jpg

    Great that was what I was looking for. Though I ran into a problem here.

    Blender is stupid and has no smooth groups, so I have to split the faces manually to 'emulate' that.

    That results in a difference in the vertex count of the low and the cage when I weld it back together for an averaged cage.

    What do I do now :( Use max for setting up smooth groups?
  • EarthQuake
    HAL wrote: »
    Great that was what I was looking for. Though I ran into a problem here.

    Blender is stupid and has no smooth groups, so I have to split the faces manually to 'emulate' that.

    That results in a difference in the vertex count of the low and the cage when I weld it back together for an averaged cage.

    What do I do now :( Use max for setting up smooth groups?

    Use Max, Maya or Xnormal(you will still have to export from Max or Maya, or any other app that supports proper custom normals without physically splitting edges, XSI, new Modo? etc). That is really a huge deal breaker if you dont have proper smoothing groups/hard edges.
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    hmm thats what I suspected, I hoped that there would be a workaround or something but mehh ;D

    thank you for clearing this up!
  • EarthQuake
    HAL wrote: »
    hmm thats what I suspected, I hoped that there would be a workaround or something but mehh ;D

    thank you for clearing this up!

    Depending on what you're doing, Max/Maya are going to be vastly superior baking wise to blender anyway. If you're doing portfolio work you're going to want the most accurate tangent basis display, and you'll only find that in Maya, or in 3ds Max with 3ps shader quality mode(or the latest 2011 version with the QM fixes).

    If you're exporting to an engine with broken tangent space(read: most) its less of an issue.
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    Since I am doing this mostly for myself this (read: it should look as nice as possible), you are right I need to switch tools I guess, I have been baking in xnormal so far with ray measurement :poly122:

    e:// Low to max-> smoothgroups -> then baking did it :)

    Thanks!
  • Dudestein
    EarthQuake wrote: »
    Oh, and another thing. Even if your lowpoly's normals look like A, your Cage/Projection mesh normals look like B. That is unless of course your bake is set up poorly(either using "offset" in max, match using "surface normals" in maya, or using the ray distance in XN instead of a proper, welded cage). If your cage is not averaged, you will get seams on all of your hard edges, as the normals will be facing perpendictular along those edges, and cause gaps in the projection.
    waviness07.jpg

    @EarthQuake: Thanks for taking the time to share this information, that's really awesome of you man.

    The normals for the lowpoly examples on the left look really sharp, which I'm under the impression is not a good thing. Regardless of what the cage looks like, you should average the normals for the lowpoly, otherwise when you go to project the normal map back on to it, you'll get waviness, yes?

    Also, on an area where you actually want a hard edge effect, that's where splitting up your smoothing groups in Max (hard edged normals in Maya), as well as using supporting edge loops, comes into play. Correct?

    Are you aware of a script that will create hard normal edges out of UV island borders in Max?
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    HAL wrote: »
    Great that was what I was looking for. Though I ran into a problem here.

    Blender is stupid and has no smooth groups, so I have to split the faces manually to 'emulate' that.

    That results in a difference in the vertex count of the low and the cage when I weld it back together for an averaged cage.

    What do I do now :( Use max for setting up smooth groups?

    Are you splitting the verts manually (Y hotkey)?

    Blender uses a similar hard edge system to Maya and you can export without manually splitting the verts.
    Just mark the hard edges and use the EdgeSplit Modifier with "From Marked As Sharp" on.
    On export though, both smoothing groups and hard edges will have the same effect as you are just splitting the mesh anyway.
    But, yea. Blenders baking is really bad. No cages or AA baking :/
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    Are you splitting the verts manually (Y hotkey)?

    Blender uses a similar hard edge system to Maya and you can export without manually splitting the verts.
    Just mark the hard edges and use the EdgeSplit Modifier with "From Marked As Sharp" on.
    On export though, both smoothing groups and hard edges will have the same effect as you are just splitting the mesh anyway.
    But, yea. Blenders baking is really bad. No cages or AA baking :/

    wait that edge thingy does the same like smoothgroups? Great to know...... thank you very much!
    And no, I dont bake in blender I dumped that 2 years ago when it sucked XD
    I use xnormal for my bakes.
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    Yea, its the same thing :)
    And i stopped using Blender for baking and swapped to xNormal a while back too ^^
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    Great news that solves my dilemma^^
  • EarthQuake
    You should be able to export that mesh, go into xnormal's 3d viewer, set up a cage so you have an averaged cage. This is a pain in the ass tho. =P

    The default/no cage method will use the lowpoly's mesh normals, where the cage will use an averaged projection mesh... You used to have to manually "weld" it in XN but i dont know if this is still the case.
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    EarthQuake wrote: »
    You should be able to export that mesh, go into xnormal's 3d viewer, set up a cage so you have an averaged cage. This is a pain in the ass tho. =P

    The default/no cage method will use the lowpoly's mesh normals, where the cage will use an averaged projection mesh... You used to have to manually "weld" it in XN but i dont know if this is still the case.

