For my thesis I had to do a lot of normal and AO map baking. I noticed I lost a lot of time basically just setting up meshes and exporting them, and changing settings in xNormal. I wanted to create a way to quickly bake a normal/AO map with xNormal without ever leaving Maya. The workflow for the by-hand version of this process looks something like this:
with the area in brown having to be repeated for every mesh, and the entire process needing to be repeated for every bake. My solution involves a new node in Maya along with a UI and set of tools for interacting with it (collectively referred to as Bake Layer Tool). You can see it in action below:
As can been seen, the process is very quick and easy. The revised workflow looks something more like this:
with some steps only having to be taken once for a given mesh, even for multiple imports.
Current Version: 0.2.1
feel free to download the tool here.
- Please be aware that future versions of the plug-in may cause problems when updating, due to Maya plugin node IDs, so please do not use this plugin for critical work until I have it at version 1.0.
- Also be aware that I developed this tool on Maya 2012 with a fully updated install of PyMel. This will not currently run on a vanilla install of Maya 2011, although I am currently considering working on making it backwards-compatible to 2011.