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So I have this model of a dome that I created and I'm quite happy with it (not to say that it has no default but at my level I consider it quite enjoyable).

The high poly dome

The only drawback is it's way too high poly for a game (~400k polygons) so I made a low poly version (~4k polygons) and now I'd like to bake a normal map.

The low poly model

Problem is: I know the baking will take a long time so I'd like to be confident enough in my models that when the baking is done, I can have as few problems as possible (not sure the expression is right: english is not my mother tongue). I am quite confident in a lot of parts but the one that really scares me are the tiles. Can anybody tell me if the way I made the tile part of the low poly model will give a good result when baking ? I've never tried this kind of geometry and my experience with baking is quite limited so any advice or suggestion would be much appreciated

Here's what the high poly tiles look like

Closeup of the high poly tiles

And here's what the low poly model's tile part geometry looks like

enter image description here

Thanks a lot

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    $\begingroup$ Make it simpler, I don't see a need for the horizontal ridges. $\endgroup$ – Leander Apr 25 '19 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking that since the tiles have kind of a "step" between the rows it would make sense to reproduce this step. Flawed reasoning ? $\endgroup$ – AnthoJack Apr 25 '19 at 10:00
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    $\begingroup$ How about trying to bake it with low settings. Normal bakes in about 10s so you can try several low poly shapes. $\endgroup$ – Leander Apr 25 '19 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ By "low settings" do you just mean "low resolution texture" or does it imply something else ? Making a simpler replica of the tile part maybe ? $\endgroup$ – AnthoJack Apr 25 '19 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ Low resoltion and low samples (if AO map for cycles for example). $\endgroup$ – Leander Apr 25 '19 at 10:47
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OK so following Leander's advice I did a baking with low res and low samples and weirdly enough, it actually gives a better result without the little steps so I completely removed them (and lost almost 4oo polygons in the process, yay). Thanks for the advice, I'm closing the subject

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not weird at all. Your highpoly mesh doesn't have visible steps, so your lowpoly mesh should also be plain in this area. Normal maps don't change the topology, they fake it. If you add something to the lp mesh that's not (visible) in the hp mesh and you put a baked normal map on top of it, it's going to look strange. $\endgroup$ – metaphor_set May 5 '19 at 1:02
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Your geometry is OK for baking. But the roof can cause issues with the baking as the difference in hight in the shingles is quite large.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi DrachenSeele, welcome to Blender.se. I downvoted because the first sentence seems to contradict itself. Baking is the process of transfering details from a highpoly model to textures for a low poly model. So baking implies the creation of textures. Can you edit your answer to clarify that? $\endgroup$ – Leander Apr 25 '19 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Any suggestion on how to minimize the risks ? $\endgroup$ – AnthoJack Apr 25 '19 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ You can make low poly shingles for each high poly shingle. Or try to shape your low poly plane like _/¯_/¯_ so that it covers the shingles more thigthly $\endgroup$ – DrachenSeele Apr 25 '19 at 17:36

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