Monday, May 9th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Handplane 3d releases Handplane Baker for free

Handplane 3d has released Handplane Baker, a new free baking tool. The software is intended as a simple, fast way to generate common geometry-based texture maps for use in standard game engines.

The evolution of Handplane
You may be familiar with Handplane Baker’s precursor, simply known as Handplane, which developers Alec Moody and Luke Hodorowicz described as a “tangent space calculator” rather than a map baker.

The software used a low-poly model and an object space normal map to generate tangent space normals in a format common game engines could process, as discussed in this Polycount thread.

Bake common games map types from high-res source sculpts
In contrast, Handplane Baker is a fully fledged baker, capable of generating geometry-based maps like ambient occlusion, cavity and curvature for a low-poly mesh from a high-poly source.

The software handles very dense source meshes – the video above shows a 20-million-poly ZBrush sculpt – since “decimating your ZBrush sculpts takes longer than simply exporting and baking”.

It also uses a projection grouping system to generate accurate bakes without the need to explode models.

Map types generated include AO (either via a post process or raycasting), cavity, curvature, object or tangent space normal, height, vertex colour and volumetric gradient – the latter a kind of 3D Z-Depth map.

The software also generates material IDs, either as a regular flat map or a layered PSD document.

The workflow is simple enough to be covered in the 10-minute demo video, and the online documentation explains the relevant settings to use for different versions of the Source, Unity and Unreal engines.

Handplane Baker is available for Windows only. It’s still officially in alpha. The software is free, but you have the option to make a voluntary donation via Gumroad when downloading it.

Read more about Handplane Baker on Handplane 3d’s website

Download Handplane Baker from Gumroad
(Enter a figure of ‘$0’ to download the software for free)