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Normal Maps

Posted: 2006-02-28, 16:45
by Cereus Prods
I'm a fairly OK texturer, but my height maps and my normal maps look terrible - even for me. After hours of dissapointing work I decided to stop working on it and ask some questions:
1. How do you make a normal map properly?
2. Are height maps required for a good texture?
3. On specular maps does the white mean matte? There must be A typo on the Wiki because it just says mat.

I know these questions may seem very dumb, but usually I have only done the diffuse, luminance, and specular and called it good.

Posted: 2006-03-01, 00:48
by Kai
A normal map represents 3d surfaces in a 2D space or tangent space.

So the best/optimum way to create a normal map is to use real 3D geometrie . The second method would be the use of a simple bump/highmap and convert it into a normalmap.
This method is only useful for high frequent parts (elements of a small size like scratches, rivets etc.)

There are two different "situations" the first, more easier: Flat surfaces like wall textures. Those are quite easy since you just need to create a top-down view of your surface and add 3d geometrie. Then you can
use a build in render-to-texture or a external software like "orb" or "melody" etc, to render your nmap properly.
The second is true 3d, a normalmap for a 3d object, in most cases using a high res version of the ingame model. This is much more troublesome: you need quite good modelling and uv layout skills. But you can use the same techniqe as mentioned above

So short answers:
1. I use 3dMax and the render to texture function to create my nmaps for flat and 3d objects, works extremly well but i spended a lot of time to finde my personal best workflow/result.

2. No, a highmap can be a option, if converted into a nmap, not a must !! This depends on the surface you wand to achive.

3. Must be an error !White means maximum reflective, while black represents 0% refelective ( reflective means the light not the enviroment, although this could later be added, thanks to the material system)

There are no dumb questions ;)

Re: Normal Maps

Posted: 2006-03-01, 10:58
by Carsten
Cereus Prods wrote:3. On specular maps does the white mean matte? There must be A typo on the Wiki because it just says mat.
Can you give us the link to the exact page that you think is wrong?
I frequently use "mat" as the abbreviation for "material", as in MatSys as the abbreviation for Material System, so maybe I should reduce the number of occurrences of the word "mat"... ;)

Kai, many thanks for answering Cereus questions. I was about to write something, too, but I found that your explanation is just better. :cheesy:


Posted: 2006-03-01, 16:47
by Cereus Prods
This is the link to the page with the error or something < ... :filetypes> . It would make no sense if mat ment material because the sentance says: "Bright values mean that the material is mat." I hope this is helpful! In that case, I'll have to remake some of my specular maps..... I'm too lazy to code HTML in the morning...

Posted: 2006-03-01, 17:32
by Kai
I'll fixed the wiki entry ;) The text is the same like the one in the Newmaterial.pdf under 7.1 "Getting started" but was incompleted transfered into the wiki ..

Sorry for that , as i said its now fixed ;)
Bright values mean that the material is very shiny, dark values mean that the material is mat.

Posted: 2006-03-01, 18:14
by Cereus Prods
Ok, thanks for that. I'll fix my textures before I post them on the web. Too bad. I'm not a very good modeler.... Only an ok animator and texturer. So, when I post my textures, anyone will be welcome to edit them and make bump maps for them. In fact, I'd be glad for anyone to make bump paps for them.

My site will be up and running by the 14th of March I'm sure. It's under heavy construction! :builder:

Posted: 2006-03-01, 20:06
by Carsten
Cereus, maybe it would not be a bad idea if you gave us some preview of your work. Please understand that we all here are a very quality-minded group, and we've never seen any work sample from you...
I think if you showed us something from your (previous) work, that would be a great help for both you and all others here. ;) (As it's usually much easier to talk about / change / correct things early in the process. When (almost) done, it's a lot harder to make corrections.)
Just a thought.


Posted: 2006-03-02, 16:56
by Cereus Prods
I'm having a little bit of trouble downloading Ca3d because my modem is slow, but as soon as I can render my textures in 3d (I think it would give a better impression of what they can do) I will post some screenshots. Although the textures are not very good (by my opinion). I'm still working on my site, so please be patient..... As soon as my site is up and running you will be able to see most of my work.... :mrgreen:

Posted: 2006-03-03, 16:48
by Cereus Prods
One more question regarding specular maps: can they be color? And if they are color what will it do?

Posted: 2006-03-03, 17:34
by Kai
Speculars can be of any color , and the specularity tone is affected.

A blueish spec map will create blueish speculars (even when the light itself is white !)So it acts like a tinting effekt on the surface !

Anyway a colored light will always produce colored speculars (when using a white spec map) !
So a red light on a bluish specular map will result in a somewhat purple tone ;)