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Bake In Blender - Matcap To Texture

Bake In Blender - Matcap To Texture

I want to bake a Matcap into a texture in Blender!

So, here is a summary of the procedure for baking MatCap in Blender. I'll try to keep it as brief as possible.

Advance Preparation
  • Prepare objects to be Matcap baked
  • Expand the object's UVs
  • Prepare the MatCap image you want to bake


*Please also refer to the UV expansion in Blender article when expanding UVs.


This article corresponds to the long-term supported version Blender 3.3 LTS.


Steps to bake Matcap in Blender


(1) Change Blender viewport to Matcap display

First, change the Blender viewport to Matcap view.

Show 3D View Shading as solid and click the ▽ Click on the area.
Select [Matcap] from the list of three buttons: [Studio], [Matcap], and [Flat].

Select MatCap display from view shading


The viewport will now be in Matcap view. Clicking on the sphere thumbnail below the [Matcap] button will display the Matcap image that is provided by default. You can change the appearance by selecting it.

You can change the appearance of the MatCap image by selecting it.


(2) Installe Matcap images in Blender

You can create your Matcap images and install them in Blender.

Prepare a 512 x 512 sized image, saved as jpg or png. In this case, we will use this image.

MatCap image for this bake


To install the Matcap image, in the 3D view Shading Click on the ▽ portion of the shading to open it and click on the gear symbol next to the sphere thumbnail.

A preference window will then open, and click "Install" next to the word Matcap.

Open Preferences from the gear symbol to install MatCap images

When the file selection window opens, select the Matcap image you wish to install.

When the file view opens, select the MatCap image


It is OK if the Matcap image you installed appears in the Matcap list.

If the installed MatCAp appears in the list, it is OK.


Matcap images are stored in...

Blender Matcap images are stored in the following folder.

Blender installation folder /3.3/datafiles/studiolights/matcap

Where Blender MatCap images are stored

You can also add a Matcap by manually placing a Matcap image in this folder, but note that in that case, you will have to restart Blender to see it in the Matcap list.

*The 3.3 part of the folder path depends on the version of Blender you are using.


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(3) Create a material that will look the same as Matcap in rendering

Blender's Matcap view is useful for easily changing the texture of a model, but it is only temporarily changing the appearance, so this texture cannot be baked into a texture as is.

This is what it looks like in MatCap view...
The actual object is in its default gray state

Since the bake function bakes the result of rendering so you must create a material that will look the same in the rendered view as in the MatCap view and assign it to the object.


So, we will create the material.

First select the object you want to bake Matcap onto and from the Material tab of the Property Editor, click the New button, and assign a new material.

Select object and create new material


After giving the assigned material an appropriate name, click on the surface and change the material type to "radiant.

Material type changed to "Radiant".


Click on the circle next to the color and select "Image Texture".

Assign "Image Texture" at the color


Once you have done this, switch the workspace to "Shading". (If you have installed the Maya Config Addon For Blender, it will be called " HyperShade".)

Switch workspace to Shading (or HyperShade)


If you switch workspaces, you will see three nodes in the shader editor: "Image Texture," "Radiation," and "Material Output. Add three more nodes here.

With 3 nodes in the shader editor


Nodes are added from the menu "Add" at the top of the shader editor.

The procedure for adding the three nodes is as follows.

  • Node 1
    texture coordinates

    Add → Input → Texture Coordinates

    Add→Input→Texture Coordinates
    Texture coordinate node
  • Node 2
    vector transformation

    Add → Vector → Vector Transform
    *Change the settings of the added vector transformation node as shown in the figure.

    Add -> Vector -> Vector Transform
    Change the settings of the vector transformation node as shown in the figure
  • Node 3

    Add → Vector → Mapping
    *Change the settings of the added mapping node as shown in the figure.

    Add -> Vector -> Mapping
    Change the settings of the mapping node as shown in the figure


After adding nodes and changing settings, connect the nodes by mouse click-and-drag as shown below.

Connect the added node to the original node as shown in the figure.

Finally, click the Open button on the Image Texture node to assign the Matcap image.

Click "Open" on the image texture node to assign the MatCap image


Now you have a material that looks the same in rendered view as it does in Matcap view.

Completion of material that will be the same in rendered view as in MatCap view ~.


Check the shading in the 3D viewport by setting it to Matcap or render view. If you just want to render the Matcap look in Blender, this is all you need to do.

Compare with MatCap view and Render view.


About setting up a vector transformation node

If you look online about MatCap baking in Blender, you will often find that the vector transformation node is set to "Vector" instead of "Normal".

