Sid Lilja (ohem)

26 answers · asked · Lesson: Map Baking with Blender Render · Course: Fundamentals of Texturing

This lesson is going way too fast...


This lesson is going way too fast without explaining most of the actions you do, you click through and through but nothing is really conveyed. It appears to me it you had a hard time explaining this part of the fundamentals and just went for the accomplishing methodology. I've no analogy to go by in relating what most modifiers do and why enabling & disabling some settings you perform works and others don't. As of now I won't be able to complete the quiz.

I think you should redo this lesson and make it longer for the sake of a more comprehensive and pragmatic approach.

But if you planned to have this lesson slightly incoherent you should instead focus on showing baking but with more demonstration and explain what the use for it is.

  • crew

    I apologize for the confusion. Honestly I'm afraid I do have trouble relating to absolute beginners. But I get a variety of feedback and I'm not sure how to juggle it. Literally one day I get "[your tutorials are] inspiring in their relentless thoroughness" and the next day "this is too fast and not comprehensive".

    That said, I think what's going to help us both is understanding where you're at with Blender and 3D in general. How would you describe your experience level?

  • I'd say beginner, while this lesson is fast and pragmatic in the context of getting "things done" it leaves fields and maps you only now touch upon as opposed to prior without conveying what their roles are; The different bake modes for example, but you do mention few will be covered later on so I don't have to reserve myself wondering what they are - and what difference they could make in my capabilities or end product. But it still left me without the functional definition of the used mode as well what Multires means (I can go by deduction and assume multiresolution, but I shouldn't need to guess).

    The thing is; You seem to project the expectations on "us" (i.e. the beginners) knowing what those aforementioned fields are. While you guide through you've sequentially gone through one area after another for the sake of pragmatism. You also leave the viewer in confusion on how, and maybe why, the "weariness" on the model high res isn't applied to the lowres. This lesson feels more fit being a practice for the texturing and shading sections.

    I hope i was clear enough, I tend to repeat.

  • Same. IMO This lesson went way too fast with very little explanation.  What is a 'normal'? What does baking actually do? What is 'multires'? I mean, from watching and following the video, I think I get a vague idea, but I'm not sure how helpful me having a 'vague idea' will be :\

    I think most of us here are here *because* we are beginners, trying to learn... and because you know what you're doing and talking about, I think you forget that most of us are following the learning flow and don't know what you're talking about!  I think the general order of this course is OK [I think it changed recently, and this version is definitely much easier to follow - I remember it just jumping to textures from something 100% unrelated before] and so far I haven't had any problems understanding anything else but this particular lesson was very hard to follow.

    There's also a bit near the end where you say "as you remember, requires a light source"... where would I remember this from? lol I don't recall covering any of this previously xD

  • crew

    Thanks for the clarification oohem and ppunkrockpea. Again I admit that yes, after 10+ years of doing this stuff I'm skeptical of my ability to relate to and convey CG concepts at a purely beginner level. So surely some of the issue is me. But in watching the video, I still stand behind my approach.

    I believe the beginner context is merely introducing the idea of "texture baking", which I think I did and which is evidenced by your feedback. However once we get into the specifics of types of map baking we're entering into intermediate and advanced levels, which this course is not intended to teach - just point toward. The specifics of what a normal map is or multi-res is less important in this course. My goal was to demo the concept of those things in the context of baking, which I think I did well enough. After watching again I don't know how I could have better demo'd the effect of a normal map and baking high-resolution data from multi-res.

    While I'm not a perfect instructor and the course is certainly cannot perfect, perhaps on your end there's some incorrect expectations for this course. I would argue a beginner shouldn't come to this course expecting to learn all the ins and outs of normal maps or multi-res. You should only come to this lesson expecting to learn the concept of baking. However in order to execute a baking workflow on your own - which is maybe your expectation - you'll need to understand the specifics of normal maps and multi-res. We have other content aimed at those specific things, but this course is not in that scope. This blog article details normal maps and this lesson explains multi-res.

