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3 Dimensional Chat / Hi-Poly Models & Normal Maps

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Nateholio
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Joined: 30th Dec 2005
Location: I\'ve Been Everywhere
Posted: 4th Jul 2012 20:39
Ok, so I've done a search on Google and it turns up a lot of hits on creating normal maps from textures. Even downloaded the GIMP plugin which may be useful later.
TGC forums pretty much just tell people how to use normal maps.

What I'm interested in is how on Earth do those of you who use a program like MS3D create normal maps from high-poly models for use on low-poly models? What external tool(s) do you use?

I've seen instructions on loading your low/high poly models, placing some R/G/B lights and messing around that way. There's got to be a more efficient way to do this, but I can't seem to find it.

Thanks!

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Travis Gatlin
9
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Location: Oxford, Alabama
Posted: 4th Jul 2012 21:49 Edited at: 5th Jul 2012 18:37
Look up xNormal. It's free, has tons of features, and bakes incredibly good quality normal maps. Trust me, I use it.

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Pincho Paxton
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Posted: 5th Jul 2012 01:17
Quote: "Look up xNormal. It's free, has tons of features, and does incredibly good quality normal maps. Trust me, I use it."


I'll have a look at that as well. I've been hand drawing mine.

Ortu
DBPro Master
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Location: Austin, TX
Posted: 5th Jul 2012 04:35
As far as how the process works, the basic idea is you make a high poly model then wrap a low poly version around it. The bake compares the normals between the two and writes value info as a pixel in the low poly's uv map

Quik
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Location: Equestria!
Posted: 5th Jul 2012 09:18
from my experience, you can't use MS3D for nnormals and the like, please correct me if iam wrong


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Nateholio
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Posted: 5th Jul 2012 09:43
Thanks for the tool pointers. And no, MS3D doesn't support baking normal maps

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mr Handy
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Location: out of TGC
Posted: 5th Jul 2012 11:32
@travis gatlin
Quote: "xNormal"

Thank you for useful tip! I'll definetely want to use it!

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Hamburger
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Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posted: 5th Jul 2012 18:13
Yes, you will want xnormal, it helps greatly when baking stuff.

Quote: "What I'm interested in is how on Earth do those of you who use a program like MS3D create normal maps from high-poly models for use on low-poly models? What external tool(s) do you use?
"


Milkshape is for low poly modelling. The programs that some big box studios and freelancers use to make these high poly models are 3ds max, or like highpoly modellers, or zbrush for creating characters (although gmax which is free MAY be able to be used, but the program does not support baking capabilities, so you'd need to load them into xnormal and bake the maps there, which isn't hard, also look at blender.).

Then after they make the highpoly model (if it is a character or something, not a model of a texture), the do what is called Retopology and make a lowpoly mesh from the highpoly using the highpoly as a sort of "guide"

Heres what retopology looks like:



Blender is free and will also do retopo now in the latest version. It's what I am currently using for it (cause it's free! )

Then they unwrap the lowpoly they made, and they use a program (xnormal again does this too) to bake the highpoly info onto the unwrapped lowpoly model, and it bakes according to the uv coordinates of the model, like Ortu said. Then after you have baked all maps, i.e., Ambient Occlusion, Cavity, and Normal maps, they use photoshop in conjunction with some of the maps they created to create a texture.

I know it may sound a bit confusing but thats more or less what is done.

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Travis Gatlin
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Posted: 5th Jul 2012 18:35 Edited at: 5th Jul 2012 18:36
http://www.xnormal.net/1.aspx

And you're all welcome, by the way

http://www.3dartistonline.com/user/Travis%20Gatlin
You can find my latest work here. Please comment on my work and tell me what you think!

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