Blender 2.8 provides a very powerful way to create complex PBR materials by using nodes. However, what should be a simple process of baking and exporting these materials for use with other software or systems (Substance Painter, Sketchfab.com , Unity etc.) is surprisingly difficult.
SimpleBake aims to address this problem by providing a one-click solution for baking PBR maps from materials created in Blender 2.8
As a bonus, SimpleBake will also:
Designed for Blender 2.8
You must have your render mode set to Cycles. There is no baking in EEVEE at present.
You will find SimpleBake in the render settings tab in the properties panel.
To bake, select the objects you want to bake in the viewport, set any applicable options you want in the SimpleBake panel, then hit the button for the type of bake you want (PBR, ColourID or Cycles)
IMPORTANT: You can have as many objects and as many materials, as you want in the bake, however, all materials on all objects must be using one of the following as the shader. Any other configuration will be ignored:
To be clear, you can use as many nodes as you like to provide inputs to those shaders. This is essence of creating PBR materials in Blender.
2. UV Maps
If you select the “New UVs” option, SimpleBake will generate a new UV map for each object (using Smart UV Project) and use that new UV map for baking.
If you don’t select the “New UVs” option, SimpleBake will first look for an existing UV map called “SimpleBake”. If it finds one, it will use that UV map for baking. This allows you to create custom UV maps for any objects where Smart UV Project would not give a good result.
If you don’t select the “New UVs” option, and there is no existing UV map called “SimpleBake”, SimpleBake will bake to whatever is the current active UV map for the object in the viewport.
3. Baked Images
After the bake, baked images will be available internally within Blender. You can find them in the UV Image Editor.
If you selected “Save Bakes Externally”, the baked images will also be saved into a folder “SimpleBake_Bakes” in the same folder as your .blend file is saved. Consequently, this feature is only available once you have saved your blend file.
All baked images are named [Object Name]_[Bake Type].png (e.g. House_Col.png, House_Metal.png etc.)
4. Points to Note
Baking, like rendering, is resource intensive. To put it more bluntly, baking is SLOW. If you are baking a lot of big maps, or if you have a slow computer, baking may take a long time.
Blender will “lock up” until the bake is complete. This is unavoidable, and you will need to wait for it to complete the operation. If you started Blender from the console, you can see some updates on the progress printed out there. I would strongly recommend that you do this. It will give you at least some idea of progress. If you don't you will be staring at a frozen Blender with no idea when it will end.
5. What PBR Maps can be baked?
At release, the following options are available:
If you are interested in baking any other properties from the Principled BSDF node, please let me know and I can add them. I have personally never needed any other options, however.
Please note that you can also bake a ColourID map, or any of the "traditional" Cycles baking modes, as described above.
In the event of any issues please contact me via BlenderMarket or by email at email@example.com