What is a Cage Mesh for baking? #
A cage is a copy of your low poly that expands outward to enclose the high poly. Generally, it’s best for the cage to extend just far enough to cover the highest points of the high poly. If the cage extends too far, it can cause problems with complex meshes with overlaps or tight corners.
Types of Cages #
There are two types of cages, smoothed and unsmoothed. You can set the cage type in the Geometry settings of the Baker object.
When determining the projection direction, a smoothed (or averaged) cage ignores the low poly mesh normals. Smoothing the cage is essential to ensure the baked result is seamless, with no gaps in the projection along hard edges. This type of cage is recommended for most purposes.
An unsmoothed cage uses the explicit mesh normals of the low poly for projection. This method results in gaps or seams at hard-edge borders and is generally not recommended. The main benefit of this method is that it can result in less skewed detail. However, Toolbag’s skew painting tool can easily clean up skewed problems.
Adjusting the Cage #
1. Clicking on the Low bake group in the hierarchy will bring up the Cage settings. Cages tell the rays the maximum distance to fire. This helps control the rays on concave faces from projecting onto themselves or other faces.
2. To see your cage, make the high-poly visible (blue material applied for visibility), then apply a colored material to the high poly. You can set the Cage Opacity slider to full to easily spot when the high-poly is clipping through. You want the cage to cover the entire high-poly to capture it completely. As shown below, errors will appear when the high-poly is not fully encapsulated.
3. Using the Cage Min Offset and Max Offset controls, you can adjust to about 95% and then use Paint Offset to adjust the cage on a vertex level by painting white or black. Use a large brush to paint the map 50 value and adjust for both push and pull influence.
4. Skew is the ability to adjust the ray direction. Try it out on bolts or things that don’t look 100% straight.