If you're a product designer or a 3D professional, you know the importance and the struggle of creating that highly polished, great quality final output. Lighting and 3D modeling are crucial, but baking can transform your 3D models into photorealistic wonders. In this article, we will dive deeper into when and how you can use baking to create stunning 3D digital twins.
Baking is a technique in 3D modeling that generates texture maps with lighting information for 3D scenes. This technique involves rendering a 3D scene with a specific lighting setup and saving the results as texture maps. Baking can significantly enhance scene realism and improve renderer performance. In simple terms, it's like combining the benefits of photorealistic path-tracing rendering with real-time rendering. As a result, your models will look great from any angle.
Baking is generally recommended in the final stage of the prototyping phase when you are sure there will not be many changes. Although it is possible to remove a baked texture and generate a new one, doing so can slow down the process. Therefore, it's best to keep a duplicate of the unbaked project as a reserve.
If your goal is to have as photorealistic digital copy as possible, baking is the needed approach. However, keep in mind that any interactive or animated components need to be treated separately so they don’t negatively interfere with other objects in the scene.
If materials like fabric, leather, or wood play a significant role in your design, having a realistic texture makes all the difference. Choose a material from your custom material library, apply it to the object, and continue with the baking process.
See the before and after:
Tip: Once the texture is baked, moving an object that was throwing shadows will leave a dark spot where the shadow previously was. If you plan to add interactions and animations to your scene, make sure they don't interfere with other objects by baking moving parts separately.
Join our Discord channel to learn more about baking and get tips from our community and learn more about baking in our documentation.