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> creating normal maps
tschumann
post Sep 10 2009, 05:33 AM
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Does anyone know the process to create a normal map? Do you need to create some sort of greyscale texture then convert it to a normal map, or is it okay to just convert the regular texture to a normal map?
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Andres Bordeu
post Sep 10 2009, 09:10 AM
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QUOTE (tschumann @ Sep 10 2009, 05:33 AM) *
Does anyone know the process to create a normal map? Do you need to create some sort of greyscale texture then convert it to a normal map, or is it okay to just convert the regular texture to a normal map?


You can create normal maps from a grayscale image using this photoshop plugin:

http://developer.nvidia.com/object/photosh...ds_plugins.html

However, proper normal maps are generally created by projecting the normal map data from a higher polygon model to a lower polygon model. You need a 3d editing program like 3d Studio Max or Maya to do this. This technique is more oriented for characters. The photoshop plugin can be useful for adding "bump" to a environment texture.

If you have more questions drop them here.

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Gentleman
post Sep 10 2009, 12:47 PM
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Cool, I could make my own normal maps with that plugin.


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tschumann
post Sep 10 2009, 06:43 PM
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I don't have Photoshop so I've just been using VTFedit to generate normal maps.
Is the correct way to do it texture->greyscale->normal map or texture->normal map? I tried both and they looked more or less the same, but I think I read somewhere that you should generate a normal map from a greyscale texture (this isn't for use on models).
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Carlos Bordeu
post Sep 10 2009, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE (tschumann @ Sep 10 2009, 06:43 PM) *
I don't have Photoshop so I've just been using VTFedit to generate normal maps.
Is the correct way to do it texture->greyscale->normal map or texture->normal map? I tried both and they looked more or less the same, but I think I read somewhere that you should generate a normal map from a greyscale texture (this isn't for use on models).


You have to generate the normalmap from a greyscale texture. Basically it will work like this:

The lighter the color, the more 'sticking out' the volume will be. A brick wall greyscale image would be white bricks with dark areas in between them. Obviously the higher the contrast, the the more extreme the effect will be. You should test different versions until you get the desired effect.
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tschumann
post Sep 10 2009, 09:13 PM
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Thanks for clearing that up.
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tschumann
post Sep 11 2009, 12:47 AM
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What program did you us to generate heightmaps?
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Andres Bordeu
post Sep 11 2009, 09:18 AM
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QUOTE (tschumann @ Sep 11 2009, 12:47 AM) *
What program did you us to generate heightmaps?


The 'heightmaps' or greyscale images we created were created with photoshop. In several cases we desaturated a regular texture and reworked it to get the desired heightmap (then applied the normal map filter). I'm not familiar with VTFedit. Can you control saturation? Any simple image editing program should be able to do that...

What kind of normal maps are you trying to create? You want your textures to have "bumpyness"? Can you post a sample?
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Gentleman
post Sep 11 2009, 10:51 AM
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I would like to create new normal maps for ZC characters, is this possible or will I just use the same method?


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Carlos Bordeu
post Sep 11 2009, 12:41 PM
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QUOTE (Gentleman @ Sep 11 2009, 10:51 AM) *
I would like to create new normal maps for ZC characters, is this possible or will I just use the same method?


It is very unlikely that you can create new normal maps for characters without the base high poly meshes... and even in that case I wouldn't really see the point as the normal maps go 1 on 1 with diffuse and other type of textures. You can try out different normal maps on a character and you will see what I mean... the result will just be a mess.
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tschumann
post Sep 11 2009, 06:42 PM
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QUOTE (Andres Bordeu @ Sep 11 2009, 11:18 PM) *
The 'heightmaps' or greyscale images we created were created with photoshop. In several cases we desaturated a regular texture and reworked it to get the desired heightmap (then applied the normal map filter). I'm not familiar with VTFedit. Can you control saturation? Any simple image editing program should be able to do that...

What kind of normal maps are you trying to create? You want your textures to have "bumpyness"? Can you post a sample?


I don't think VTFedit has much control over anything (it's mainly for importing/exporting).
To desaturate the picture do I open the Hue/Saturation/Lightness tab and set Saturation to 0?

I'm trying to add 'bumpyness' to a brick wall texture in zenozoik\dev\materials\dev:
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Gentleman
post Sep 12 2009, 08:33 AM
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You can use free programs like Gimp to edit saturation.


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Andres Bordeu
post Sep 12 2009, 05:10 PM
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I'm not sure if Gimp has a normal map plugin like Nvidia's plugin.

Here's the process in Photoshop:

1) You desaturate the image with Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. You can also control saturation at Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation.

2) Apply a high pass filter to the image (Filter>Other>High Pass). What's this for? This filter is useful to match the overall grey value of your image. The desaturated image is no good because the darker bricks will be interpretated like a lower 'heightmap' value when they're actually at the same height than the other bricks of the image. The high pass filter fixes this*.

*Still, if you look at the highpass.png image it still has errors you should fix before performing the normal map filter (I din't have time to fix those errors for this sample). Notice that the light that falls on the bricks will be interpretated like higher values for your heightmap. That's not correct if you look at your bricks. The full process would involve eliminating all highlighted areas and adding darker areas between the bricks where the heightmap information was lost. Always remember: lighter is higher & darker is lower.

3) Apply Nvidia's normal map filter (Filter>NormalMapFilter). Make sure your image is set to the 'Background' layer before. Set the 'Height Source' to 'Average RGB' and set a proper value in the 'Scale' value. The higher the scale value the more the bricks will seem to pop out.

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tschumann
post Sep 12 2009, 05:48 PM
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Okay, I see. Thanks for all the help Andres.
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Toshi
post Sep 13 2009, 01:07 AM
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If you want to make normal maps for character models the best thing is to get the low poly mesh into zbrush\mudbox and make a high poly sculpt. If you use a texture to normal app you'd really only get a bump on the surface.
Let's say you want to change a regular jacket into a leather jacket on an existing model. you can use a leather pattern and generate a normal map in crazybump, but you won't get any volume info like folds on the jacket unless you start messing with the texture adding shadows and stuff, and the result is usually crappy compared to zbrush.

Here's a pic showing how I make normal maps for my models (censored, family friendly version smile.gif):


The pic of the base mesh is an old pic, you need to have everything in quads or you'll make zbrush mad, and he will make you cry. You could also do the whole thing in zbrush using zspheres and skip the initial creation of a base mesh.
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