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i want the height map from the textures but I also want the heightmap from the high poly mesh so I can apply it to a low poly mesh. I want both in one heightmap but I don't know how to. please help

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If I understand what you want correctly, you could bake a normal map based on the difference between the low-poly mesh and the high-poly one, and then use it in combination with your other hightmap. –  gandalf3 Feb 1 at 19:31
    
@gandalf3 I think he want's a displacement map. He has a high-poly mesh with a displacement map and wants to bake the high-poly+displacement to a low-poly mesh. –  PeterT Feb 1 at 20:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The basics:

  • Apply your texture as a normal map to your highpoly mesh.
  • Unwrap the lowpoly mesh and add an image to it (to bake to).
  • Select the highpoly, add the lowpoly to the selection (important to do this last). Bake normals.

With images:

  • Highpoly + lowpoly meshes

highpoly+lowpoly

  • Test render of highpoly + texture

rendered highpoly (with texture as normal)

  • a voronoi texture applied as normal map

my normal texture

  • Bake setup and result.

baked texture

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And also, to add to all of that.

(i) You can use the technique above to bake a height map as well.

(ii) You can also heavily subdivide a mesh using the multires modifier and then apply the texture to a displace modifier. This will help for baking height maps as well as normal maps.

You will have to twiddle those bias and distance settings for baking selected to active. They are very difficult to configure on curved surfaces.

EDIT: I almost forgot about the following setup. It's for baking a height map using Cycles. It was posted on BlenderArtists.org a while back. Currently it only works for planer projection, not curved meshes, but when the situation is appropriate, it generates flawless height maps.

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?273033-Sculpting-with-UVs-and-displacements/

enter image description here

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okay. so this worked but it can only be an "open mesh" (I think that's the term used) so like. a cube wont work but a plane will. could you show me how to do this on a "closed mesh" please? –  Ethan Smith Jul 12 at 0:06
    
Interesting, I just showed up here because I wanted to explain this to someone else and there is fairly new comment from you that I was not notified of. Good timing. I'll get back to you on this. –  MarcClintDion Jul 14 at 6:51
    
There is no Cycles baking of true displacement yet for curved 3D objects, not officially. I've been doing a black and white bake with no Margin overdraw to accomplish this. Save out this mask and load it in again and apply it to a plane. Now setup an orthographic camera so that it perfectly captures only this plane. Now build geometry using the UV islands shown on the plane as a guide and finish this with a camera render as shown above. Now apply this rendered depth map to your mesh as a Displace texture using the UV setting in the modifier. –  MarcClintDion Jul 15 at 11:00
    
See my question here for further details on how to do this. blender.stackexchange.com/questions/14074/… –  MarcClintDion Jul 15 at 12:18

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