Simplebake - Simple Pbr And Other Baking In Blender

by HaughtyGrayAlien in Addons

SimpleBake and Blender 3.6

***NOTE: This is now fixed as of Blender 3.6.1***

Unfortunately, there’s a pretty major bug in Blender 3.6 that causes the UV packing operator to crash when called from a script. The main bug report is here.

According to the Blender devs, this bug should be fixed in Blender 3.6.1 when it is released.

I will be bringing all the new options for UV packing to SimpleBake, however, it’s not going to be possible until Blender 3.6.1 is released. In the meantime, SimpleBake will unfortunately crash with Blender 3.6 when using any of the following options:

  • Smart UV Project (Atlas)
  • Combine Actie UVs (Atlas)

Until this is fixed, my best advice is to create your UV maps outside of SimpleBake. The bug does not affect manual use of the new UV packing operator, so packing UV maps yourself should be fine.

I have a baking artifact or other issue with my baked images

Check out the list of common baking issues in case it's covered there.

I get the error "SimpleBake.ui is not a package"

You have somehow ended up with a mix of SimpleBake files. You have files from both the pre-Blender 3.0 version of SimpleBake and the post-Blender 3.0 version of SimpleBake. That's confusing things and causing the error.

Check out the question "SimpleBake on Blender 3.0 keeps telling me it's the 2.93 version and won't run". It's a different issue, but the same solution.

TLDR - manually go into your addons folder and delete the SimpleBake files. Then start fresh with the zip file from Blender Market.

I clicked the Red button for auto-update in addon preferences, but nothing happens!

This is a problem that seems to be affecting a small number of Windows users. I am still looking for the cause.

A workaround is to run Blender as administrator (right click, select "Run as administrator"). Then install the SimpleBake update in addon preferences.

I suspect it's an issue with the SimpleBake script not having permissions to write to the directory where SimpleBake is stored, but it doesn't affect me when I test on Windows - so it's hard to diagnose at the moment.

SimpleBake on Blender 3.0 keeps telling me it's the 2.93 version and won't run

When you upgraded to Blender 3.0, you might have asked Blender to copy your 2.93 settings over to Blender 3.0.

If you did, you might have ended up with the Blender 2.93 version of SimpleBake in your addons folder for Blender 3.0.

This can cause problems and confusion when trying to install and/or update the Blender 3.0 version of SimpleBake. The new files get mixed up with the old files that were already there.

If you experience problems you need to:

  1. go into your addons folder for Blender 3.0*;
  2. manually delete any SimpleBake folders that you see;
  3. download the correct zip file from Blender Market; and
  4. unzip the SimpleBake folder into your addons folder.

You have done this correctly if you end up with .....blender/3.0/scripts/addons/SimpleBake/[all the SimpleBake files]

You will then probably need to auto-update SimpleBake, as the version on Blender Market is only updated occasionally. I rely on users using the auto-update feature to always have the latest version.

*If you’ve never had to find you addons folder before, see this link -

I've baked my textures.. where are they and what now?

Once the bake is complete, your textures will be available within Blender. You can see them by going to the UV Image editor, and selecting one of them as the displayed image.

SimpleBake includes an option to automatically export your textures on creation. In this case, your textures will be saved into a folder called "SimpleBake_Bakes" (or whatever name you inputted on the SimpleBake panel) created in the same place as your blend file is saved.

If you have selected the "Copy objects and apply baked textures" option, you will find an object in the new "SImpleBake_Bakes" collection with your baked materials applied. If you also enabled the option to save your bakes externally, that material will refer to your externally saved images.

It is important to appreciate that SimpleBake does not change the materials on your original objects (to ensure your hard work is not ruined!). After a bake, your original object(s) should look the same in the viewport, and your materials should be the same.

If you want to use the baked textures that you just created on your original objects (i.e. you didn't use the "Copy objects and apply bakes" option in SimpleBake), you will need to change your materials to refer to them (i.e. plug them all into a Principled BSDF), and make sure you have the correct UVmap selected. This is either your original UVmap or, if you checked the "Generate UVs" option, the new UV map created by SimpleBake. This is basically you doing manually what the "Copy objects and apply baked textures" feature mentioned above does for you automatically.

If you checked the box for "Export Mesh" when baking, a copy of your object will be saved externally (in the same folder mentioned above). This copy of your object is ready to accept your textures. It includes only the UV map you used for baking, and only one placeholder (blank) material per object. You could re-import this into Blender if you wished, but it's more common to take that exported mesh and baked textures to another program or service (e.g. uploading to Sketchfab).

