Baking Textures in Blender

I just spent the last hour in Blender trying to bake a diffuse texture from a model created with photogrammetry to a lo-poly model created in Blender. I checked and double checked every setting. I went back to tutorials that I watched years ago. I looked for new issues that might be caused by the latest version. I finally found the problem.
The software I use for photogrammetry is Zephyr. It outputs the textured models in several formats. The two formats that can be imported into Blender or OBJ and FBX. I chose FBX. I chose poorly.
No matter what I did, I could not bake the texture from the FBX model to a low poly model.
When I went back to Zephyr and exported as OBJ, all my problems went away.

We’re gonna blow a 60 amp fuse

A classic song lyric goes,

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
We’re gonna vent our frustration
If we don’t, we going blow a 50-amp fuse

You Can’t Always Get What Your Want by the Rolling Stones

I wasn’t frustrated, but I beat them by 10 amps. This week I blew a couple of 60 amp fuses. As a reminder that I need to order more spares, I have two blown fuses on my desk. I decided that they could be used to test what kind of results I can get modeling with photogrammetry. I get questionable results when I have labels that are on a cylindrical surfaces. Since your eye knows what to look for when looking at text, texture errors in the labels really stands out.

The following story is about how I converted the photogrammetry model into a good mesh with good topology. If you’re interested in how I messed up and blew a couple 60 amp fuses, then jump to the end.

Continue reading “We’re gonna blow a 60 amp fuse”

Photogrammetry for Old Machines

When I am tasked with modeling old equipment, I like to do a photo scan (photogrammetry) first. This allows me to go back when I’m done with the design and compare important features. If you have ever made a part and then discovered it was off by 1″ when you went to install it, you’ll understand the value of this.

I once designed a bracket for a generator. I used a tape measure to draw the as received part. Normally, when I use a tape measure, I don’t use the end of the tape. I just don’t trust that the end isn’t bent or the slot in the tape that allows the end to move 1/16″ isn’t damaged. I line up one edge with 10″ and then take the measurement subtracting 10″ from what I read on the other end.

Well…I use 10″ now. I used to measure by lining up the first edge with 1″ and this created the problem with the generator bracket because I forgot to subtract the 1″. The bracket was about 20″ tall and I forgot to subtract the 1″ from the measurement. If I had started with 10″, my error would have been obvious when I was drawing the new bracket.

The lesson learned was that initial measurements are sometimes wrong. If you are modifying a design, that initial photo scan can tell you alot.

So…today I scanned a fluid drive. This is an old American Standard Size 315 Gyrol fluid drive. The size “315” refers to the diameter of the oil circuit inside the fluid drive where 315 = 31.5″.

Even though 99.999% of artist don’t know what a fluid drive is or how it works, they may find the old authentically dirty look an interesting addition to an industrial scene. I didn’t do much work after scanning it. So if you want to use it in a large scene, you may want to decimate it a bit.

Blender Quick Tip – Photogrammetry Lighting

Photogrammetry scans already come with their own lighting. When using these scans in Blender, you can get a natural look and speeds up Blender with a few clicks.


  1. Put the 3D viewport into the solid mode. You can click the solid circle in the upper right corner or hit the “Z” key and then slide your mouse to the right.
  2. Click the shading option arrow next to the shading modes in the upper right corner
  3. The lighting default is “Studio”. Change it to “Flat”
  4. The color default is “Material”. Change it to “Texture”