When I tried it, I got exactly the same result whether the node setting for the vector transformation was "Normal" or "Vector".

So, I think the vector conversion can be set to "normal" or "vector"!


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(4) Specify the size of the texture to be baked

In this case, we want to bake the look of Matcap into a texture, so we will prepare for that.

First, add an image texture node in the node editor by going to Add → Texture → Image Texture. This node should not be connected to any other node, just leave it there.

Add an image texture node and click the New button

Click the "New" button on the added image texture node, and when a small window opens, specify the size of the texture to be baked. Give the texture a name that is easy to understand, such as "bake_tex".

When the small window opens, specify the name and size of the texture to be baked


You will see the image editor next to the shader editor, so click on the icon next to the image name to display "bake_tex".

You can see the image editor next to the shader editor.
Click on the image icon to display the texture for baking from the list.

*If you do not see the image editor, try to display the image editor refer to Display a window of your choice in a divided area.


(5) Change render from Evee to Cycles

Blender's default render is Eevee, but Eevee cannot be baked, so change to Cycles.

*The method for changing is in the AO Bake article, Change render from Eevee to Cycles.


(6) Change the bake type to radiant, select an object, and start baking

Click on the Bake item "Bake Type" and select "Radiation" from the list.

Setting the bake type to "radiant" reduces the number of optional items and gives a cleaner look.

Select "Radiant" from Bake Type for a cleaner look.

Now that the Matcap bake is ready, select the object you want to bake the Matcap to and click the Bake button. Wait until the baking is finished.

Select the object you want to MatCap bake and press the [Bake] button.


(7) Save baked image as named from the image editor

When baking is finished, you will see the baking results in the image editor.

When baking is finished, the baking result is displayed in the image editor.

You can save a baked image from the top menu of the image editor under Images → Save As.

From the top menu of the image editor, click Image→Save As
Image data format and image name can be set here.


Now we can bake Matcap's look and feel into the texture~!

I was able to bake the MatCap look into the texture.

That's all for "Matcap baking in Blender!"



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Supplemental Information of MatCap Bake

MatCap bake results depend on camera angle

The Matcap will look good from any angle in the viewport, but when baked into a texture it will be baked "as seen from the angle of the rendering camera".

Therefore, the original Matcap view and the baked result will look different from different angles.

The MatCap display is beautiful from all angles.
Texture-baked objects look funny from different angles.

In this case, the render camera was set to show the object from the front, so the baked result looks almost the same from the front as it does in MatCap, but from the side, it looks strange.

Because of the nature of baked image data, it is impossible to bake the image so that it is the same as the Matcap display when viewed from any angle.


How to use Matcap Bake


What good is Matcap Bake then?

You may think that this is a good idea, but it can actually be useful in many ways, depending on how you use it.

If you have a specific camera angle, such as a small model in the background, you can use it without any problem.

Another common use is used as a base for hand-drawn textures, where the result of Matcap baking is not used as-is but retouched in Photoshop or other software.


Depending on the model, there may be cases where you want to express skin or metal textures only by drawing in textures, but it is sometimes easier to use Matcap baking or other methods rather than drawing the entire model by hand.

Matcap is especially useful when you want a fantasy-like expression or a unique texture rather than a purely realistic one.



I write in Supplementary Information on the AO Bake...

  • Flat + texture display if you want to see the baking result in 3D viewport
  • Margin (padding) settings
  • Smooth shade/Flat shade affects bake results

items are also relevant to the MatCap Bake. Please check them together.


Extra: What is Matcap?

MatCap (Material Capture) is...

In brief, A method of pseudo-reproducing the material + lighting of a sphere from a single image depicting the sphere.

MatCap is... a method to simulate the material + lighting of a drawn sphere from a single image depicting the sphere.



MatCap is highly flexible and anything you draw on a MatCap image can be made into a pseudo-material.

For example, with MatCap images with a hand-drawn touch like this...

Hand-drawn MatCap images can be used to create a hand-drawn texture.

It's the interesting and good thing about MatCap.


It is better to use a MatCap image that properly represents a sphere so that it looks physically correct. However, even an image that is not properly represented can be used as a pseudo-material.

Even a fairly randomly created image can be reproduced as a pseudo-material exactly as it is.

You can create your own MatCap images as you wish, or there are sites that provide free MatCap images.

It is easy to try MatCap in Blender, so if you are interested, please try it!


Seeing is believing!


● Bake IN Blender AO version is here.

● Bake in Blender for gradient version is here.

List of comments

  1. 通りすがりの主夫 says:

    There are many ways to do it!
    Once I get settled into character building and portfolio building, I will try this as well!


Please feel free to comment~!

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