It seems I'm only partially understanding how to optimize resolution in the geometry and texture info, thanks if someone can fill in the gaps. Reconstruction at High, immediately followed by Unwrap using Fixed Texel Size to then return the Optimal texel size (okay, first Clean), produced a component 58 M tris with three 8K maps, texture quality shows 100%, texture utilization 73%, which I can see with one of the 8K maps being largely empty. I could improve texture utilization by switching to 4K maps, whatever.
If I then Simplify to 5 million, I note that the textures are preserved, still three 8K maps. First question, if I hadn't unwrapped at 58 M, rather waited to unwrap at 5 M, again using Fixed texel size, should I expect to see the same three 8K maps? That is, is the Optimal texel size calculated based on the resolution of the source data, whatever resolution is returned during reconstruction of a given component, or if a simplified model is first to be unwrapped, might Optimal texel size be constrained by the size of the tris in this decimated model?
A second question concerns how RC calculates normal maps. Is the amount of detail in the highest res model within a component what's being written to normal maps? It's my understanding that RC requires a minimum of seven pixels to generate a triangle, yes? If so, then obviously there's a ton more texture information in the source data begging to be introduced, which I'm playing with now in Mari. Since some surfaces may be smooth but feature lots of color detail, you wouldn't want to globally tap source data for texture info in producing normal maps (in RC), the answer being to selectively paint in which high frequency details in the source data do belong, e.g. a knurled buckle, tiny cracks in clay, etc.
The first question relates to the second in that, if you're going to be round tripping through Z-Brush or Mari or Mudbox to paint texture info into a model in order bake normal maps, you want to simplify in RC to a sweet spot that preserves silhouette, while optimizes performance downstream, but the number and size of your maps is what I don't want to see dropped, since that threatens what it takes to optimize for gleaning every ounce of detail in the source data if there aren't sufficiently large and quantity of normal maps showing up in whatever 3rd party app used to paint in those details.
Many thanks for a thoughtful response.
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