    Yeah it really is a pain in the ass :P I probably will stick to the blender->max-> xnormal pipeline. Or I learn how to bake in max :)
    Yea, its the same thing
    And i stopped using Blender for baking and swapped to xNormal a while back too ^^

    Hm I had hoped that this would be the solution for my problem but upon trying it I noticed that it does the same what I did manually before.

    So there's still the 'vertex count differs in cage and lowpoly' message in xnormal.

    Conclusion: Exporting from blender for baking sucks balls since that averaged cage wont work due to the afore mentioned issues.

    meh.
  • EarthQuake
    HAL wrote: »
    Yeah it really is a pain in the ass :P I probably will stick to the blender->max-> xnormal pipeline. Or I learn how to bake in max :)

    Just learn how to bake in max, and use max shaders for texturing, much better options here than in blender or anywhere else, and with the latest max, or 3ps shader, you get accurate normals, which you wont get baking in XN and then sending to max/anything else.
  • HAL
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    HAL polycounter lvl 8
    Will do, thanks both of you, I learned a lot in this thread!
  • Bal
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    Bal polycounter lvl 12
    My problem with using Maya or Max for baking is handling very large files (=sculpted meshes). It's all fine when I'm just baking sub-d models like weapons and such, but for full characters it's just such a hassle to import 2-3gb worth of OBJs into Maya or Max and handle renders with such huge files (which xN handles just fine).

    I also find it really annoying to bake ambient occlusion in Maya, xN is so much faster and results seem better most of the time.

    Any insight into these issues?
  • EarthQuake
    Bal: use some sort of polycruncher to get rid of excess geometry?

    Also, when I bake in maya, I do my AO in XN. Maya is retardly slow(single threaded) and, as of 2008 which is what I used, cant even bake proper AO from high to low. So, I simply run XN on 3 cores when i'm baking normals in Maya on 1 core, AO takes about as long in XN as the normal map + RGB map in maya.
  • Bal
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    Bal polycounter lvl 12
    Yeah, decimating could be a solution, but it complicates the process, and is not ideal when you have polypaint on your meshes for base textures (which I bake in xN anyways so isn't a problem, but it still means I'd need to export two sets of high poly objects, one decimated for Maya, and not the other for xN). Still I'll try with Maya again, maybe have the whole high poly in a separate .mb file (bit lighter), that I'd import as reference in my .ma for the bake...

    Where's xNormal 4 with full tangent basis choice and complexe project setups to launch multiple queued bakes? :D
  • EarthQuake
    Generally with organics, having the most accurately synced tangent basis is less of an issue. Hard surface stuff it becomes much more important. So, maybe its just not a big deal for those sort of meshes.
  • konstruct
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    konstruct polycounter lvl 13
    EQ sucks.
  • ENODMI
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    ENODMI polycounter lvl 9
    Ha, yeah EQ, shape up or ship out.
  • Millenia
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    Millenia Polycount Sponsor
    May I bear your children EarthQuake? :3
  • SpeCter
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    SpeCter polycounter lvl 9
    May i eat them afterwards?
  • Stromberg90
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    Stromberg90 polycounter lvl 8
    I just want to have he's brain in a jar :)

    Great thread, love reading you technical posts ;)
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    HAL wrote: »
    Yeah it really is a pain in the ass :P I probably will stick to the blender->max-> xnormal pipeline. Or I learn how to bake in max :)



    Hm I had hoped that this would be the solution for my problem but upon trying it I noticed that it does the same what I did manually before.

    So there's still the 'vertex count differs in cage and lowpoly' message in xnormal.

    Conclusion: Exporting from blender for baking sucks balls since that averaged cage wont work due to the afore mentioned issues.

    meh.
    Using an external cage file in xNormal requires that the cage has identical topology to the LP mesh, so im not sure the best way to tackle this tbh.
    Beg someone to enable the exportation of custom normals in Blender?
    Bal wrote: »
    My problem with using Maya or Max for baking is handling very large files (=sculpted meshes). It's all fine when I'm just baking sub-d models like weapons and such, but for full characters it's just such a hassle to import 2-3gb worth of OBJs into Maya or Max and handle renders with such huge files (which xN handles just fine).

