I have spent a good deal of time learning about Ambient Occlusion maps, and I am currently working on a landscape material which is new to me. I realize on things like characters and objects, using an ambient occlusion map fo materials can greatly increase quality of rendering. However, I am unable to find any info concerning using ambient occlusion maps for materials used on landscape terrain. I am trying to see what if anything I am sacrificing by removing ambient occlusion maps from my landscape materials. I am trying to get 8 layers on a landscape, which gives me 2 textures to use per layer to maintain 16 texture samples. I a mpacking my textures as follows:
ANx = Albedo (RGB) and Normal X (A)
HRMNy = Heightmap (R), Roughness (G), Metal (B), Normal Y (A)
I use DeriveNormalZ to get the Normal Z at runtime to reduce texture sampling a normal texture by itself.
This leaves me with no room for packing Ambient Occlusion map. I have tried testing, but I have never really been able to figure out how to properly use Ambient Occlusion to really be able to test properly. Was hoping someone could give me some insight so I do not run into a problem a ways down the road in development?
I could bake the AO into the Albedo for a Diffuse, but in trying to do so, it would seem trying to export Diffuse in Quixel Mixer gives me the same result as Albedo, which I was thining choosng Diffuse would bake the AO in for me so I would not have to do it manually via another Graphics software such as Photoshop.
The only issue I have is with a material that has metal, if a material is non-metallic, I replace the Metal channel with AO for a HRAONy Texture.
I have one directional light, which could be either dynamic or static - it does not need to be dynamic.
So, on landscape materials, would removing AO be noticable? Would AO give betterrenders than using World offset and tesselation? My assumption is World Offset with Tesselation would be better to keep?
Thanks for ay insight!