Create 'Static' Materials?

I don’t know all of Unreal’s features, so I’m wondering if there’s any way of creating a material, or creating a set of textures using the material functionality that can compile/render a single time, and the result is a set of textures (basically baking).

A better way of explaining, in Photoshop you have a single image and you can add more layers, with various blending modes but in the end the exported image is just a single file.

I know the materials run through every node for each pixel of the material, so adding say many various texture samples, or masks or nodes that will not change in runtime take up performance.

The only reason I’m asking is for the functionality of something like material instances, where you can make various changes that affect the material such as colour, mask intensity and such, but of course with every variable comes more cost. I’ve tried setting up baking, which only puts the emmisive into a render target and to create a full baked material is time consuming. Since I don’t have any coding knowledge I can’t comprehend a way of automating this.

Is this possible in any way shape or form, through engine functionality or through creating blueprints or classes in code to achieve something like this?

You can use render to texture toolset to bake complex materials into a texture.

it sounds like you just want a material instance to me. i’m not understanding the difference.

The difference is, if you put 100 texture samples, lerps and blends in a material, a material instance isn’t going to make it perform as well as having 1 texture. Unless I somehow misunderstand how a instance works?

Instances will use the computations from the base material and then make changes anywhere an input has changed. They won’t do computations for things that are not needed. Obviously the more an instance is changed from the base material the more calculations will happen.

But overall the materiel will still suffer from having more nodes inside? An instance isn’t the same as replacing every node inside with just a texture.

No. It only calculates what it needs. The closer it is to the base material the less total calculations it will need as well which can be a big boost with lots. I’m sure you know the later though.