Baking is the act of pre-computing something in order to speed up some other process later down the line. Use this tag for baking any physics simulations.

Baking is the act of pre-computing something to speed up some other process later. In general, there are two general categories for baking:

  • Physics simulations Physics simulations range in computational complexity and memory usage from real-time and small (such as the rigid body simulation) to expensive and huge (such as fluid simulations or a large smoke simulation). In a simulation with a high resolution setting, there can easily be millions of particles whose paths have to be calculated. These paths can be baked ahead of time to allow for quicker playback and rendering.
    Smoke, Fluid, and Particle Baking on the blender wiki.

    Some physics simulations do not require baking (such as particle systems and cloth systems) because they can often run in real-time at low resolution settings. However, even these physics simulations offer a baking option in case the resolution or particle number is turned up very high.

  • Render baking For image baking such as normal maps, ambient occlusion (AO) maps use the tag .