    I also find it really annoying to bake ambient occlusion in Maya, xN is so much faster and results seem better most of the time.

    Any insight into these issues?
    Do the HP files have UVs? This can make for insane file sizes.
    Also triangulating your mesh before import into xNormal, allows you to use a higher polycount as it doesnt have to compute that step. :)
  • Bal
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    Bal polycounter lvl 12
    Do the HP files have UVs? This can make for insane file sizes.
    Also triangulating your mesh before import into xNormal, allows you to use a higher polycount as it doesnt have to compute that step. :)
    Nah, no UVs, I always delete them because Zbrush often crashes on export when there are some wacked UVs. There's vertex colour though, that's pretty heavy as well. I've always exported quads from ZB, but I never have any probs loading the files in xN (I have plenty of ram), but I'll switch to tris I guess if it makes loading them faster.
  • fattkid
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    fattkid polycounter lvl 10
    Hey EQ, thanks for the info. Really appreciated.

    I think I just learned something, but I could use some clarification. Regarding cages:

    I've never really used cages before, not really understanding the advantage to them. I have always used the Offset parameter in Max of Ray Distance in XN for my bakes.
    I have mostly done organic/character type models, so needing a cage was perhaps less obvious?

    Looking at your example of the low res cylinder with the hard edges/smoothing groups, and the accompanying cage with averaged normals, I think I realize the importance of the cage.

    The averaged cage will have a more complete and accurate result, as the rays being cast will be hitting the 90 degree hard edge at the averaged/45 degree angle as well, that the Offset/Ray Distance method will miss, due to it's using the low res meshes assigned hard edges/smoothing groups normals (that are perpendicular to the surface/hard edge) when calculating, and there will essentially be a "gap" in the ray cast between the hard edges/smoothing groups normals/ray cast calculations.

    Am I understanding this correctly?
  • Super Happy Cow
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    Super Happy Cow polycounter lvl 6
    EarthQuake wrote: »
    Exactly, this is pretty much the evolution of my methods as well. When I started doing normal map stuff, oh about 7 years ago, it was an absolute mess. I had no idea what I was doing, no concept of how any of it worked and I would just throw random stuff together and hope it worked, painfully editing the results at the end when it didn't. The more you work the more you learn, and you realize that all of these problems are caused.... By you! Not because the software is bad(with the exception of smoothing errors, this is bad software 99% of the time). So, you can develop a wide array of methods to work, most of them taking the same amount of time, and producing a better result, and often cleaner and more efficient meshes as well.

    Rework is my biggest enemy, and if I do need to make changes(as I do fairly often) I want it to be as painless as possible. So I always try to model "bake it and forget" types of meshes, that require little/no cleanup/rework. To me, when I bake the mesh, I'm done! Aside from tweaking AO wierdness or other such things.

    Yeah. I'm almost to a point where if I have to rework something, I'm just going to scrap the project. I have "mad" skills re-tetrising UVs that are already baked and textured, re-rigging things then fixing animations, or just re-building half broken meshes. But that's not what I want to do professionally.
  • EarthQuake
  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody sublime tool
    if you don't need to turbosmooth your cylindrical shapes, then dont't! you're not getting anything out of baking a highres cylinder to a low res cylinder, other than wobbly shapes in your normal maps edges, ...


    This is too general and not really correct. You can absolutely get better smoothing around the cylinder with a good bake.
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    if you don't need to turbosmooth your cylindrical shapes, then dont't! you're not getting anything out of baking a highres cylinder to a low res cylinder, other than wobbly shapes in your normal maps edges, ...
    AlecMoody wrote: »
    This is too general and not really correct. You can absolutely get better smoothing around the cylinder with a good bake.

    Keep in mind that with per-pixel shading you get good shading on simple geometric objects without a normal map.

    reference:
    vertex shading:
    Render1_DX9.jpg

    fragment shading:
    Render1_SM3.jpg

    example pics from http://loicbaumann.fr/?p=137&lang=en
  • Stromberg90
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    Stromberg90 polycounter lvl 8
    Finaly this is a sticky.

    Great that you are sharing you knowledge EQ :)
  • EarthQuake
    fattkid wrote: »
    Hey EQ, thanks for the info. Really appreciated.

    I think I just learned something, but I could use some clarification. Regarding cages:

    I've never really used cages before, not really understanding the advantage to them. I have always used the Offset parameter in Max of Ray Distance in XN for my bakes.
    I have mostly done organic/character type models, so needing a cage was perhaps less obvious?

