Normal Maps Baking

Hello!! This is my first tutorial from my new place! :D

This time we'll talk about normal maps, and how to bake them. Normal maps are textures that control the direction in which the light is reflected on a surface, and this is very useful for faking lots of detail, specially for videogames. The usual process for creating this kind of maps, is having a high resolution mesh, and a low resolution one; The detail into the high resolution one will be "baked" as a normal map into the lowpoly one, using its UVs for placing details into the texture.

In this tutorial, I start with a quick explanation about how normal maps work and how the baking process creates the normal map. Then we'll see a practical exercise on how to bake the detail from a high resolution mesh into a single polygon mesh, simulating all the detail using the normal map. Of course, we'll also take a look at how to set up a normal map in order to see it on the realtime 3DView. Then, I'll go forward and show you how to bake other types of textures, in this case an Ambient Oclussion map.

Remember that you can bake almost any channel! From Ambient Oclussion to a Full Render, going through Shadows and Lighting :D

Happy Blending!