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View Full Version : Game Art Mini Challenge #1 - Normal Mapped Props


Dargon
06-07-2004, 10:38 PM
THEME: Create a prop or other simple object using Normal Maps

This is just a quick (and fun) challenge to eat up a bit of time while we all wait for the next challenge! Hopefully, we'll get a chance to learn a bit while we're at it. The challenge - to make an incredibly low poly prop, add a normal map, and end up with, hopefully, something really nice! The general plan is to keep this low key, so we'll post only in this thread, and keep the image sizes low too.

RULES/GUIDELINES:

Your base mesh must be no more than 100 triangles. It is of course, only 1 prop, so this should be easy to manage. The mesh you use for creating the normal map has no limits.

Colour maps are not nessessary, but you can include them if you want. The normal map's maximum resolution is be 512X512.

ONLY post in this thread. WIPs are fine. Posted images must be no larger than 700x700

For any submissions, you must include the following, but can include more if you want to:


Screenshot of base mesh without maps
Screenshot of Base mesh with Normal Map applied
Triangle count of base mesh
How long it took you to complete
Which Software(s) you used


No prize, no voting, but hopefully we can get some learning outa this!! Feel free to post any questions here too!



NORMAL MAPPING REFERENCE/RESOURCES/THREAD !!!

click HERE
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http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=129627

Dargon
06-07-2004, 10:43 PM
To get the ball rolling, I'll start!

http://www.daveclement.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/NormalPistol.jpg

96 triangles
1.5 hours total
Maya to model, ATI's NormalMapper to generate the normals.

proudclod
06-08-2004, 02:01 AM
Wow Dargon, great idea! I really love it! I would definatly participate if i knew how to deal with normal maps, if i can find a tutorial sometime this week, i'll definatly make something for friday... Great gun too! With the normal map, it looks atleast 6 times more then it's real polycount! I love it!

orko60
06-08-2004, 02:09 AM
Yeah...could you post up a few relevant links for normal mapping in Maya? Maybe I'll give this a try, but I don't know where to start. Thanks!


=Zack

Bigglzee
06-08-2004, 09:52 AM
Heya, this is my first post on these forums with this account, my last one, it kept screwing up when I tried to register...anyhoo, this is the first time Ive used normal maps, I think I did aight:D But I had to get the map with the Nvidia Normal Map filter, which sucks heaps, where can I get a tool that allows you to get good ones? Or is it in that link..ill go there now.

64 Triangles
1 256 x 256.tga Normal Map
1 64x64.tga Opacity Map

Pic:
http://home.netspeed.com.au/mcmillans/Pics/sword_normal_pic.gif

Peace ez.
:beer:

CGmonkey
06-08-2004, 10:24 AM
How did you view normal mapped models inside of maya? :)
Looks great btw :)

Dargon
06-08-2004, 10:35 AM
Cheers!

I didn't - I used the Normal Mapper view program from ATI, and printed screen. But there is a shader that is available - see the normal mapping thread to render with a Normal Map, and if you have a brand spanking new video card, you can use the CG plugins from NVidia's website!

tpe
06-08-2004, 11:25 AM
you can always use the crytek previewer ( http://www.crytek.de/downloads/index.php?sx=polybump ), which will also show the difuse and specular on top if need be, unlike their normal genorator is free and works perfectly with ati geneated mas too :) but does not work insie of any other apps :(.

tpe

mmhnemo
06-08-2004, 01:47 PM
Hi there,

i dont have access to a suitable viewer here but this should give an idea of the outcome.
Just remember the silhuette should be pointy and edgy like the original low-poly model.

Here comes pumpkin

http://www.ninjinkai.de/bagofstuff/pumpkin_100poly_normalmap.jpg

Dargon
06-08-2004, 03:29 PM
Bigglzee -> Great work! Funny, it seems your post didn't appear for me until much after all the other ones here... Looks really good, but I think since you had nearly 40 triangles to play with, I might of put a bit more into that crosspiece. Also, I think that normal maps work a bit better on contiguous surfaces...

mmhnemo -> Fun! You could perhaps exagerate a bit more the normal map, to pick up deeper holes in the eyes and mouth, and add some more bumpyness, particularily around the stem to take advantage of the technology.

Keep 'em coming!!

