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.
++New Products Being Uploaded++