View Full Version : Normal Mapping and MAYA ...???

08 August 2004, 10:05 AM
Hello all...forgive my ignorance and small knowledge on the matter but question is this...

What exactly is Normal Mapping (specific info general i know some stuff)....and how u can apply normal maps in Maya 6?....if we can apply one.
Working in Zbrush your maps help in this proccess at all?.

I would be most gratefull if u can help me with this. I am really interested in applyingt this normal mapping proc in my projects to be...

Dimitris .

08 August 2004, 04:30 PM
normal mapping, well first of all you have to understand why normals are important in 3d, basic physics mean light bounces off at the same angle it hits the surface on the oposite side to the normal (which is the line that is 90 degrees to the surface) So if you tell the cg normal that it isn't 90 degrees the angle light bounces off will be altered.

this is what happens in smooth shading, to make low poly objects seem smoother.

Not in normal mapping instead of just smoothing the surface, the normal map actually controls all the normals on the surface in high detail.

What we can do is take a high detail mesh and bake all that detail into an image (these are usually multicoloured images, each colour corrisponding to the direction that the normal should be facing... with me so far? the map is then applied to a low poly object and you get all that detail baked onto the low poly object. Except it is actually flat, a bit like bump mapping.

You can do this in maya 6 using the transfer surface information tool. (u have to load it in the plug-ins menu)

sorry can't help you with ZBrush that is a dark art indeed

08 August 2004, 06:04 PM
Thanks starts to make some sense to me now.I will look in the transfer surface information tool and see what i can do...thank u!

Anyone else with some more info on the subject is welcomed to give me his tips on the issue also!


09 September 2004, 12:36 PM
here a thred i started about normal mapping hope my toturial helps..

09 September 2004, 10:23 PM
okay, so i must be missing something here. this is the only method i've found that seems to consider lighting and shadowing with normal maps:

this page has good information but until i write my own space change utility (to convert from world space normals to tangent/point space) i don't know how to implement this method:

zeroeefx: maybe i'm unclear about your method - but as far as i can tell, simply hooking up a normal map expressed in tangent space to the normal camera doesn't work for 1) mental ray and 2) with shadowed lights.

i've yet to figure out how to utilize the headus method well - sometimes it seems to work and other times not, but as far as i can tell, every other method is limited.

correct me if i'm wrong. i'd love to be able to utilize the normal maps i get out of zbrush.


09 September 2004, 04:54 AM
To Dimitris and others,

Cryteck (creators of far cry game) has released an sdk which includes a polybump
plugin for maya 5 and 6, to create normal maps( i think..).
I havent tested it yet tho.


09 September 2004, 09:15 AM
@ zeroeefx ...that is a most valuable info friend ...i found at a first glance your tut most helpfull. Now i have to sit and make the most if ....thank u! . Can i make a link to it from LINKS page in my website so people can read it ? that would help many i think...

@ sunit ... hey that's a nice method (Headus) to render normal maps in MR ....i 'll have to search this too. Thank u soon as i work on this maybe i will be able to comment on your info

The main purpose for me though is first to utilize Normal mapping with Maya default render and hopefully to be able to render scenes with too much people and props (buildings, vehicles, plant life) by using this technology and avoiding enormous polycounts. It seems so powerfull technology all this stuff about Normal mapping.

@ devdoka ...thanks..Far Cry and Zbrush 2 were the two programs that made me lose my sleep about Normal Mapping and it's features. I am dowloading it for checking this one too.

Thanks friends . In any case i hope that this thread will be kept live a little bit more just to help us all (not just me) to learn more on this from other artists who have done their homework on Normal mapping...or even have utilize it completely on their pipeline.

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