And thanks to Bent for making this a sticky! Next could we get a plug? *hint hint*

kotter
06-08-2004, 03:46 PM
had to learn the basics of normal maps, how to make them, how to use zbrush and how to put it all together...
I followed bens' tutorial http://www.monitorstudios.com/bcloward/tutorials_normal_maps1.html (very good ;)) but I can't see the results in max :/

anyways, here's my first normal map :wip:
http://picserver.org/view_image.php/1554946TCIZH

edit: used max 5.1 and zbrush 2

dur23
06-08-2004, 06:34 PM
you better believe ill be making an appearance here:)

LeeSalo
06-08-2004, 09:23 PM
the ati viewer can preview bump, spec and diffuse maps with the normal map but i just cant figure out how to do it. the are suposed to export with the nmf. file some how. if any one figures it out let me know.

thanks

Renderman_XSI
06-09-2004, 12:20 AM
Originally posted by mmhnemo



Just remember the silhuette should be pointy and edgy like the original low-poly model.





Maybe next generation normal mapping shader can expose this to the artist:

http://www.flipcode.com/cgi-bin/msg.cgi?showThread=09-04-2003&forum=iotd&id=-1

yo dur23, hope you can make it for the next contest, create your own fighting character :thumbsup:

Dargon
06-09-2004, 01:59 AM
Gave another go, to try to lure more folks in...

It's a door knocker - minus the handle - couldn't fit it in with the poly limits - oh well.

http://www.daveclement.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/images/Knocker.jpg

98 triangles
Too much time
Maya, ATI NormalMapper

kotter -> Great stuff for your first try, keep it up! Practice is definately the key when it comes to normal mapping!

Dur! Looking forward to what you come up with!!

TRyanD
06-09-2004, 02:36 AM
Great stuff!!

:beer:

Ill try to think something up and make it as well, i need to learn this :)

Bigglzee
06-09-2004, 10:38 AM
Thanks:beer:

And great work, I especially like the second of Dargon's thats incredible :buttrock: btw, my posts will appear later becuase they have to be verified.

kotter
06-10-2004, 10:44 AM
I've been trying to make a head for a while now, but I'm having some trouble.

I start out with a low poly head and subdivide it with meshsmooth, but that makes the high res head smaller then the low res one. If I understand it correctly the high res have to overlap the low res att all times for the normal map to work?

the problem is that I can't resize or use the push modifier on the high res to get it bigger then the low res.
Do I have to start out with a high res and optimize it?
pretty hard to get a good 250 tri head from a 100 000 tri head...

any tips on normalmapping a head?

LeeSalo
06-11-2004, 05:36 AM
this is not for the challange, i just though i would show you guys the normal mapping i've been working on.

this is for a half life 2 mod called "jungle mist" www.junglemistmod.com

the third image is the low poly pants and the same lowpoly mesh with a normal map.

the high resolution ref's are as follows:
pants 380,000 polys
jacket 600,000 polys

the low res models are as follows:
pants 760 triangles
jacket n/a

http://www.junglemistmod.com/forums/uploads/post-18-1085526259.jpg

http://www.junglemistmod.com/forums/uploads/post-18-1086829223.jpg

http://www.junglemistmod.com/forums/uploads/post-18-1085604817.jpg

Bigglzee
06-12-2004, 02:58 AM
Wow man, thats excellent:beer:

TRyanD
06-15-2004, 01:41 AM
Wow :beer:

the_podman
06-21-2004, 04:09 PM
Could someone Pleeease point me to a good tut on normal mapping. I'm still not really "getting it". Is it a greyscale flat image like a bump? I want to try but I'm lost. please help a cg newbie. I'm using MAYA 6.

thanks
the_podman
My Wacky Knight (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=147967)
My animation (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=141895)

The-Observer
06-21-2004, 04:28 PM
Could someone Pleeease point me to a good tut on normal mapping. I'm still not really "getting it". Is it a greyscale flat image like a bump? I want to try but I'm lost. please help a cg newbie. I'm using MAYA 6.

thanks

This thread will help you : http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=129627

LeeSalo: damn, that looks great :D

Dargon
06-21-2004, 04:30 PM
Could someone Pleeease point me to a good tut on normal mapping. I'm still not really "getting it". Is it a greyscale flat image like a bump? I want to try but I'm lost. please help a cg newbie. I'm using MAYA 6.

thanks
the_podman
My Wacky Knight (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=147967)
My animation (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=141895)
Try this thread, there's plenty there, quite the read, but it should head you in the right direction:

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=129627

And as far as your question - no it's not a greyscale, but it is a flat image. It's actually a colour bump map, and if you realise that a colour image onscreen is composed of 3 channels, red, green and blue - essentially 3 greyscales that combine to make a colour image. Now if we take these 3 channels, and relate them to the 3 axis...