How do I know when there is an updated version of SimpleBake

If there is a newer version of SimpleBake than the one you have installed, you will see a notification at the top of the SimpleBake panel alerting to you to this fact.

You can then go into the add-on preferences for SimpleBake and use the auto-update function to update to the newest version.

There is also a link there to the release notes, so you can see what is included in the new update.

What is the "Bake maps to target" feature and how do I use it?

This is demonstrated in my demo video (linked on the main Blender Market page.

"Bake maps  to target" allows you to specify a different mesh (the "Target Object") to the mesh(s) with the materials you are baking (the "Source Object(s)").

The Target Object is typically a low poly version of the Source Object(s), allowing you to essentially transfer the materials from the latter to the former. This is a common workflow for game development. The end result is one object (the Target Object) with the materials of the Source Object(s) projected onto it.

This process uses Selected to Active baking in Blender. The Target Object and the Source Object(s) must share the same space. You must also specify a Ray Distance and (optionally) a cage. You can think of it as rays reaching out from all points of the Target Object (at the distance you specify) and "finding" the Source Object(s). When a ray hits, it returns the part of the Source Object(s) material that it found, and that gets projected onto the Target Object.

Any general tips?

Firstly, here as some common issues and pitfalls.

More generally:

Start by baking at low resolution (128x128 or 512x512). Check that everything looks OK before moving on to the higher resolution bake.

Look at SimpleBake's output in the terminal/console. This gives you an idea of what's happening step by step. If something is happening that you don't expect, you can usually see why from what's being written to the console.

Baking is too slow - any tips?

Baking with Blender (or, more accurately, with Cycles) will never be instant. It depends a lot on what you are baking and speed of your computer.

SimpleBake makes a number of adjustments to your settings to try and streamline the baking process. That said, if it's still slow, there are some things to consider:

  1. For CyclesBake, your render sample count matters! - Unlike PBRBake, CyclesBake uses your render sample count. Just like when rendering an image, you need to find a balance between sample count (and so quality) and time taken. If CyclesBake is too slow, try reducing your render sample count. Note this has no relevance to PBRBake.
  2. Texture size always matters - At the risk of insulting your intelligence, baking a set of 8k textures is going to take considerably longer than baking a set of 1k textures... consider the resolution that you really need. This applies whatever type of baking you are doing.
  3. Don't forget the memory usage option if baking on GPU - At the bottom of the SimpleBake panel you have an option for memory usage. The higher you set this, the faster the baking will be. That said, set it too high, and Blender will fall over.
I don't understand the difference between PBR Map Bake and Cycles Bake. What is Cycles Bake?

This is explained in my demo video (linked on the main Blender Market page.

The primary purpose of SimpleBake is to bake PBR maps from materials created around the Principled BSDF and Emission shaders (only those shaders, or it's not really PBR). This is what a PBR Map Bake is, and it allows you to bake PBR compatible image maps such as Diffuse, Metal, Normal, Transmission etc. Other programs and services (like Sketchfab) are set up to work with those kinds of PBR maps.

However, SimpleBake can also bake the more "traditional" bake modes that Blender offers. You can see these in the Bake panel in Blender, usually the one above SimpleBake itself. SimpleBake calls this a "Cycles Bake".

When you click Cycles Bake in SimpleBake, your bake will be based upon the settings in the default bake panel. For example, if this is set to combined, your bake will be a combined bake taking into account lighting, shadows, reflection etc. You will only get one map. SimpleBake will handle all the node setup, image creation and general configuration needed for a Cycles Bake, making it a one-click solution, and not the colossal pain it usually is to set up in Blender.

These maps you get from a Cycles bake are not PBR maps, but they can still be useful. I don't do any game development, but I think materials with lighting and shadows baked in are used for game development. These are the baking modes that Blender has offered since pretty much forever, and they do have their uses.

Where can I get help?

Please contact me on Blender Market for assistance.

After uploading to Sketchfab, my transmission/opacity texture isn't working.

You will need to change the settings in Sketchfab for the transmission/opacity texture. 

Unfortunately, the Sketchfab API does not allow for this being done via a script. It must be done manually.

Format for the texture must be Luminance, and Invert Texture must be turned on. See here.

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Published over 5 years ago
Blender Version 4.0, 3.6, 3.5, 3.4, 3.3, 3.2, 3.1, 3.0
License GPL
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