Vertex Oven

by Forest Katsch in Scripts and Addons

Ambient occlusion in seconds.

Bake game-ready ambient occlusion in seconds without UV unwrapping or agonizingly slow Cycles bakes. Works out-of-the-box on most meshes without any tweaks, and produces bakes far faster than Cycles. The ambient occlusion data can be used in Eevee and Cycles or exported to Unity, Unreal Engine 4, or any other engine that supports vertex colors and custom shaders.

Baking ambient occlusion to vertex colors is a great way to add a little more realism into your game-ready models without needing a whole new texture.

Vertex color ambient occlusion can be used directly in Blender with Eevee and Cycles with just two nodes, in Unity with Shader Graph shaders, in Unreal Engine 4 with custom shaders, or anywhere else vertex colors and custom shaders can be used.

Why Vertex Oven?

Ambient occlusion bakes with Cycles are time-consuming, both for the artist and their computer. You need to unwrap the mesh first, and if there are multiple objects sharing a UV map, you need to tweak margins to avoid AO overlaps. Plus, you're stuck with a large AO texture that can take dozens of minutes to bake.

Vertex colors excel on low-poly geometry; if there's not much detail in the first place, the majority of the AO texture will be superfluous. In addition, while the AO texture on the left-hand side would take up anywhere from 200KB-1MB of texture memory, the vertex color model on the right only uses 8KB. Plus, on constrained systems like mobile devices, removing an AO texture and using vertex colors instead can even speed up your game.

Limitations

As Vertex Oven is based on vertex colors, there are some inevitable limitations that have no workarounds. Fundamentally, if there isn't a vertex somewhere, Vertex Oven can't calculate the ambient occlusion at that point. If your mesh has large faces, there won't be any ambient occlusion on the face itself; only at the vertices. This is fine for most meshes, but could cause obviously incorrect ambient occlusion in some cases. Unfortunately, the only solution in this case is to add extra vertices to your mesh.

Support

If you buy Vertex Oven on Blender Market, you will get access to every future Vertex Oven update for free. Plus, you're helping me to create more addons in the future

If you have any questions about Vertex Oven, let me know (click on Ask a Question on the right side of this page, or email me at [email protected]) and I'll answer them as soon as possible.