Ryan Paule's Step-by-step Exploded Mesh Baking Guide

Exploded Mesh Baking

Ryan Paule gives a step-by-step guide through baking maps in Substance Painter using an exploded mesh technique.

In your modeling package of choice, group all the objects together with the low poly objects in one group and all the high poly objects in another. Make sure both groups are in the same world space.
picture of exploded mesh baking

Duplicate both groups, then hide the original low poly and high poly groups. Now select the high and low corresponding objects and move them away. Do this with all objects until there is substantial distance between each object. Example, the “outer box” high and low will still both occupy the same world space.

Exploded Mesh Tutorial

Export the “exploded” low group as an fbx, then repeat with the “exploded” high group. After this, export your original low poly group with all the objects in the original world space as an fbx as well. Inside of Substance Painter start a new project using the “exploded” low poly fbx.

Exploded Mesh Baking tutorial

Bake the mesh maps using the “exploded” high poly fbx. Once the bake is complete, navigate to the Edit menu. Continue to navigate to the Project Configuration menu.

Exploded Mesh Baking Tutorial

Press Select and choose the low poly fbx that is NOT “exploded” and press OK.

Exploded Mesh Baking Tutorial

This process enables you to make adjusts to your low poly model and preserve the baked maps, assuming the uv layout has not changed. I hope this helps achieving the next clean bake. While one can always bake by mesh name, there is still a risk of the normals being affected by touching or intersecting geometry. So if you have complex models and/ or many close objects the “exploded” method can save you time and stress!


Ryan Paule is student in GAI’s Environment Artist Bootcamp. He used exploded mesh baking for his first assignment of creating a real-time asset. Visit his Artstation to see wire frame and real-time Marmoset renders of his payphone asset.