    Looking at your example of the low res cylinder with the hard edges/smoothing groups, and the accompanying cage with averaged normals, I think I realize the importance of the cage.

    The averaged cage will have a more complete and accurate result, as the rays being cast will be hitting the 90 degree hard edge at the averaged/45 degree angle as well, that the Offset/Ray Distance method will miss, due to it's using the low res meshes assigned hard edges/smoothing groups normals (that are perpendicular to the surface/hard edge) when calculating, and there will essentially be a "gap" in the ray cast between the hard edges/smoothing groups normals/ray cast calculations.

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    Yes, to break it down into very simple terms, an averaged cage is a "seamless" cage. If that helps.
  • Super Happy Cow
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    Super Happy Cow polycounter lvl 6
    But why am I sticky? Awwwww!

    Actually, I still don't get how a cage is supposed to work on an object with smooth groups or split edges if the cage is then supposed to be completely smoothed. The topology is different and causes XN errors. Waaaaa!!
  • metalliandy
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    metalliandy greentooth
    HAL wrote: »
    Yeah it really is a pain in the ass :P I probably will stick to the blender->max-> xnormal pipeline. Or I learn how to bake in max



    Hm I had hoped that this would be the solution for my problem but upon trying it I noticed that it does the same what I did manually before.

    So there's still the 'vertex count differs in cage and lowpoly' message in xnormal.

    Conclusion: Exporting from blender for baking sucks balls since that averaged cage wont work due to the afore mentioned issues.

    meh.

    I figured out a fix for this issue yesterday. :)

    1. Add the EdgeSplit modifier to your model, after marking the sharp edges but dont apply it yet.
    2. Duplicate your mesh and scale the whole object along the normals as you would a cage.
    3. Apply the EdgeSplit to both models.
    4. Export your HP, LP and the cage mesh.
    5. Use the cage mesh as the external cage.
    6. Bake!.
    Baked with xNormal and hard edges with an external cage for each model.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2057427/Polycount/Blender%20Normals.7z

    Normal_test-1.jpg

    Cube_normals.jpg


    Cylinder_normals.jpg
  • EarthQuake
    But why am I sticky? Awwwww!

    Actually, I still don't get how a cage is supposed to work on an object with smooth groups or split edges if the cage is then supposed to be completely smoothed. The topology is different and causes XN errors. Waaaaa!!


    I'm not sure how XN reads the normals when loading an external cage, however, this is an XN issue if it doesnt work correctly. =)
  • EarthQuake
    Some carry-over from another thread( http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=81116 )
    Not really, the roundness of the shape from a baking perspective is conveyed perfectly by the smoothing of the object, without pushing it into a shape that does not match your lowres. Your highres mesh need only be high poly enough to convey the shapes you ACTUALLY need to transfer, in this case the roundness of the wheel well need not be transferred it will be conveyed perfectly by the smoothing of the low poly irregardless.

    Smoothing it would only yield missed rays and wobbly normal maps.

    Example:

    Normalmapbakes.jpg


    EarthQuake wrote: »
    Alright, to put the matter to rest once and for all, here are a few more tests, in a realsitic(and very similar to this) situation.

    A. High res modeled with details that "match" the roundness of the low(without treads)
    B. High res modeled with details that "match" the roundness of the low(with treads)
    C. High res modeled to look good(without treads)
    D. High res modeled to look good(with treads)

    I've included the without tread versions because the outer shape gets the same result with treads, as the roundness comes from the treads themselves.
    wheeltest01.jpg

    wires:
    wheeltest03.jpg

    bakes:
    wheeltest03.jpg
    wheeltest04.jpg
    wheeltest05.jpg
    wheeltest06.jpg

    So, i'de like someone to explain to me how this "not smoothing" method makes anything better, in these examples every aspect of that method looks worse, and only helps to accentuate the jaggedness of the low res model. Even at accute angles where there should be a big advantage, this method seems to look worse.

