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Baking GI Shadows into a Single Texture

By Lune Cheetah
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max
529_tid_10.jpg
Hello and welcome to this exercise about how to bake Global Illumination into just one texture. This is used mainly to import models to real-time 3D engines where objects have to be rendered at least 60 times per second.

Shadows in videogame engines are a very expensive process; however, if we bake the Global Illumination of an object in a texture then we can help out the engine and we can show better quality graphics!

I will use a 3 segmented teapot as a model; it's a low polygon model for videogames, so we'll stick to that rule for this tutorial (Fig.01).

529_tid_01.jpg
Fig. 01

The way of working the scene first is the same as if we are about to start work on any new scene; I downloaded 2 images from cgtextures.com, which is an excellent site for finding textures. I applied a brick material to the plane and a metal material to the teapot (Fig. 02)

529_tid_02.jpg
Fig. 02

This part of the tutorial depends on what result you're looking for, because this step is about giving illumination to the model. In my case I used V-Ray, and activated illumination global in the Renderer options, along with the GI environment option (skylight) (Fig.03).

529_tid_03.jpg
Fig. 03


The next step was to put an Omni light with "Vray shadows", activating the "area Shadow" option.

Before baking the illumination into a texture we must make renders, because the final render appearance will be the same as it will be when baking the textures (Fig.04a - c).

529_tid_04.jpg
Fig. 04a

529_tid_04b.jpg
Fig. 04b

529_tid_04c.jpg
Fig. 04c



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