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I'm having a little confusion over how the cage and the cage with extrusion work.

I noticed I can bake with use cage enabled but without a cage object. Is it the same as baking with use cage disabled?

enter image description here

I've also noticed when I set the cage object the cage extrusion grays out. Does this mean it becomes irrelevant?

enter image description here

Could someone confirm or confute these? Thanks in advance!

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello if you enable the Cage option but don't select any cage object, it probably works as if you disable the option $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Jun 20 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ Hi @moonboots, thank you for the answer! So that should mean it also doesn't have any effect on the bake results, does it? May you have any information on the grayed-out cage extrusion? $\endgroup$
    – Tsybe
    Commented Jun 20 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ The extrusion creates a margin around the low-poly object to make sure that it won't miss some faces of the high-poly that would protrude, if you use a cage it looks like you can't give any additional margin to the cage object, it looks as simple as that $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Jun 20 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ Understood, thank you for confirming! $\endgroup$
    – Tsybe
    Commented Jun 20 at 17:54

1 Answer 1

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Baking a normal map is basically taking a "snapshot" of another higher-poly mesh, from the point of view of each vertex normal on the low poly mesh. enter image description here

You can see those normals with an overlay in edit mode.

enter image description here

The baking process essentially works like this:

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Most bakers will use the low poly mesh itself and shoot the rays from those verts, but in the old days you would sometimes need to make a specific mesh that you would substitute as the low poly during the baking process. That was called a "Cage".

enter image description here

The reason cage extrusion gets greyed out when you add a cage mesh is because the whole point of the cage mesh is so you can precisely dictate how far you want the LP to "extrude".

Most cases using the LP should work just fine.

I would recommend reading these two posts 1 2 until you really wrap your mind around how baking works.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for clarifying the grayed-out extrusion! I'm pretty familiar with the baking process; I just had some confusion about the cage and cage extrusion. I really appreciate the detailed answer, though! I'll also check out those readings. Thank you for recommending them! $\endgroup$
    – Tsybe
    Commented Jun 20 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Cool yeah, it's one of those things that's kinda hard to explain without diving into the way baking itself works, and I don't wanna assume knowledge on any topic. If this answer works can you accept it so the question gets closed? $\endgroup$
    – Jakemoyo
    Commented Jun 20 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, of course. Thank you again for your effort! $\endgroup$
    – Tsybe
    Commented Jun 21 at 19:22

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