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Baking and procedural patterns

I am actually interested in baking pastries too, but I think I shall tackle that in the fall maybe, when it gets cooler. Let's talk about baking procedural patterns instead!

A few months back I wrote about the challenges and solutions of Material Layering. The post was quite useful for a lot of old and new friends. More questions came up, and since I joined Allegorithmic I learned much more about extra-pixarian approaches. In this post I'll focus on patterns and baking.
The composition of a Material Taking a step back, Materials like a "painted dusty metal" are effectively plug-ins to a renderer (like RenderMan). In a physically based renderer, the Integrator is responsible to answer to the question "what color is this pixel"? To do that, the Integrator asks questions to the Materials and to the Lights.
A material can be conceptually split into Patterns and Bxdf, or shader. The shader is responsible for the illumination response component, and it has a num…

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