View Full Version : Normal mapping in Maya

07-04-2006, 09:29 AM
Hi guys, been following these boards for a while now thought it time to post myself. I'm having serious problems in getting a normal map to work. I'm relatively new to normal mapping, I'm currently using Maya to normal map my character but I cannot apply this successfully to the object (even after following numerous tutorials, i must miss out the same stage everytime). Can someone tell me the exact stages for applying a normal map to an object inside maya and successfully viewing it? including the connection strings etc.

Cheers guys,

(I am aware that there is a sticky above regarding normal mapping which I have been reading through but it seems a touch further ahead than i am :( )

Thanks again

07-04-2006, 02:21 PM
have you tried turning on high quality render in your viewport? this is basic so i hope i dont offend by offer this tip =)

you find it in:
viewport - Shading -> High quality rendering

hope that helps you.

07-04-2006, 06:32 PM
Ok, here we go.

So you've got your normal map created.

To VIEW in the Maya viewport, open up your hypershade and drag the material you want to apply the normal map to, into the work area. Go to the 2d textures tab on the left side and create a file node by clicking on the button that says "file". :) Double click on that to bring up the attribute editor and load your normal map file. Now, go back to hypershade, and middle mouse click the newly created file node(which should now have your normal map loaded) and drag to the shader/material you want to use(blinn, lambert, etc). It'll bring up a little connection box. You'll want to click on "Other" to bring up the connection editor. On the left side should be the file, on the right side, the material. On the left column, click on "Out Color", and on the right column, click on "Normal Camera". Your normal map is now loaded. Go to your viewport and click on Shading>High Quality Rendering. Make sure you're in texture view, so press 6. You'll be able to see your normal map now, assuming your graphics card can handle high quality rendering.

To RENDER in Maya, it's a little trickier. By default, Maya doesn't know what the hell to do with normal maps when it comes to rendering. You'll need to download a shader network that tells Maya how to interpret normal maps and render them correctly. I use the jsnormal shader for mental ray from http://www.pixero.com/downloads.html (http://www.pixero.com/downloads.html)

There ya go. Let me know if you need any help or clarification.

07-04-2006, 07:17 PM
Thanks for the responses! I think what i was doing was the same, here is the result i have, it doesnt look right to me, from the left is a 50x50 ball, the middle is the source low 10x10 ball with softened normal edges, and the 3rd is the resultant with the normal map applied, if you can tell from this, could you suggest what is wrong,


Thansk for your time, really could do with cracking this normal mapping lark, been stuck at this stage for ages, the maps just look screwed up.

07-04-2006, 07:53 PM
Hmm something is very wrong. Although I dont know what you have done to the ball, so dont know what the normal version should look like.

it doesnt look to me like you are using Hi-Quality mode, because as you might expect the shaders should look better quality that those in your picture. I normally use a Blinn SG with my normal maps, which gives you some control over the spec. Maybe you could post a pic of your normal map too, as that would be a clearer indication of if your map isnt created correctly.

07-04-2006, 07:57 PM
That's odd. Are you using Maya 7 and the surface sampler to create the normal map? What's your normal map look like?

07-04-2006, 08:16 PM
I am using maya 6.0, normal mapped via the surface transfer, here are the screen shots, first is the lo and hi prior to mapping, the second is the normal map itself, the third is the result and connection strings





07-04-2006, 08:22 PM
Ah, your normal map's lookin all goofy. You're probably gonna want to use tangent space normal maps and not object space(which is what I believe you've created). Lemme open up maya 6.5 and use the surface transfer. BRB.

07-04-2006, 08:30 PM
Cheers mate i changed the map to tangent space, but could you tell me what the difference is and when would you choose one over the other? I read that using object space is prefered when the to-be-mapped object isnt to be animated, i must of misinterpreted. Heres my new attempt still not perfect but getting there any ideas? or is this the result i should expect? the seam seems to stick out :S


07-04-2006, 08:32 PM
I believe object space maps are used for static meshes, though I'll admit I don't know the reasoning behind that off hand.

Are you smoothing the normals on your objects before creating the normal maps?

07-04-2006, 08:38 PM
I 'softened' the normals so the poly count was the same though only once, see i want to 'see' the difference, rather than if i kept softening the normals, i felt maybe i wouldn't see the difference, is that final map what you would expect to see? Maybe my expectations of this map were to high, though want to see a basic shap before i move on to mapping characters.

07-04-2006, 08:45 PM
Eh, if I do what you did: create a 50x50 sphere and a 10x10 sphere, then create a normal map between the two, I don't get any real change. The map is basically just blue, and isn't really adding any info. It still looks like you have some seams and I'm not sure where they're coming from.

What does your tangent space map look like? Is it pretty much just blue, or can you see the seams like you can in your object space map?

BTW, if you have a messenger program, feel free to shoot me a message and it might be easier to figure out.

07-04-2006, 08:54 PM
tangent space map?? Is that the noraml map?

I'm on msn messenger if you could help, plumb666@hotmail.com


07-04-2006, 09:04 PM
Yep. See, the reason you're getting all those seams is because of the way your map is. You can visually see all the seams, and in this case, you shouldn't be able to. Hmmmmm, weird. The only way I can get something remotely similar to what you have is if I create the normal map with the low poly version having hardened(faceted) normals.

07-04-2006, 09:35 PM
All right, we got it figured out. 'twas a normals smoothing issue.

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