Baking

This is the main tab/section of the add-on where the baking operator, baking type toggles, depth and sample settings can be found.

Let discuss the different operators, toggles and properties first before the technical aspect of the baking operation:

Bake

This executes the baking operation and bakes the texture maps with the bake types you have enabled. This operation requires a bake origin object and Cycles render enabled and selected in order to start.

This will bake the selected objects and needs a bake to origin object set in the Bake Origin property. It can be multiple objects or just the bake origin object.

If you are using the Bake To object, the baking will instead use that as the bake to object instead of creating a temporary bake to plane in script.

There's a rare occurence where the bake would just result to blank even though the same objects were baking fine moments ago. Applying the scale of the objects seems to fix this by using the hotkey Ctrl+A in object mode.

Size

The size of the bake to plane that also matches the default size of the primitive plane. It has the effect of making an inner or outer margin in the resulting bake images.

The bake to plane is used to bake the geometry detail from the selected objects. This mesh is created and removed during the baking operation.

This setting has no effect when the Conform Shape toggle is on or using a bake to object.

Offset

The height on which the bake to plane is created from the bake origin object's location.

If the bake images are clipped, this means the bake to plane is overlapping the selected images so just increase the offset until it doesn't.

This has no effect when using a bake to object.

Bake Types

A set of toggles that lets you enable different bake types. When baking, the process will run through all bake types one by one.

The Normal, AO, Depth and Alpha will bake geometry data while Color will bake the color pass from the diffuse input of the bsdf material and Emit from the emission input or shader nodes.

Depth Distance

Distance when determining the height values of the depth or displace geometry. This is zero from the origin point of the bake origin object.

This essentialy raises or lowers the zero threshold of the depth map. Zero being pure black with no displacement and increasing gradation of gray depending on the elevation of geometry with white being full displacement.

If you have geometry data you want displaced but it's lower than the origin point of the bake origin object then just lower the distance property to negative values to reposition the zero/black threshold.

You can also adjust the position the bake origin object relative to the other selected objects besides using this property to initially set the zero threshold.

Brightness

Increases the brightness of the depth map. This adds to the color value and will make black areas gray or white.

Using a negative value will have a subtractive effect and make everything darker towards black.

Contrast

Increases the contrast of the depth map. This multiplies to the color value and will intensity brighter areas.

A good starting value for Brightness and Contrast is 0.05 and 2.0 respectively.

Depth Location

This lets you set the zero depth threshold using 3 options: Origin Point, Lowest Geometry and Selected Vertices.

Origin Point places the zero depth threshold in the origin point of the bake origin object.

Lowest Geometry places the zero depth threshold in the lowest point in the geometry of the selected objects.

Selected Vertices places the zero depth threshold in the average location of the selected vertices.

Using the Exclude Bake Origin toggle will exclude the bake origin object from Lowest Geometry or Selected Vertices.

Using Lowest Geometry or Selected Vertices will only use the z axis and will be centered in the position of the bake origin object's origin point.

Samples

This involves two properties: AO and Others. The other maps except for AO which stands for Others really doesn't need that much samples because they produce no noise. AO or ambient occlusion, however, does produce noise with lower samples so you can set this manually - higher samples means longer processing time so be careful.

Margin

This is the uv map margin which creates a margin between uv islands or from the uv map boundary.

Bake Origin

This property is part text and search bar of objects that you have currently selected. Here you can set the bake origin object whose origin point will set the zero threshold for the depth/displacement texture map.

It is also used to position the bake to plane so it is important that the origin point is at the center of the geometry hence using the primitive plane as the canvas.

Clicking on the textbox will show you a dropdown menu where you can select the bake origin object. You can write the names down manually but if it doesn't match anything from the selected objects then it will remain blank so just use the search functionality.

You can also use the eyedropper icon to pick the bake origin object from the selected objects - picking an object outside of the selected ones will not be accepted as well.

This property needs to be filled in order for the bake operator to function.

It will also keep the last bake origin object used even you have selected new objects to bake and it will give you a warning saying "Select bake origin from selected objects" if the bake origin object set does not match any objects from your selection.

Exclude Bake Origin

Excludes the bake origin object from the baking process allowing you to only use the bake origin object as a way to position the bake to plane and also establish the zero zdepth. This way you can use other objects other than a primitive plane to set these parameters.

Bake To

This allows you to set the bake to object where the texture maps will be baked. It is also part text and search bar like Bake Origin but will only show you objects or meshes you have not selected.

Leaving this blank will use the default bake to plane created and removed by the script during the baking process which is a primitive plane or one that conforms to the shape of the bake origin object when Conform Shape is enabled.

It's main purpose is to have a bake to object where you can control the UV layout.

It goes without saying that you need to properly place this object on top of the objects you are trying to bake.

Do not select this rather just assign this object using this property. What you need selected are the objects you want to bake along with the origin object.

Like the Bake Origin property, this too will not be cleared if you are baking another set so be sure to replace this in that instance.

Conform Shape

Enabling this toggle allows the bake to plane created by the script to copy the x and y dimensions of the bake origin object. The size of the bake to plane is the default size of the primitive plane that is why it's recommended to not touch the transforms of the latter if used as the bake origin object

This feature will enable you to bake geometry data that can be used for a more rectangular paneling detail.

Bake To Last Images

Enabling this toggle will allow you to bake the texture maps to the last baked images set in the Last Baked Images tab and will prevent creating a new image in the process. If the correspoding bake type in the Last Bake Images tab is empty then a new image will be created to fill that field.


Quick Review

Here's a short video of the basics when using the add-on as discussed above.

Be sure to have a dedicated or temporary folder to save your baked images because sometimes Blender will turn the baked images black if you have not saved it. This happens even if the images actually have users inside the blend file while you are currently working with it.

Users in Blender refers to objects, images, materials, collections etc. currently being used to build your 3D scene. For example, image textures being used by material shaders. If nothing else is using that asset, it's users are considered zero and is a possible candidate of being purged by Blender when refreshed or closed.

There's no built in external saving in the add-on so you have to do this by going to the image editor and pressing Alt+S to save a particular image.

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