    As for the "as you remember, requires a light source" bit, I [obscurely] touched on that idea in this previous lesson of the course starting at 1:30 (where I mention the lighting information thanks to the default lamp in the scene). To your point, it's not likely viewers will remember that reference..but I also mention that several times in other courses covering texture painting in the viewport. Making so many courses, my memories can weave in and out.

    Anyway, I hope this explanation helps. We've had a lot of people learn well from this course and the Learning Flow it's part of, so I know it a solid curriculum to some extent. If we get an overwhelming amount of criticism like this, rest assured we'll re-record it. We'll likely have to do that anyway once Blender 2.8 is released.

    • "However once we get into the specifics of types of map baking we're entering into intermediate and advanced levels "

      I have to disagree slightly here. If it's a beginner course where we don't know what baking is or what types of maps there are and what they do, I think it's exactly the place where you want to explain this. Showing texture baking from a bird's eye view would work as part of an explanation to what baking is but you can't start baking normal maps when we don't know what they are or what they do. I think the main problem is pacing and Baking should be it's own section separate from UV mapping.

      Sorry not trying to come of as preachy but it's really frustrating because even knowing what the types of maps are I still feel lost.

      Thanks for taking the time to read feedback.

  • "While I'm not a perfect instructor and the course is certainly cannot perfect, perhaps on your end there's some incorrect expectations for this course...."

    I'll admit I do enter a lesson with certain expectations, with 1-2-3 steps with clear and concise explanations to boot. This lesson comes with a surprise when it's no longer in the same pedigree, hence my harsh(?) criticism. But oh boy does that sentence invite the thought "It's either no one's fault or its both"-route.

    Since this lesson includes methodology it easily fools the student to follow every step of the way, copying yours - and if I'm allowed to create an analogy here: Jesse Pinkman from the TV serises "Breaking Bad" delivers a line where he conveys he doesn't know HOW to make phenylacetic acid, he just goes to the barrel with a "P" on it.

    To me this lesson would make more sense without the methodology and just present the results, explain why (which you already do at a later point in the video) and correlate it to a "facial transplant".

    I don't mean to escalate the discussion, so apologies if I come excusing my own shortcomings.

    • crew

      I wouldn't say your criticism is harsh oohem nor do I think you're escalating at all. You've been respectful and valid with your crits. I've heard criticism like this enough that for whatever reason I decided to dialogue more in this thread than any other. Mainly because I want to understand better the disconnect between me, beginners, and this course/lesson.

      You're hitting on some interesting points about methodology. I grew disenchanted with the term "tutorial" soon after beginning to teach full time with CGC because computer graphics isn't a step 1-2-3 kind of thing. While that method can be used to teach anyone how to get a result, it's much less helpful for teaching the concepts that people need to understand to do something in Blender without a tutorial. We're devoted to the latter which is why we actively avoid the step 1-2-3 method.

      That line from Breaking Bad is perfect for people we're less interested in teaching because that type of person isn't interested in learning. For example, when I need to replace the headlight bulb in my car, I go to youtube for a "tutorial" in the strictest sense of the word. I want a step 1-2-3 video to tell me exactly how to swap out my bulb. But I actually have zero interest in understanding the process more than this isolated instance. Once I finish swapping the bulb that info is deleted from my brain and I'll never consider it again until that bulb blows months/years later.

      All that to say, while I understand that our use of the word "tutorial" has evolved into a shot in our own foot, it's truly not the kind of teaching we aspire to. In this lesson I use demonstration to illustrate the concept. That's different to me from 1-2-3 methodology because it's illustrative more than it's strictly instructional.

      If you're expectation is more 1-2-3 methodology, my question would be "What are you trying to do with Blender? Have fun with a new hobby? Do a cool thing that you saw someone else do? Or learn the trade at a professional level?"

    • I believe we both have different outlook on the Breaking Bad analogy as what you're telling doesn't fall in line with my conveyance. I have been forthcoming with how "incoherent" this lesson is and if you still feel it's within what you think is best - then alright, I'll trust your judgement.

      When someone asks what my motivations are, then it's getting personal and that rise red flags for me. So I'll leave it at that.

