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enter image description here enter image description here

Hello. I’m trying to combine two normal maps: brick wall and sculpted scratch. In viewport it looks fine, but after I bake it into third separated texture – I get very “pale” result.

At first I thought that I simply made some mistakes, but now I start to think that everything works as intended and baked result is different because normals of the object also were taken into account.

So please explain to me, why my baked result is very different from viewport and how could I get proper one.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe make sure image you save to is set to 32 bit color float, then bake again. To avoid object normals' baking do that on a plane mesh or not in Blender altogether (CrazyBump, AwesomeBump, Khaled, online generators etc or Substance) $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Aug 7 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak 32 bit float didn’t make any difference. Guess it possible to combine maps in some raster graphics editor, but it’s not a solution as it’s much more comfortable to set maps positions with UVs and besides it wouldn’t help if I decided to use procedural texture. $\endgroup$
    – Zaorish
    Aug 7 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't refer to raster graphics editors, those are more specific ones, albeit external apps. Anyway adding different decals, patterns or whatever in normal map while making it work with the rest of the surface and textures is done in Substance in one step. Blender isn't quite there for that $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Aug 7 at 23:42
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The inconsistency in brightness is due to the difference in how Eevee and Cycles(used to bake the texture) handle the normalize node. That is why your baked texture looks brighter.

Instead, you can use these one of these two options that are consistent across the two render engines.

Combine the two normal maps with a Mix node set to Overlay. This works because it treats each channel with this equaiton: (Target > 0.5) * (1 - (1-2*(Target-0.5)) * (1-Blend)) + (Target <= 0.5) * ((2*Target) * Blend)

or

Use a mix node set to mix with another black and white image plugged into the fac, masking areas you want mixed in.

Aside, The method your using doesn't seam quite right. Testing your normal file with a single point light in the center, it appears to be skewing. Maybe because it isn't combining the blue channel. enter image description here It resulted in this bake which is too bright like you described: Here's the example with the method suggested in this response. Notice the point light distribution has no apparent skewing: enter image description here Here's a comparison of the baked normal maps from the two methods(yours on the right). enter image description here I hope this helps!

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think it's that easy: How to Combine two Normal Maps?. $\endgroup$
    – brockmann
    Aug 7 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @zak My question is specifically about baking, merging maps more or less working fine. $\endgroup$
    – Zaorish
    Aug 7 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @brockmann Yeah, was using this artical. $\endgroup$
    – Zaorish
    Aug 7 at 23:12
  • $\begingroup$ @brockmann Just edited my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Zak Nelson
    Aug 9 at 1:14
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    $\begingroup$ @ZakNelson Thank you for detailed response. I played around Overlay, and indeed, there is very small difference after baking. Although it seems like Overlay itself gives more flat/pale result, however quick test in game engine shows it look... alright. Bit confused at the moment, but so far it's definetly the best result. $\endgroup$
    – Zaorish
    Aug 9 at 16:12

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