Bake to Vertex Colors using Cycles

Hi all, I’d like to use Cycles to bake ambient occlusion (and possibly other things) to vertex colors. I know this is a feature a few people have asked for before. Obviously the lack of baking to vertex colors in Blender 2.8 is a lost feature that would be good to bring back.

I’m willing to pay a developer to make this happen. If you’re capable of adding Cycles baking to vertex colors, let’s discuss.


Agreed! I’m really needing this in my current workflow. Baking vertex ambient occlusion and the ability to combine vertex colour channel layers with blending modes. Along with some better vertex colouring editing tools…


I need this feature, too. It’s useful to bake lighting information to vertex colors for my workflow. Once a scene is lit, it can really improve performance in EEVEE. Using lightmap textures would require each object to have a unique material, which has a performance hit.

Here’s a right click select post about this issue, please vote for it:


Yes i don’t understand why 2.8 CYCLES have no more vertex light baking. It was totally effective when create lots of geometry and can save lightmaping time … Hope you guys vote for this.


I agree. Vertex baking is a miss. It was very useful for toon-shaded mobile apps that are constrained on texture memory and shader complexity. Vertex coloring is super simple if you can bake it. Otherwise, you might as well just texture everything.

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I am effect artist and find this feature super useful.
It would be great if 2.8 can do it. I will upgrade once it is ready.

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Works in Blender 2.83 LTS!


Nice, thanks, although a core function like this shouldn’t be dependent on an external add-on.


No addon provides all the baking features we have with 2.79, in many scenarios they won’t do the job at all.
I really don’t get why such basic feature is not even planned to be reimplemented, watching the development priorities, it looks like people are now using Blender mostly for drawing with Grease Pencil …
My workflow relies on baking to vcols, so it looks like I will have to stay with 2.79 forever.


Yeah, I also hope this will be addressed soon.

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Since there seems to be ongoing interest from the community, I’ll say again that my company is willing to pay a bounty to get this feature made. Not sure who I need to contact to make that happen, but I’m willing to put money towards baking to vertex colors.


I don’t get why this feature got removed


Apparently Brecht left us a Christmas present and nobody noticed?

Haven’t tried it though, but it is a step forward.


Thanks to Brecht for his work. But, I would like to note that the implementation is obviously far from ideal, and baking requires the presence of a UV layer on the model.
Hopefully in the future we will have the ability to fine-tune baking into arbitrary geometry attributes.

The UV layer does not have to be there, probably just a bug that needs to be fixed to remove that check.


Did a quick testing and it really looks like we have the fully featured baking to vcols back!
Still can’t believe! :smiley:


Nice to hear that! Thank you, Brecht!
We also use vertex colors to make thinwall model thickness analysis, can be interesting.

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Hmm, there are still some features missing, like baking vertex colors from one object to another… which is actually what I use all the time in my projects :frowning:


Is it possible to use datatransfer for that purposes?

In 2.79 this is so simple:

  • set the layers for rendering in both objects (camera icon)
  • set Bake type to “vertex colors”, “selected to active” and “bake to vertex colors”
  • do Bake

Similarly, I can very easily merge multiple vertex colors layers into a single one in 2.79, by doing Bake type: Full Render, while disabling “Textures” in the Render tab.

Neither tasks are possible even in the most recent 2.92 alpha.
I am super excited about having the bake to vertex colors feature back and I am very thankful for that, I am now just little afraid we will have to wait another 3 years to have it back with all the 2.79 features as this is probably something which nobody else uses on a daily basis.

I will try to add the feature request wherever possible, so let’s see.

In this video you can see how the grass blends nicely with the shadows on the ground, this has been done by baking the ground vcols → grass vcols (baking AO to grass directly doesn’t work well due how much low-poly it is, also the ground has some additional color variation (from orthophoto) which is transferred to grass).

EDIT: Also found a bug - baking ignores which layer is set for render and bakes into the selected instead.

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