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Autodesk 3DS Max - Baking (materials and/or lights)
Autodesk 3DS Max - Baking (materials and/or lights)

How to convert in textures the materials and/or lights of your model

Written by Leslie
Updated over a week ago

To produce materials (and textures) baking on a model in 3dsMax, you need to have a few things : 

  • one or more light(s) in your scene

  • The model’s UVs unfolded (or you can do automatic mapping from the baking panel but you will have less control on it)

  • The materials configured

  • The scene rendering configured

The objects that will be on the same map should be merged, or the different maps will need to be merged afterwards in Photoshop or equivalent.

Go to Rendering/Render Setup or press F10 to display the “Render setup” panel. 

Check the renderer in use. It should be the same used by your materials (V-ray for V-ray materials, Mental ray for Mental ray materials, Scanline for Standard materials, etc).

Go to Rendering/Render to texture or press 0 to open the “Render to texture” baking panel.

In the “Render to texture” panel :

1/ Set a padding of 4 (to avoid UV seam lines) 

2/ Select “Use existing Channel” and set the channel you’re using for the UV dedicated to this baking

3/ Click to open the “Add textures elements” panel

4/ Select the needed elements according to the renderer that will be used (if you select standard renderer elements when using V-ray, or the opposite, 3dsmax may crash). The elements needed for V-ray are called “VRay…”, the elements needed for Scanline or Mental ray have no prefixe. For diffuse baking, select DiffuseMap, if you want to also get the light baking, select LightingMap (just the light) or Complete Map (light+diffuse+...).

5/ Select the saving type and place, write the file name

6/ Select the size of the map

7/ Click “Render” to start the baking

The baking will work the same way as a render, according to the render setup.

Depending on the render engine used, the baking can increase heavily the production time, and will add the problem of noise in the baked textures. Having zero noise by only editing render settings takes too long in most cases because it requires big calculation times, but finding a good balance between render time and smoothing of the noise in Photoshop (or equivalent) is a good option. However, using noise reduction will require a wise check, depending on the texture map it can remove the details and create problems on the textures seamlines.

Following is a close up on a diffuse map baked, with several settings, using V-ray renderer engine. The render times given and results are specific to this model, it may vary depending on the model, the 3D software and the renderer engine settings.

First : the map is noiseless, but it takes a long render time (around 30 minutes). Second : 1 min render, but there is a lot of noise. Third : the render is controlled, 3 min with increased settings, there is a bit of noise but it can be smoothed in an image editor

First : the 1 min render can’t be cleanly smoothed, even with maximum noise reduction there is still, and the borders of the shape have been damaged, there will be problems on seam lines. Second : the 3 min render allows a clean finish after noise reduction.

Repeat for each map you want to produce.

To finish, create Standard materials with the produced maps linked on those, separate and configure the materials according to the maps and to the different levels of glossiness, transparency, reflection… 

Your model should be ready to upload to the Augment manager.

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