Basically, it's one colour for in and out, like a bump map (along the normal) one colour for left and right (along the U axis) and one colour for up and down (along the Y axis). This allows for a far more dynamic and precise bump map, which is, in all essence, what a normal map is.

Now the only thing is, that it would be a severe mind f*** to paint a normal map, so some companies have developed software to transfer the information from a high res model to that normal map, that can be applied to your low res model. There are a few links in the above thread to help you find those. :)

the_podman
06-21-2004, 04:34 PM
:) Hey, thanks Dargon for the quick response. I'm reading it now and hopefully, my tiny little brain can comprehend the info. Thanks also for the clarification. It's starting to make more sense to me now.

Just a quicky, what would be the difference between a normal map and a displacement map? Or are they the same.

Thanks,

the_podman
My Wacky Knight (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=147967)
My animation (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=141895)

Dargon
06-21-2004, 04:49 PM
:) Hey, thanks Dargon for the quick response. I'm reading it now and hopefully, my tiny little brain can comprehend the info. Thanks also for the clarification. It's starting to make more sense to me now.

Just a quicky, what would be the difference between a normal map and a displacement map? Or are they the same.

Thanks,

the_podman
My Wacky Knight (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=147967)
My animation (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=141895)
They don't nessessarily have to have anything to do with each other, you can make a displacement map with a greyscale image - although I have heard talk of reasons to use a normal map as a displacement.

Normal maps are like bump maps, in the way that they push around the normal of the object, but do not actually change the shape of the object.

Displacement maps push the actual geometry around, which will affect your siholuette, unlike Normal maps.

It is not going to be very commonplace to see even faked Displacement in Real-time applicaitions, as it's very expensive. They're more often used in high-res modeling, and then it's mostly to avoid modeling and rigging mid-range detail like veins and so on.

kotter
06-23-2004, 09:54 AM
my first normal maped character is well on the way, but I have some problems I need to solve. I've separated the mesh in parts (head, leg etc) and made one normal map for every part. I do this because I can work with higher detail without choking my machine to death. The downside is that I get these ugly seams in the pelvis and shoulder area.

1. the seams. Right now I'm trying to correct them in ps but is there any other way? even if I set the exact same color on each part at the seam it doesn't seam to fix it :s

2. When I connect all the parts together (as I've done in my attachement) the mirrored parts (arm and leg) gets screwed up... why?

Dargon
06-23-2004, 10:08 AM
Look in this thread:

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=129627

There's plenty of resources there for you there, the questions been answered there as well.



I'm going to make the recommendation that anybody looking for help Normal Mapping go to that location to ask them, because you'll get more response than just me, and most questions are already answered there.



I'd like to leave this challenge open, if anybody else has any normal mapped props they'd like to submit, but please post any other queries or models in which other section they would be most appropriate in.

Cheers,

Dargon

Tombed
06-23-2004, 11:40 PM
There is a photoshop plugin for generating normal maps from heighmaps, so you can simply paint them rather than bake them from hi poly models. What advantage does the high poly to low poly method have over this? It seems like a lot simpler workflow painting normal maps!

http://developer.nvidia.com/object/nv_texture_tools.html

Adobe PhotoShop Normal Map Plug-in
Creates normal maps from height maps for per pixel rendering.

Tombed
06-24-2004, 10:50 AM
Thought I'd have a go though I'm no pro ;)

150 tris (oops!)
Modelling 15 mins in Lightwave 8
Texturing 35 mins in Photoshop
Normal map generated from heightmap derived from texture using Nvidia plug-in.
Printscreen from model in Quest3d using Diffuse and specular bumpmapping.

Its a window BTW

http://home.broadpark.no/~mmsyvert/1.jpg

http://home.broadpark.no/~mmsyvert/2.jpg
http://home.broadpark.no/~mmsyvert/4.jpg
http://home.broadpark.no/~mmsyvert/3.jpg

Borro
07-08-2004, 08:03 PM
Nice job so far I really like it. Keep it up! I can't wait to see more.

the rookie
07-14-2004, 09:26 PM
I'm no where near a pro, but if this was on a quiz I sure would lose, great work guys!!!

Bigglzee
09-08-2004, 10:45 AM
my bad wrong thread

Dargon
09-08-2004, 10:53 AM
Dude, really nice, but wrong thread! This is the normal map props thread, Mini challenge #1!

I'll post a finished entries thread in a little while, I have to do some work today first. ;)

Until then, I suggest you make a WIP thread so you can get critiques there...

Bigglzee
09-08-2004, 10:56 AM
yeah sorry :( I just realised xD

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