Light baking improves the look of your renders by simulating photorealistic lighting effects on your textures.
Light baking is a useful technique when you want to achieve advanced lighting effects in your real-tine scenes.
Light Baking uses settings from ultra render to generate lightmaps, which will allow you to simulate realistic lighting effects generated by path tracing in your real time scene. This will allow you to achieve effects that would typically slow down performance in real time, ie. using a large number of lights. Baking will also improve the overall look of AR scenes.
How it works
Light baking works by calculating the effects of light on a surface and then generating a lightmap: a texture map containing all of the shadows, colour changes, and other visible lighting effects. The lightmap can then be applied to the object over the other texture maps, effectually “painting on” shadows and colour changes to simulate the appearance of light
Baking requires your models to have UVs. Check this article to learn how to prepare your models for baking before bringing them into BRIO.
Set up lights for baking
Upload your models as a group (or group your objects in the builder).
A single lightmap will be baked onto all the objects, so they must share a UV.
Upload texture maps
To upload, select an object, open the material editing panel on the right side of the builder, and select the upload button next to each shader.
Tip: BRIO supports PBR shading, so texture maps from apps like Quixel Suite will work well.
Build light set
Since direct lights create harsh shadows, it is recommended that you delete the default directional light and add area, point, or spot lights instead.
Area lights are best for product shots as the width and height can be edited.
In Ultra Render lights are physically accurate, so narrower lights create stronger shadows, and broader lights create softer shadows.
Set up the camera to frame your shot
You can sync the camera with your current view by selecting the lock icon next to the camera preview window. Adjust your view until you have the desired shot, then click the lock icon again to set the camera in place.
In the camera properties panel, adjust the camera lens setting as desired for a closer shot.
Turn on ultra render
Select the ultra render button in the camera properties panel. Remember to hit the play button in the camera preview window to trigger the render.
Edit render settings
Open 'Ultra Render Settings'. Set the max rays and rays per frame to achieve the desired level of render quality.
Set Sky Lighting
Select the light set in the objects panel. The, in the sky light properties panel, select the sky light type: image, sky, or colour. This setting will provide environmental light.
Set up sun and ultra lighting settings
Enable sun and set the position (optional). Sun light can help you to simulate "golden hour" light, and also helps you control shadow strength and placement in your scene.
If any lights are visible in your shot, select them and turn off the "visible in ultra render"setting.
To change the contrast levels or colour profile of your render, set the lookup table preset using the dropdown menu in the Ultra Render Settings panel.
Set the lightmap resolution using the dropdown in the Ultra Render settings panel.
This determines size of the lightmap.
Once the shot is set up, bake your lightmaps
Select 'Bake Lightmaps' in the camera properties panel. The builder will switch to baking mode.
Wait for the render to complete, as indicated by the progress bar at the bottom of the screen.
The lightmaps will be saved to your images library. You can also select “download image” to save the maps to your computer.
Switch back to realtime render mode.
With the object group selected, open the materials panel and select the "Advanced Options" button at the bottom of the panel.
In the Lightmap Modifiers section, upload the lightmap to the AO, Direct, and Indirect light channels.
To do this, select the upload button next to the slider. When the Editing Modal appears, select the newly added maps from the “my images” library.
If your object is self-illuminating (ie. a lit monitor or glowing button) upload the map to the emissive intensity shader as well.
Once your lightmaps are applied, use the sliders to fine tune the effect.
You'll also want to adjust the remaining lights in your scene to compensate for the changes. You may want to reduce their intensity, turn off shadows, or delete some lights entirely.
You can put the final touches on the scene using Post Effects.
Preview & Publish your scene.
Now that your lightmaps are baked, you can publish your interactive 3D or AR scene with much higher image quality, without sacrificing any performance speed.
Note: since lightmaps are essentially "painted on" shadows and lighting, adding animation to your objects may cause some unrealistic effects to occur.
If you want to add more objects to your scene with baked lighting, you can do this by hiding the objects in your scene that already have baked lightmaps, and then following the same steps to bake maps onto the new object. Once you’ve applied the new lightmap, turn on the visibility of the rest of the objects.
Use Ultra Render Still Product Shots
The Ultra Render has more uses than light baking - read this guide to Rendering High Quality Product Shots with Ultra Render