    • crew

      oohem I apologize - I mean no offense. I often ask those questions of our members. It's important to know how our members are approaching our training. A video or course is very different depending on the answer to that question. Youtube is full of hobbyist-oriented tutorials that simply offer a method to achieve a result but teach very little in terms of an adaptable understanding of workflow. Whereas we strive to teach the latter; in a way that produces professional-level Blender artists.

      I was asking you genuinely not as an accusation. Yes it was personal because we have a huge spectrum of demographic. For this conversation I need to know how you are approaching our training because you're going to be unique compared to others approaching our training.

      My apologies again for any offense - I thought my affirmation of our conversation as valid and respectful at the opening of my last message would have put to bed any suspicion that offensive inclinations were at play.

    • Alright you seem genuine enough so I'll set my caution aside, it's otherwise how I protect myself from further manipulation(s).

      What I meant with the BB analogy is that when I refer to the process "goes to the barrel with a P on it" is what I relate to regarding this particular lesson, you show how you do it but I don't understand the process. And so with the 1-2-3 is what I relate to with the lessons prior to this one, where I learned and understood.

      What I want to with Blender can vary, if I spent enough time to accomplish good enough results sure it may come into more professional level - until then it'll be focused on my own creativity. Some ideas are homages, others entirely original, few are game assets for prototyping, the rest are really dark humor. (See Cyanide & Happniess, example )

    • crew

      oohem Thanks, that example and explanation helps me better gauge where you're at and how you're approaching our training/this course. If 2D animation more what you're interested in, you may find this course/lesson interesting.

    • Good that my point "finally" came through, but it's not as much as 2D animation I refered but the type of humor that resides in me and only used C&H as an example.

  • As this is discussion is already fresh I'll simply add an extra piece of perspective for someone who is also new as well. My expectation was to come into this with an idea of what is baking and why use it and hopefully get an idea of how is it done partially.  

    The flow of the video starts by seeming to have me have an understanding of what is baking before getting directly into talking about various settings of the tool. Along with going into other topics I am not familiar with such as GLSL shading, Highres Modifier, Ambient Occlusion, and some other stuff. There are many questions and it becomes apparent this is not a just follow along video and I'll understand everything. I need to learn some topics and come back to this video series at a later time before trying to implement baking. It is a more complex topic than say UW mapping.

    The main thing I feel I was able to take away from this is that baking allows one to bypass render time calculations by doing it ahead of time and store the information in a source which can be made readily available (image file). As retrieving information is probably faster than doing all new calculations. I think when I attempt to render a scene all baked objects do not have to be recalculated and speeds up the final render time. You can seemingly do this with a variety of things judging by the list and the biggest function of baking seems to be for storing calculations on lighting.

    In any case this is my take away from the video and how I will have to adapt to the content material given how it is structured. I am not sure if that is your intent, but I think it achieved the goal of introducing baking's existence and giving me some idea of what it is and how it is implemented in Blender. Though I feel there is certainly more to learn before I can start trying to implement it at all in some meaningful way.

  • For everyone in this discussion I would like to state my perspective as I have experienced blender modeling for like 6-8 months already. Despite my experience I have never used a normal or displacement map even though I have quality game assets made before I got membership here which I will be selling very soon. Even though you all are fresh to blender the intimidation and difficulty of  learning new stuff like normal maps and displacement maps are same as mine. Even if you have a spontaneous experience of adapting to lessons then at first you will feel overwhelmed with the lessons as you are feeling right now. At this phase i'd recommend to practice with what they are doing even if you don't know what you're doing. Even though you may feel the process i stated is useless but trust me I'm speaking from past experience. This helped me to get over a ton of problems like these. But when all the pieces start coming together everything that you thought went over your head will become self-explanatory. If learning 3D was not a hurdle then everyone would be an artist by now. I have watched a lot of tutorials on these maps like literally the whole YouTube, but trust me no one explained in such a way that Kent did. Just repeat what he does and I've seen that library of this place contains everything so even if you are not able to understand the topic this time later on you will encounter the same topic with different context. And also you can ask as many question to them and they are bound to answer you.

    I hope this helps and if you get what I'm saying then I think you have got your answer.

