Today we've finally rolled out our long-overdue Ambient Occlusion tutorial. We've designed it with the SunBurn community in mind using nothing more than XSI Mod Tool, a free program, and SunBurn. The basic idea behind the generation of the AO maps can be used in almost any modeling application as well as other free programs -- XNormal for example.
Problems and Solutions
In the making of this tutorial I ran into some snags here and there. The first biggest issue was XSI Mod Tool's FBX exporter seemed to remove any and all smoothing on meshes. The way around this was using the .XSI format. This solution opened up an opportunity for John to write up a very helpful XSI integration tutorial which can be found in step five of the AO tutorial.
How you can expand on this tutorial
This tutorial is a very basic example of how you can bake AO maps from a single basic mesh. Most of the same methods can be used with baking a high poly mesh to a low poly -- all except the portion of Step 3 involving the cloning of the low poly to be used as a high poly source. This is also meant to be used as a quick learning experience, so it contains using automatic UV unwrapping instead of the preferred method of manually unwrapping. This would be a necessity in more mesh-dense scenes. The better the UV mapping, the less seams you'll have, though they can always be manually edited later in a graphics editing program.
Here's the eyecandy.. (NOTE: the first image has no dynamic lights).
09-25-2009 9:04 PM
Alex "Turbosmooth Operator"