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I ran into this issue with another project I was working on, so I replicated it using a simpler model (Suzanne). The setup:

  • add Susanne, make two UVs, source and dest.
  • create a few materials and assign to parts of Susanne via source UVs
    • each source mat has zero for metallic (I heard it doesn't work with baking)
    • each source mat has a single (and unique) png file as color input, source UV maps to specific image
    • otherwise each mat has default Principled BSDF
    • each source mat has the specified UV map identified in the UV Map node
  • create a target image, tell it to use the target UV map, no BSDF shader (or anything) connected to the output
  • make sure the only image selected is the target image
  • make sure the target material is selected in the Material tab
  • make sure Suzanne is the only thing selected
  • set to Cycles, GPU
  • uncheck Direct and Indirect under Contributions in Bake
  • set Bake Type to Diffuse
  • everything else 3.6 defaults
  • Click "Bake"

I'm getting the dreaded circular dependency error for each source material's image and when the bake is done, it has turned all the images black (including the target material). I just cannot figure out why this circular dependency is happening. Can someone help me please?

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You are not doing it the right. There are 2 solutions to bake the textures:

  • You could create a second object (B) that would be the baking object and give it one unique material with the texture that you've called target-color. Then select the original object (A), shift select the second object (B), activate the Selected to Active option in the Render > Bake panel, and bake.

  • Or if you want to bake the object on itself like it seems to be the case here, you need to create an Image Texture node with a new image selected (here target-color) and paste this node in each of your materials. Make sure that this Image Texture is the one that is selected in each material. Your material called target is useless here. Then bake.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, thank you the second option was the correct fix. I don't know where I got the idea that the target image had to be in its own material. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 20:04

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