  • I'm feeling better after reading this thread. I had assumed it was just me who was completely lost by the sudden transition in style between the videos.  With the UV mapping and painting I had Blender open on one screen and was pausing the video and trying things out - this is a valid teaching/learning technique, it's not just copying moves 1,2 and 3.  I tried out different things, made mistakes etc.  I'm a complete beginner here.  To me baking is something to do with cakes!  In the other videos new terms are explained.  After a first watch of this video and realizing I had no idea what was going on, I googled some of the terms so know a bit more now.  To me there is a real jump with this video and no clear relation to what has gone before.  I tried to "bake" what I had previously created, so a painted texture on the monkey, it looked odd.  I then created a blank bake image as you did and got that to work again on the monkey so that was a success. However, I'm still not really sure what baking is achieving in terms of the model work flow.  I'm really enjoying these courses and have learnt a lot in a short amount of time, so this definitely is not a complaint, just a request to slow this one down a bit, include a bit less info and maybe link to what was done in the previous videos more.

  • I'm in agreement with the other comments here: As a beginner I've spent about an hour on this video, frequently rewinding and re-watching small 30 second clips to try and follow what's going on. This is the first video I've reached in this learning flow where I've had to do this.

    It's not a huge issue for me personally, I don't expect to understand everything the first time, but I just thought I'd mention that I found that this went a little too fast like the others mentioned above.
  • crew

    My apologies for the frustration you and others are experiencing. I put a lot of work into this course; my best effort to teach introductory Blender/3D concepts like texturing and shading.

    We'll have to redo this course when 2.8 comes out. I'll make sure someone else teaches these topics in the introductory context.

  • EDIT: Getting to the ax painting exercise forced me to come back and give this a second watch. The struggles of actually doing the thing gave me a focus that was lacking on my first watch, and I got a lot more out of the second viewing—particularly the painting videos. Teasing the ax at the beginning of this course might be a good idea, that way I understand right up front that I'm going to be learning some concepts and techniques that will build up to creating that thing. Absent that context, I think the videos on the first go around seem a little random.

    Hi Kent. I'm not here to pile on; rather, I think I can help provide a little more perspective that may help you guys out when you redo this course for 2.8. First off, I definitely understood the gist of this course, so it's not like this was a failure. That being said, the specifics of watching you demonstrate and explain things in this section of the beginner flow made me think I had missed a few videos, or that I was viewing it out of order. I really think the only problem is how things were framed. Taking the baking video as an example, I think this may have been more useful as a higher level demonstration of the consequence of not baking (when it makes sense to do so) by steering us into the actual problem first and then introducing the solution that is baking. While then demo'ing how we would do this and showing us the end result, stress that it's not important for us to fully understand the details and methodology yet. Doing so frees the user from the anxiety of not internalizing every jot and tittle of what you're doing and instead allows them to focus on understanding the big picture view of WHAT this is and WHY it's good to know going forward.

    To sum up: it's perfectly ok to introduce more advanced processes or ideas while explaining a beginner concept so long as you make it clear which parts are not yet important to understand. Without those prompts, the beginner has to assume that everything being shown is vital to know before proceeding, and then they've immediately hit a wall and frustration follows. I think in this case it's not so much that you introduced advanced things, it's more that the HOW overwhelmed the WHAT and the WHY, where a little reassurance that the HOW wasn't too important right now may have been all that was needed to get the intended message across.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I had another thought that kind of connects up to what I said above. Sometimes it can actually be helpful to show more advanced things when they're easier to relate to than something that is so simple it's not even practical. I think as beginners, we've all come here with ideas in our head of things we want to make, and it's that inspiration that can get us through some of the early barriers. Something that I struggled with on the texture painting videos was that there was a disconnect between what you were showing and what I would hope to some day create. Obviously my ultimate goal is not to be making low poly monkey heads with splotches of paint thrown on it, so while I knew what you were showing had a point and you wanted it to be simple and unintimidating, I wasn't sure how this was actually going to help me down the road. When I think of professional assets, I wondered how what you were showing would actually be used, and then I feared you were showing methods that are going to be quickly overshadowed by more advanced texturing approaches. That disincentivized me from wanting to spend too much time or thought on those videos.

