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1 Tutorials LightWave 3D Baking Illumination em Qua Jan 26, 2011 2:00 am


What's this all about?
As you may have noticed Surface Baker allows
you to bake illumination for its own.
But... have you ever tried to do so, and to
reapply the result to your objects?
On what channel you map the baked result?

This tutorial will describe
a procedure to keep your original tiling and
resolution for color textures, and bake illumination
at a minimum resolution, so that the baking process
won't take ages.
Preparing for Baker
First of all let's start with the subject.

The example scene is composed
by four arches basically...well and some grass
and a sky.

Setup your scene in Layout with
your textured objects and decide all the settings
as usual, light intensity, direction etc.
Now take a look at your test renderings and
see if you can optimize something.

In this example we have shadows casted by the
arches on a pretty big plane of grass.
We obviously don't want to create a huge texture
to bake the shadows on the floor.
So, let's split the floor, and make a polygon
big enough to contain the shadows.

This should be enough for quite long shadows.
Final pass, check if there are n-sided polygons
(polygons with more than 4 points) and triple
them otherwise the baker will not consider them.
Now let's talk about UVs.
We want to keep our color textures, and mapping
as is for resolution purposes.
Tiling is a very good thing, so we want to keep
it uh!?
Then we're going to prepare a second UV set
(New UV Map) using a different name.
This new UV set is the one we'll use to bake
illumination so we have to keep in mind few things.
First thing, it's generally good to start with
an Atlas mapping for objects with an architectural
We're going to map the arches first. Now start
with the Atlas projection and set a Relative
Gap Size based on the resolution of you final "lightmaps".
For a 256*256 it's quite safe to use a 120%
- 150%, for a 512*512 a 80% - 100%, but it's
always good to make some tests, because the required
gap depends a lot by UV topology.
If you don't get it right you risk pixels to
overlap and overwrite one on top of the other.
Second thing, always remember we're baking illumination
and UVs for this second set cannot be simply
copied and pasted.
For instance we have four identical arches but
all the polygon are in different positions in
UV space.
Arches are identical but light is not!

Oh, of course, don't exceed the 0 - 1 limit
in UV space for the second UV set! (Unless you
want weird psychedelic effects baked on your
Last but not least of our short list, is continuous
(or contiguous) mapping and vertex sharing.
In Baker we find the option Continuous Map that
means "Consider all the vertexes merged,
whatever happens in reality" or "All
the other way around" if unchecked.
Shortly the Baker doesn't care about Smoothing.
But it does care about geometry!
When we set a 89.5 as smoothing value we want
everything smooth but anything over 90 degrees
angles. Even if we merged all our vertexes in
Modeler, Layout will Unweld all those ones that
don't match our smoothing angle when rendering.
OpenGL does just the same.
So in order to bake correctly we have to manually
decide our smoothing angle.
Unweld all vertexes of our arches, select the
groups of polygons we want to be smooth, and
In Baker we'll say we want a Continuous Map
so it'll try to make it all smooth but our detached
vertexes will stop it!
Talking about continuous things let's do some
continuous mapping.
The Atlas method is very powerful and quite
precise and that saves a lot of time (if you
use other 3d packages you know what I'm talking
But sometimes for Baker isn't enough!
Here's our first pass with Atlas:

Really not bad but the inner part of that arch
has been divided in three chunks of mappings.

In this case Baker will try
to match the pixels on the borders of each chunk
but pixel blending usually wins and stitches-like
black lines will appear magically!
Avoid this by making a contiguous mapping of
that polygons.

Select the polygons in the arch
and create UVs in the second set using a cylindrical
projection and fit our new mapping with the rest:

Let's bake it!

Simply that! Use just raytracing
or radiosity if you want and bake the whole thing
checking just "Bake Illumination" in
Baker and deactivating fog if any (produces wrong
results when baking), and outputting a HDR image.
Why HDR!?

Well simply because we want
to be able to darken and brighten with the same
lightmap! If you output a 24 bit image it'll
not keep all the extra informations to overbright!

Well, if you're sure your objects
receive totally no more than 100% from all the
lights in your scene, you're done!

In this case just output a 24
bit lightmap from Baker, read till the end of
this paragraph and jump the "Huston Problem" part!
...if not....go ahead!
It's time to reapply our cooked textures!

Now that we have the illumination
what we should do is multiply our lightmap by
the color texture in the color channel, making
sure we have set 100% luminosity and 0% diffuse
as well as turned off radiosity and turned off
all the lights:

And here's a test just with the floor done:

...but hey!...I've done all the steps properly...what's
going on!?
Houston we got a problem
Alright, here's the problem:
We're doing the right operation, we're multiplying...but
everything is washed out!
It's suggest some sort of gamma problem.
That's it!

Unfortunately it seems that
the Texture editor doesn't perform floating point
calculations when blending layers.
Well, at least it doesn't do that in the color

A HDR image is stored with floating
point values, that are then displayed with a
chosen gamma value.

Doing the multiplication it
seems that LightWave® is fixing a gamma value
(likely 2 or 2.2) for the HDR image and treating
it as a normal 24 bit image.

In fact, can you set a color
value that is higher than 255 in the color channel
using whatever you want?! Nope!
You can boost the layer opacity but values over
255 will be just clamped.

In a way that's right, we got
the luminosity channel to boost...yep, but it's
monochromatic! Arghh!!

So, we're going to ask for help
to Paul Debevec...we're going to use HDRShop
to correct our gamma problem.

(if you don't have HDR Shop
you can download it for free here: [Você precisa estar registrado e conectado para ver este link.] but
note that "Non-Commercial Purpose" agreement
and keep it in mind!)

Now, load your HDR lightmap
in HDRShop and select: View->Display Curve->Custom...
and type 0.5 as gamma value. (equivalent to a
gamma 1.0 for a 24 bit image in this case)

Hit one time the "-" on
your keyboard to decrease exposure by 1 step
(100% in LightWave®'s terms).
Do this for all your HDR lightmap and save them
as normal 24 bit bitmaps.

Adjust gamma also for your normal
color textures, cos we have to multiply in LightWave® with
both textures at the same gamma.

Import color textures in HDRShop
at gamma 2.2 and choose : View->Display Curve->Gamma
1.0 and save.
Now we're ok!
Just replace our wrong textures and make a test

Now that's right!

Well the job's done! You're
free to add some bump and specular if you want
turning on the lights but setting just the Affect
Specular attribute.
Hey, think about how much time you're all going
to save!
On an Athlon 1.4 Ghz here're the results:
Not baked:
Antialiasing Enhanced Low
Radiosity MonteCarlo 1 bounce 2*6 rays
Time: 1m 50s (110.7 secs)
Antialiasing Enhanced Low
Radiosity MonteCarlo 1 bounce 2*6 rays Baked
in a grand total of around 5 minutes.
Time: 11.4 secs
Mhmm...9.7 times faster per frame! Not bad!

By the way, my name's Emanuele
Salvucci and I work for Revolution Software Ltd
in U.K. where I'm quite busy creating 3D backgrounds
for Broken Sword 3, studying new lightmaps techniques
and getting crazy about LightWave®!
Contact: [Você precisa estar registrado e conectado para ver este link.]
Personal home page: [Você precisa estar registrado e conectado para ver este link.]
[Você precisa estar registrado e conectado para ver este link.]
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