View Full Version : Surface baking camera capabilities

Neural Riptide
12-16-2010, 08:55 PM
I'm currently using 8.5, and would like to know just how much the baking camera can do.

On thing that has always been a dream, for example, would be to set up a scene with a metal object, set up items for it to reflect off of its surface, then bake those reflections to the UV map.

Will the baking camera do things like this?


12-17-2010, 06:47 AM
Yes you can. In 8.5 I believe you have to use the Surface Baker shader which is located on the Shader tab of the Surface Editor. As I recall you add it to one surface of your object but the whole uv map for the object will be baked when you render. Remove the shader once your baking is done as it will bake every time you render.

In 9.6 there is a camera that does the baking.


Neural Riptide
12-17-2010, 07:31 AM
I've used the baking shader in 8.5 a bit, but I've never been able to get it to bake reflections. Just shaders and light.

12-17-2010, 12:01 PM
ummm.... if you are baking the reflection's, then you should be able to just change the surface of the object to a say matte black and turn off specularity and diffuse as well, then just bake and save the render output... but on why would you want to save the reflection's? if you are doing a different camera angle or having the objects or camera move in animation, the reflection's will look horrible wrong.

Neural Riptide
12-17-2010, 06:14 PM
Some of the various virtual worlds where users can import their own content do not yet support dynamic reflections on objects, so the best way to make something look half way realistic is to do generic fake reflections. An example would be sun glasses.
Yes there are multiple and perhaps easier way to make fake reflections on the lenses, but I'm just using this as an example.
Realism on the lenses needs reflections in many cases. To be able to set up a photo cube (as is used in RL for product shots) and then bake the reflections to the UV map assigned to the lenses, would result in textures that can be applied to the model that will give it a little more realism in a virtual realm where reflections don't exist yet.

*edit* Maybe I'm missing something here. I *do* want the basic surface of the object to bake to it. but I'd like the reflections as well. I set up a simple scene with a mapped object, changed it to matte black, but when I bake it, the resulting render output is completely black. the sphere that it is reflecting in the camera/frame render output is not showing on the baked UV.
Just to clarify, I'm using LW 8.5.

12-17-2010, 06:34 PM
hmmm... maybe I'm spoiled by LW 9.6... I know this would be a breeze to do with the new surface baking camera.... I'm going to try and see if I can get it to work with the old baking shader... well... I'll do this when and if my current animation render finishes anytime soon :)

Neural Riptide
12-17-2010, 06:41 PM
As far as I know, it can't be done with the 8.5 baker.
It's one of the reasons I'm considering upgrading, but so far I'm a little thin on reasons to do so. If the baking camera in 9.x/10.x will do this, then I need to consider upgrading a bit more seriously.

12-18-2010, 08:48 PM
The baking camera in 9.6 will bake reflections if ray trace reflections is turned on. There is also the option to bake the surroundings instead of the surface color which looks like a reflection.


12-19-2010, 01:05 AM
Not sure I get why you would want to. I guess the main reason for baking a surface is so that you can render faster in an animation. If that is the case the reflection would be changing as you animated, so a baked reflection would not work the way a real reflection would. Or am I missing something?

12-19-2010, 08:27 AM
gordon... I think he means to use it in a situation where the baked reflection, is better than none at all... I'm thinking it might work if the camera movement is none or very super duper subtle

12-19-2010, 08:52 AM
well... I finally found some time to test this... and I couldn't find a way to make the surface baker shader see the reflection's... I guess there is a reason for that, becouse there are only very very rare occations where one would really need or want that, and I think mostly it would be for an artistic look. I'm still willing to bet that there is a free plug-in somewhere out there that will help you do this... it might be an alternative surface baker, or it might be a reflection shader or some shader that would manage to reroute the reflection's so that the original surface baker could read the reflecions. So, my advice is go hunting on flay ect. But then again if you look at the fact that LW9.x version will do this easily, then that's one reason for you to upgrade, and also million's of other reason's :) I started with LW when it was just going from version 6 to 7. And as far as I can tell the upgrade from version 8 up to version 9 is the most radical (radical in a good way)

12-19-2010, 10:08 AM
And as far as I can tell the upgrade from version 8 up to version 9 is the most radical (radical in a good way)

Also if you upgrade before the official release of LW10 you will save $100 off the upgrade price.

12-19-2010, 10:41 AM
surely if it bakes the reflections, it has to do so with another (second) camera in mind .. ?

12-19-2010, 11:18 AM
Games use a reflection map allll the time. Newer graphics cards can do ray traced reflections, but most of the time you can get away with just a reflection map.

12-19-2010, 02:14 PM
Yeah... well, to clarify my understanding of this... (wich is possibly totally wrong and ignorant hehe, so just correct me if I'm wrong). Games use reflection maps, but then we are usually refering to a map like a spherical map that shows up on materials/objects that have been set to be reflective. In those cases we can make an "reflectionmap/texture" for the object wich acts basicly like an alpha that controlles where the spherical(or cubic I guess ect.) map would show up as a reflection (think some game engines would let you tint the reflections as well by using color in the objects reflection textures).

So if that is the case... you can bake that in LW 8.5. But as I understood it, you want to bake the actual reflection showing up from you're LW camera's perspective and kind of burn them to a UV map, allthough that is easily possible to do with the surface baking cameras in LW9.6 I would think it would have very limited uses inside a realtime 3dgame-engine...