    Hopefully this is received as constructive criticism and helps in some way. I'm definitely loving the site so far and have learned quite a bit.

  • I think the problem is this is being taught as a co-worker would teach a 3D professional coming into Blender for the first time but this course is one of the beginner courses in the 3D modeling fundamental learning flow. Most people start here, they don't know what baking is, what normal maps are etc. etc. and this just dumps a TON of information on the unsuspecting student that until now haven't even modeled anything yet. Now combine this with the completely new interface of 2.8 and you have a recipe for disaster. I think UV maping and Baking should have their own sections at least.

    I'm coming here from Maya and Substance painter, I know how to bake and have modeled and textured complex objects, still I ended giving up at this lesson and my free trial ends tomorrow. I can't continue because I try to follow the steps and don't get any results. For example Blender 2.8 doesn't have Blender Render, the options are different and I keep getting an "Object not selected Error" even tough I selected all faces on the scenes and made an Image file.

    I think this tutorial needs to be completely remade and slowed down. It needs to start with a project the student can follow and teach what baking is, why you need it, what are the kinds of maps, what are they used for, how/when to make each one etc. Just dumping everything at once into someone who is just starting doesn't work.

    Hope this helps, and I enjoyed the learning paths even tough I didn't get far. I hope they fix them because right now I'm sorry to say that Youtube may be the better option since I can imagine how more complicated subjects will be a lot worse to follow than this.


  • I'm going to offer my perspective as respectfully as I can.

    I appreciate the frustration that some have experienced while watching this, but I personally feel it's down to a misinterpretation as to the purpose of this course. Granted, a lot of the other videos you could follow along as it progressed and recreate the steps, but that wasn't really the intention, in my view, of this course at all. It's an "Introduction" to Blender which, using someone else's analogy of a new starter at a company, is like the first part of the meeting where your new manager quickly goes over "these are your responsibilities". They wouldn't expect you to be able to go off and fulfill your job, it's just an overview of what you'll be doing with more in-depth and detailed looks into your responsibilities following later.

    This course is the same, it's just introducing the concepts to you, covering the Blender set of tools and features available to you and giving you an idea of their application and results. Whetting your appetite for what other videos/courses will be covering in detail. I think we can all agree that an Introduction is not meant to fully detail something, more to give us a brief overview of something before we engage with that something and learn about it properly.

    I'd recommend people simply watch the video, listening intently, and maybe making notes about what's covered, to understand what Blender is capable of. Then, as you move on to other courses that are more specific, you will suddenly learn a huge amount more about a particular feature and have the "oh, I remember this!" moment.

    3D modelling is a vastly deep and complex discipline, and fully detailing all of these features in the first course for beginners wouldn't be an effective way to create engagement and spark interest. A video fully detailing all of the ins and outs and options of baking would be hours long and would likely fail to properly impart any meaningful knowledge without context. This course is to give you an overview, with in-depth and context rich courses continuing the topic separately when it's applicable and appropriate.

    • crew

      You hit the nail on the head ddonalds. Thanks for contributing your perspective as it aligns with my intention when recording the course.

      This is however the most constructively criticized course of mine and I hear it loud and clear. Aligned perspectives is important for this specific course to be understood but I realize now that I should adjust my perspective to more closely align with the intended audience rather than expect them to adjust theirs to mine. We will be rerecording / restructuring this course for 2.8 in the coming months with this feedback in mine.

    • Hi Kent! Glad my reasoning/rationale wasn't too unresonable or irrational! I do understand the feedback, though, and agree that rerecording the course for Blender 2.8 is a valid and worthwhile investment. My answer was merely an attempt to alleviate frustration on all sides and give my perspective.

      I just wanted to say thanks to all of you at CG Cookie for the great content! Times have changed a lot recently and you guys are doing an incredible job of improving your communication and value of the content, keeping it relevant, fun, and informative.

    • crew

      That means a lot ddonalds! It's been a bit of a rollercoaster for us  to keep prepared for 2.8's release and all the changes happening within as well as how to best guide this community through it. It's very encouraging and motivating to hear your feedback. Thank you!