Baking Linked Proxies / Reducing Cycles Render Times

Hey, another complicated topic brought to you by yours truly… lol

I’m currently trying to render out my project in cycles and am running into a bit of a wall here as its going to take over a week of straight rendering… which obviously isn’t happening lmao. As mentioned in the title, my project consists of 2 .blend files. One is the source file with all my modular pieces(All the data is hosted here) and the second is my Build file where I linked the collection and made proxies which I used to build my project.

The final render is (hopefully) a 2000 frame animation about 1.5mins long at 24 fps. I’ve managed to reduce render times down to under 2mins per image at 1080p by following youtube videos in removing light bounces, excess modifiers, caustics, etc etc. My next step was to bake down all my textures - and here is where I’m becoming a bit lost since this is my first real experience with baking textures outside of following the course.

I have been able to bake a diffuse image with my textures mapped appropriately by following this tutorial: as well as Blender Gurus tutorial on Cycles baking. Main issue I had was that it tinged all my textures a darker color (Bake settings set to Diffuse and Color only) and I lost a lot of quality in the linked proxy version (yes, i increased the baked image size to 2048x2048). Quality such as reflections, lighting, etc were most prominently missing.

I guess my question is this - Should I try library overrides or something to make the proxies local (now that I’m satisfied with them) and then bake within the final scene with all the lighting… or is there a way to bake in the original file and retain the colors etc, or am I misunderstanding something completely here? OR Is it even worth it to bake static objects like this?, even if they have multiple textures applied to them? I know baking is a must for importing to a game engine, ill get there. But im just trying to reduce render times for an animation by hopefully cutting down the amount of information each tile has to pull from my .blend file to render textures…

I don’t intend to sit on my hands waiting for an answer here, hopefully reviewing some of the course might help - but I figured someone more knowledgeable than me might be able to point me in the right direction.


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The only thing I can say is that you need a low poly and a high poly version of your objects.

The high version is used to bake everything. And use this bake result on your low poly versions.

But unfortunately I have no experience in this.

I too have very limited knowledge of this, but am trying to change that :slight_smile: but it is not easy! There is A LOT to learn to make it work properly and to avoid frustration. Even more so when you have simulations involved!

Lol Im at the point now that Im just going to say “screw it” and am going to render my animation in pieces over the space of about a week I suppose. 60-80hours approximately haha. Its too much work to bake everything at the moment and I’m already getting rather burnt out… Feeling like its time to move on to something better soon… Its not anything special either, I’m mostly just trying to apply as much of the skills that I learned this past winter into one big project to see if any of the knowledge i learned actually stuck lol.

Last question here;
Is there any situation where baking low-poly models with lots of textures would help achieve a faster render time? Or is it only when its high-poly to low poly? ( I also use the (apparently) new denoise feature for the compositor which is awesome!!! - check it out if you haven’t. You also need to turn on ‘Denoising Data’ under ‘Passes’ in the View layer to attach the noisy, denoising, and albedo nodes to the denoise Node in the Compositor, but it sped up my render times considerably when setup properly!).

Low Poly vs. High Poly, involve less vertices, less memory, less node fuzz. Just mapping a bitmap.
It should also speed up render times. It’s the way games are build. Low poly in the back, and when approaching the camera the model detail will increase (it’s fundamental for a game engine).

I saw a long time ago, a YouTube video of blender zooming in from space in to a very highly detailed planet surface, dealing with this type of problems. Too technical for me at that moment.

The simple animation I made took me also a lot of render days. I broke it down in many scenes (blender files). rendering to .PNG files. It is a wrong project approach to render everything for the movie in one run.
It’s also good to render the animation in the fast ‘workbench’ (openGL) mode. Too see if everything goes as expected.

I render at night, starting some times 4 blender instances. making it slow. But using 100% of the computer capacity.
The see the video, deciding to change things, render the same scenes the next night.

You can can also go to a render farm …

I would say don’t give up! take a step by step approach. Try to solve one problem at the time.

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