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Milotavich
01-13-2004, 03:51 PM
Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone's been working on environments with these?

I'm starting too but was wondering if anyone else really gave it much thought.

Either way Id like to talk Normals in any way. games that use it, techniques, plug ins, etc. I'm also interested in Normal vs Bumps and other hi end game environment creation techniques.

Thanks

spm
01-13-2004, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by Milotavich
Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone's been working on environments with these?

I'm starting too but was wondering if anyone else really gave it much thought.

Either way Id like to talk Normals in any way. games that use it, techniques, plug ins, etc. I'm also interested in Normal vs Bumps and other hi end game environment creation techniques.

Thanks

you could post this question at the modeling advice thread... it would be a nice addition if ppl talked about it.

kleinluka
01-13-2004, 09:55 PM
from what i heard from one of the artists at gearbox, nowadays games use normal maps mostly as they are directional as opposed to bump maps which are elevational. Haven't worked with them myself YET but I will pretty soon.

ogun
01-13-2004, 10:13 PM
Perhaps you could find anything of interest in this normal mapping tutorial:

http://members.shaw.ca/jimht03/normal.html

Milotavich
01-13-2004, 10:29 PM
Yeah, that's a great Tut, I was just wondering if people are showing off what they are making so far, and what kind of issues etc. people are having with em.

Ctrl-Z
01-14-2004, 03:02 AM
The biggest issue I can see with this technology is the silhouette. Your low poly or base mesh has to be able to support the high resolution models silhouette.

CGmonkey
01-14-2004, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by Ctrl-Z
The biggest issue I can see with this technology is the silhouette. Your low poly or base mesh has to be able to support the high resolution models silhouette.

Check this out: http://people.deas.harvard.edu/~xgu/paper/Silhouette_Map/silhouette_intro.html ^_^

There are no issues besides that one CTRL-Z posted I think :)

Ctrl-Z
01-14-2004, 01:17 PM
Yeah CGMonkey,
I have seen that page before.
I am wondering if this technique will handle a silhouette in animation.
The developers at Headus set there silhouette up with a ramp and an inverted facing ratio. Looks pretty effective and animation is not a problem. But, I don't think this can be transfered into a game engine. Or can it?

EricChadwick
01-14-2004, 02:32 PM
I posted a bunch of normal mapping info here.
Normal Mapping in 3ds max (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&postid=833112)
Some is specific to 3ds max, some is software-agnostic. Lots of links to tools and tutorials. Might help you.

I doubt the silhouette trick will be used anytime soon in games. Polygon counts are on the rise, so I'd guess the silhouette tech wouldn't be worth the investment in dev time. Also probably takes away render performance, which would probably be allocated on more shader passes instead. But who knows?

The biggest issue I see with normal mapping is creation time of the high-res assets. Budgets are getting bigger and bigger, profit margins getting slimmer, except perhaps for the few bestsellers. Nothing to be done about it really, just another bit of eye candy to raise the bar.

Milotavich
01-14-2004, 04:08 PM
Anyone have any pics of their game art environment normal work? All I've seen is characters, and soon to be published gameshots.

EricChadwick
01-14-2004, 05:10 PM
I can't show any of mine, project is under wraps, sorry.

4D Rulers shows some of their scenes using their AMP engine.
http://www.4drulers.com/ampscreenshots.html

Doom III is another good example, Half Life 2 another. Plenty of shots/movies around to examine.

commy
01-14-2004, 05:41 PM
id like to see some more info coming out about painting normal maps allmost all the info out there is about baking normal info from hipoly models

EricChadwick
01-14-2004, 05:54 PM
For me they're kind of difficult to paint, but it can be done.

Red channel = point the normal to the right.
Green channel = point the normal upwards (ATI) or downwards (NVIDIA).
Blue channel = point the normal outwards.

So it is possible to paint on each channel separately, bascailly massaging the direction of the normal for each pixel.

Just make sure to re-normalize, to get the normal lengths back to a 0-1 range (otherwise you get problems with specular).

There's a Photoshop plugin from NVIDIA (http://developer.nvidia.com/object/ps_normalmapfilter.html) that converts from a hieght map into a normal map. Works well, but painting accurate heights is also a difficult job, at least for me anyhow. Small changes in value easily lead to big changes in slope.

A couple thoughts I have.

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