Here’s a tiny little tutorial on how to bake ID maps in Maya without using a high poly.
The project we’ve been working on does not require any high-polys, since models are quite small on the screen, so the majority of tiny details would get lost. This is what I modelled really quickly using some simple primitives. Axe blade could do with some retopo,but I’m not too worried about it.
I wanted to use Substance Painter for texturing,and for that it’s always good to have an ID map which can be used for masking out areas you want to work on.
In case you might be interested, this is my UV layout. Make sure nothing is overlapping (unless you specifically want it to be that way).
Step 1: Assign bright simple lamberts to parts of your mesh which are meant to be made out of the same material.I was using these colours.
Step 2: After that to get the best results and no colour ‘bleeding’ issues, ‘explode’ your mesh. By explode I just mean reposition all the elements of your mesh, so that they don’t occupy the same space (for part of meshes that can be physically organized in that way; if you are assigning lamberts to some particular polys instead, you don’t need to explode your model).
Step 3: Do not freeze those transformations 🙂 You want to be able to put your mesh back together once this is done. Duplicate your exploded meshes (you can group them together and after that make a duplicate of the group, just for the organizational reasons). One group will be your ‘source’ (or fake ‘high-poly’),the other one will be your ‘target’ (or fake ‘low-poly’). For the group containing the ‘low-poly’,assign a grey lambert material (optional).
Step 4: Now, open Transfer Maps window.
In there, the first thing you will see is Target Mesh section, this is where you add your ‘low-poly’. In the outliner, select the right meshes and click Add Selected. Do the same thing for your fake ‘high’-poly group – add those to the source section. Just make sure you are putting the right meshes in (the coloured ones).
Step 5: I prefer baking with MentalRay, so I uncheck use Maya’s common settings. My settings for Mr are as follows:
Pay attention to Fill texture seams – this is what they call ‘edge-padding’. It means that Maya will add 4 extra pixels around the edges of your UVs, so that you don’t get ugly black seams. The larger your map is, the bigger this number should be. I have it set to 12 for 20148 maps usually.
Step 6: If you look at the picture showing my target meshes, you will notice on the right there is a drop down menu for each of them. Ideally, you would want to use the so-called envelope option: it is a fake duplicate of your low-poly mesh, also known as ‘cage’ in other applications, which shows Maya where to do the sweet sweet baking, cast the rays and do other sorts of black magic. Ideally, you want your low-poly and high-poly meshes covered by your envelop completely, without any verts protruding anywhere from the pink surface of your cage. For this set-up, I had it set to 0.5 for all of my low-poly meshes.
Don’t forget to set your save path for the bake file. I usually work with tgas. It’s something we got taught at school, and I haven’t really felt the need to use any other format. Up to you.
Step 7: Now you can bake. This is what I got. Was able to use this baby in substance Painter without any problems.
This is what we currently have in the game (Ethan is using a super fancy gradient shading system which is a game feature I hope the programmer I’m working with can write a tutorial about soon):