You may not have noticed that Blender has more than one render engine. It includes:
- Blender Render
- Blender Game
By default Blender uses the Blender Render, which is often referred to as Blender Internal. Cycles is the newer render engine. It uses NODES for many of its rendering features. While nodes are quite different from what many of us are used to, nodes mode texturing does get the process out where one can see what is happening with the render process. A person can also insert modifications into the processing stream at any point.
I like using nodes for texturing. I haven’t used them much because there was no way, at least that I knew, to bake Cycles rendered textures for use in Second Life™. Now we can.
The video shows we can bake; normal, AO, shadow, diffuse, and glossy (specular) textures/maps. With Fitted Mesh released these maps will be of greater interest to designers.
This new feature is not yet formally released. You won’t find it in Blender 2.69. I thnk this is a feature planned for 2.70. But, you can use it right now. You have to know how to get to the Blender W.I.P. builds of Blender. Go over to Blender Nation to learn how to get the ‘experimental’ branch versions.
If you download the ‘Archive’ version of the build, or of any Blender version, you can install it without affecting your other Blender versions. The Archive version comes in a ZIP file and extracts to a folder as a standalone version. You can put it on a USB thumb drive and take it with you.
Download: Blender + Cycles Bake from GraphicAll.org.
You definitely need to turn on CUDA if you computer has it. You’ll find the control in User Preferences->System.