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Is it possible to somehow bake vertex colors from lamps?

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No, I don't think you can directly, as far as I know, but what you could probably do instead is a multi-step process to achieve your desired final result.

You can only bake to a texture, so bake said lamp influence to an image based texture, then use said texture to create a new vertex color layer from it using an addon to translate from image to vertex colors.

Rough steps: Create your desired mesh, add a "neutral" material to it, like say a purely diffuse white material that will receive clean colors from lamps.

Unwrap said mesh to a new UV Map, create a new texture and bake that object to said texture.

Save the image, then use the addon UV/Bake Texture to Vertex Colors to create a new Vertex Color layer based on said texture.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice one! I didn't know about this add-on. Could definitely come in handy. $\endgroup$
    – Mentalist
    Jun 26, 2017 at 15:21
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There is a button 'to vertex color' in the baking panel. It does ehat you're after.

At least, its there in blender internal - not sure about cycles

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  • $\begingroup$ Didn't know about that option. Nice find! $\endgroup$ Jun 26, 2017 at 17:39
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Baking lights into Vertex color. Worth Gravedigging that thread as there's very little info about that. For those interested:

  • Render > Render Engine > Cycles
  • Render > Bake > Influence > Lighting > Direct and Indirect
  • Bake > Output > Active Color Attribute.

This way you can bake the lights that will influence your existing vertex color.

A very useful thing I was used to do in 3D-Coat and I'm really glad it can be done in Blender too. Sadly Vertex Paint is a really bugged process in Blender (Ctrl+Z cannot be trusted at all). And the worse, it cannot as far as I know bake Curvature. Too bad really :/

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