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creating an AO map for material without mesh bakes

Participant ,
Nov 10, 2023 Nov 10, 2023

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Hi

Ive been tring to solve this for ages and havent figured out how.   Often i paint directly onto a quad, and ultimately would like to be able to export an AO map using the painted height/normal data that ive painted.    Ive seen the AO generator and filters but have never figured out how to use them 😞 

 

If i baked down layer info from a high poly mesh to a low poly them exportiing an AO map is never a problem, but in this case where i dont have any high poly mesh to bake from ive never worked it out.

 

Any help would be very much appreicated .

thanks a lot

N

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Employee , Nov 16, 2023 Nov 16, 2023

In this video, the artist exports the Normal map and reimport it in Painter. Then, he replaces the previous Normal mesh map (from the baking) with the reimported one (from the Layer stack). This will indeed work, but not create an AO.

 

I even advise you to add the .SBSAR I just built in your layer stack, and place the reimported Normal Map in its dedicated input. It will turn the Normal into AO.

 

Best regards,

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Nov 13, 2023 Nov 13, 2023

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Hi N,

 

Thanks for the question.

 

First of all, it's not mandatory to have a High Poly mesh in order to "bake" the mesh maps (AO, Curvature, etc.). There's an option in the Baking tab (F8) named Use Low Poly Mesh as High Poly Mesh, wich will directly build the map from the Low Poly.

 

Low Poly as High Poly.png

 

Considering all the Smart Materials/masks need mesh maps to work properly, I advise you to bake these maps no matter the project.

 

 

Now, if you want to export a painted AO from the Layer Stack, it should automatically be exported in almost all export presets, as long as it contains the Mixed AO converted map, which is a combination of the baked AO and painted AO.

 

Best regards,

 

Cyril Dellenbach (Micro) | QA Support Artist | Adobe

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Participant ,
Nov 13, 2023 Nov 13, 2023

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Thanks for the reply Cyril!

 

Yeah often ill use the bake using lowpoly mesh option, but in this case im simply painting onto a flat plane, so baking using that doesnt create anything.   Ive read oneline people suggesting that i export the normals of all my painted layers and them reimporting them back in to then,  bake the AO using them, but when i try this it doesnt seem to work - would you know how I might do this? 

 

thanks again for your help!

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Nov 14, 2023 Nov 14, 2023

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I'm not sure to follow you here. Baking the AO with a simple plane won't build anything indeed, but that's the expected behavior. A simple plane doesn't have occlusion.

 

If you want to paint the AO, follow this guide and the export should work properly.

 

Best regards,

 

Cyril Dellenbach (Micro) | QA Support Artist | Adobe

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Participant ,
Nov 14, 2023 Nov 14, 2023

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sorry, so what i mean is for example...   say I paint height/depth data onto this quad of a square that sticks out, id like this 'fake' depth that ive just painted on to create some AO as if it were mesh  (if that makes sense).    So whilst I dont have any physical mesh data to provide AO, i wouild like my painted height data to create the AO

 

hopefully thats a little clearer (i find it hard explaining these things sometimes 🙂 )

 

thanks!

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Nov 15, 2023 Nov 15, 2023

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My bad, it is clear now.

 

For me there are two possibilities:

  1. You build the AO at the same time as you build your textures through an AO channel
  2. (As you mentioned upthere) you build it later from the Normal map

 

To be honest, the first option seems complicated, so I'd personaly do the second. Open Substance Designer, import your final Normal Map, plug it into a Normal to Height node, HBAO node, output, export as bitmap.

 

CyrilDellenbach_0-1700067924136.png

 

Best regards,

 

Cyril Dellenbach (Micro) | QA Support Artist | Adobe

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Participant ,
Nov 15, 2023 Nov 15, 2023

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thanks, do you know if that 2nd option is possible to do directly within Painter rather than going into Designer?  

 

I saw this tutorial which seems to show baking of AO based off normals in painter - but for whatever reason i dont seem to be able to get it to work 😕   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmFY9-pj264

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Nov 16, 2023 Nov 16, 2023

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In this video, the artist exports the Normal map and reimport it in Painter. Then, he replaces the previous Normal mesh map (from the baking) with the reimported one (from the Layer stack). This will indeed work, but not create an AO.

 

I even advise you to add the .SBSAR I just built in your layer stack, and place the reimported Normal Map in its dedicated input. It will turn the Normal into AO.

 

Best regards,

 

Cyril Dellenbach (Micro) | QA Support Artist | Adobe

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Participant ,
Nov 16, 2023 Nov 16, 2023

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that makes sense - thanks!   

oh - so can i export that Designer node graph and bring it into Painter?  Im not familiar with that process - ill have a google and give it a try!

 

thanks again

Nick

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