    So, my conclusion here, is this method is of such limited use that is a huge waste of time to even bother doing. In addition to looking worse, modeling like this is a pain in the ass, and more destructive than keeping a nice clean sub-d mesh, which is easier to edit.
  • Tickwomp
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    Tickwomp polycounter lvl 7
    Thanks for all the testing & information. I feel less retarded since reading this thread (and the other one); up til now I've been baking with hit or miss results.
  • krisCrash
    So what this and other normal map threads have taught me:

    This thread: On your low poly, it's typically better to spend geo on curvature than details like bevels and ridges; to not underestimage your normal map's ability to fake these.
    My own observation: And again for the low; smoothing group splits will prevent the applied normal map from doing its magic. I have taken to putting everything on 1 group and just splitting any edges I seriously want hard before exporting to engine, and only those edges that also coincide with an UV split (but not every edge that is UV split). So what I did was hacking with some coloured lights and basically.. baking my smoothing groups to the normal map. So.. baking the low poly to itself (or a meshsmoothed copy of it). I should really look into a good method for that.
    Sure you can bake to a faceted low but the normal map will have to be so precise it's not even practical, given the different natures of pixels and edges.
  • aphexx
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    aphexx polycounter lvl 6
    that is valuable information! thank you for all the time and effort, earthquake!!
  • EarthQuake
    krisCrash wrote: »
    So what this and other normal map threads have taught me:

    This thread: On your low poly, it's typically better to spend geo on curvature than details like bevels and ridges; to not underestimage your normal map's ability to fake these.

    Yes, generally speaking, its better to use your geometry to support the larger shapes of your mesh, than the tiny little bevels. Adding bevels to the ends a cylinder for example can result in 3x the tri useage, so you might as well just fix your problems by adding more sides to it, as it will look better in the end as well.

    My own observation: And again for the low; smoothing group splits will prevent the applied normal map from doing its magic. I have taken to putting everything on 1 group and just splitting any edges I seriously want hard before exporting to engine, and only those edges that also coincide with an UV split (but not every edge that is UV split). So what I did was hacking with some coloured lights and basically.. baking my smoothing groups to the normal map. So.. baking the low poly to itself (or a meshsmoothed copy of it). I should really look into a good method for that.
    Sure you can bake to a faceted low but the normal map will have to be so precise it's not even practical, given the different natures of pixels and edges.

    I'm really confused here, baking low to low? What is the purpose of this?

    You can use hard edges/smoothing groups on your lowpoly without any problems, and with the exact same results as no hard edges if you simply follow these rules:

    A. Uv splits need to coincide with your hard edges
    B. Your cage needs to be averaged(this means, regardless of hard edges on your low).

    In addition to that, set up properly, there really are no "negatives" to using hard edges, as:
    A. It will result in the same seamless bake, when done properly
    B. When you have hard edges along uv splits, there is no jump in vertex count, these verts are doubled along your uv seams.
    C. Using hard edges can sometimes result in a cleaner normal map texture, and this means its easier to generate cavity maps from with less artifacts, as well as compressing better.


    So, because there really aren't any inherent "drawbacks" to using hard edges, provided your mesh is set up properly, there is no reason to avoid them or come up with weird-o crazy work flows to get around it. I just use a script in maya to assign hard edges to all of my uv splits, it takes 1 click of my mouse.
  • aphexx
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    aphexx polycounter lvl 6
    currently i bake my stuff with xnormal and one smoothgroup applied.
    i place here and there support edges where the angles are heavy.
    then use the sbm file format for the baking, where i tick the "export tangent basis" field.
    everything worked fine so far.
    we used the hard edge/uv seam workflow also for some time but found it to be more easy the other way.
    are there reasons to not use this workflow?
  • EarthQuake
    Well it depends. If your renderer and baker are synced up, as far as tangent basis goes(IE: 3ps quality mode in max, the latest 2011 max, Maya's baker and viewport display). Then using a minimum of hard edges is ideal, because it just "works" without thinking too much about it. However, since you're baking in XN, and XN isnt synced to anything we can assume that isn't the case.

    So, when dealing with a broken baking workflow, you have two basic ways to deal with smoothing errors;
    1. Add a bunch of geo and bevels and things to smooth out the lowpoly normals and make smoothing errors less noticeable(they will still be there however)
    2. Use hard edges to do the same

    #1 generally uses more geometry than #2, and doesn't really provide many benefits over #2 when both are done correctly.
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 9
    Amazing stuff EQ. Learned a tonne from it.
  • aphexx
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    aphexx polycounter lvl 6
    thanks mate for the quick answer.
    our renderer is our game engine. its inhouse so nothing well known.
    i also followed that discussion about synched baker and renderer and as i understood, it's always a problem no matter where you bake.
    is it in the end, that there will ALWAYS be errors, you just have to check what produces the less for your engine?
    or is the workflow with hard edges/uvchunks the ultimate one, which produces no errors at all?
    sorry for the noobish questions, but it appears to me that i dont understand some fundamentals
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