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Baked Textures in Sketchup… I swear I’m not on drugs this time!!!

October 26, 2012

So here I am again getting my feet wet in my ultimate quest to create a set of procedures that will enable non-artistically talented people like me to create beautiful BG’s via Sketchup with the least amount of time and effort and recently I stumbled on a phrase that I’ve been hearing for a while…

This is a sample of a baked texture in Sketchup… it looks good but the fact that it took me hours to manually draw those shadows in the texture tells me that I needed a software specifically dedicated to the task if I want to make full use of baked textures.

Baked Textures…

So what is baked textures?… I’n layman’s terms… the shadows, bumps, and everything else are now hard embedded on the texture. Now in theory, pre-rendered baked textures in sketchup means you now have the real possibility of moving in-and-around sketchup’s default interface  at full speed while having beautifully rendered textures that only needed to be rendered once and only once… and this is why I’m interested in it. Just imagine… you can use and reuse the same scene both for BG’s and angled CG’s for Visual Novels and OELVN’s without even going to Photoshop and post process… just simply put camera, export image and ready to use… that is so time saving and very very convenient… not to mention you can now use sketchup’s default video and batch image export to create dynamic moving bg’s very easily.

A quick google revealed to me several programs that can do such task

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Speed-GI Baking Tools For SketchUp

This is pretty much what I had in mind. Unfortunately it’s in Chinese so we cannot know much about it nor can I find their website. Not to mention it’s commercial software so definitely not hobbyist friendly.

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Lightup for Sketchup

Don’t you get that warm fuzzy, warm and pleasant feeling when someone out there was using the models you made… in this particular video, the guy here used the generic warehouse I modeled for sketchup and parked a gundam inside and he did a pretty cool job at the lighting. As the video demonstrated, he is moving inside sketchup’s default interface with all the shadows and lights embedded and baked into the texture. This is by far the most user friendly one I’ve seen. Again unfortunately, this one is a commercial software. Anyway, click HERE to learn more about Lightup for Sketchup.

Here’s a better video demonstrating how powerful LightUp really is and at the same time gives us an idea how we can utilize it for OELVN / Visual Novel production.

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LumenRT

I know there are better videos out there to demonstrate LumenRT but this is the one that is close to what we are trying to achieve…

Now this one is by far the most powerful of the three I’m going to show to you people… It is also the most resource hog. But what the heck… I can definitely say if you got the cash to spare then grab this one but for the casual VN dev… this software is kinda overkill… In a nutshell, LumenRT behaves more like a game engine than an architectural software which is good or bad depending on which side you are on but personally, I have nothing bad to say about this especially after trying their trial version that enabled me to produce way better BG’s than I have before… It’s commercial so same thing as the previous two…

Click HERE to learn more about LumenRT

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Now I know there has to be a way to embed and bake textures in Sketchup conveniently unlike the one I did with the first image. If anyone out there knows how, may I humbly request to be pointed in the right direction… it also helps if the software is free since I know most VN devs out there cannot afford the software I listed above…

3 comments

  1. You don’t need to bake textures, I think. All you need, as I can understand, is a real-time renderer for SketchUp model. Am I right? If so, then for such kind of render job you can use free Unity engine. There are bunch of “how-to-do-that” tutorials.


    • Well… that is true… but I wanted to take it a step further by only using tools that are easy and free to use even for the absolute beginner and make a set of easy to follow procedures so everyone can easily create BG’s for OELVN / Visual Novel purposes… Unity is nice, free and powerful but will overwhelm and most likely traumatise the typical ren’py user on his first look at Unity Engine…😄



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