View Full Version : Normal Mapping Workflow

06 June 2005, 04:42 AM (

Still not done, but will be sometime this week. I normally wouldn't post till I was finished, but there is a lot of information up so far, and I know some people might want this info straight aways for comps, art tests, jobs, and such. Let me know any feedback you might have. I'll be posting the finished version in here when I'm done.

06 June 2005, 06:04 AM
thanks a lot for the article. so far i dont quite get some parts but thats because im a noob at normal mapping, but i really enjoyed this and ur previoues one about analytical thinking (the thread that sort of died) .
keep up the good work!.

06 June 2005, 02:20 PM
Looking great Poop!

06 June 2005, 02:53 PM
Great!,cant wait for finished ver

06 June 2005, 03:11 PM
:bounce: Nice I have been wanting to look into normal mapping soon so this will help.

06 June 2005, 03:51 PM
hey, thanks for this tutorial man, I kind of know a little about normal mapping, but that tutorial has helped explain quite a bit more for me, I cant wait to see the rest of this. Thank you.

06 June 2005, 05:06 PM
Great overall view of normal mapping. Also some great new information for example that one script that matches the lowpoly to hipoly and some others. So far ive only been using ORB for normal mapping, but it seems it is better to make them in max.

06 June 2005, 10:34 PM
Not wanting to kiss ass but, your site is a great aid for many people. Its rare that people offer there knowledge out so readily! Cheers Ben!

So frustrating always a step ahead! Something new to read tho!



06 June 2005, 02:00 AM
I looked for the unwrap tools at chuggnut and I found Turbo Unwrap UVW Beta. Is that what you are using? I have just begun to play around with normal maps and I am trying to render a simple wall type panel but I am having problems. I am not sure if I am setting everything up correctly or if the normal map is not rendering properly in the viewport. Could you please take a quick look at the attached file and let me know what I am missing. I'd really appreciate it.

06 June 2005, 03:52 AM
Man thanx once again for some kickass tutorials this one just went into the repituar!!

Awaiting the final version but none the less what u have up is enough to get me going.



06 June 2005, 05:20 PM
Thanks, this looks to be a great tutorial that I'm sure i'll be referencing quite a bit in the near future. :)

06 June 2005, 11:40 PM
Thank you, looks like i'll have to update to max 7 ;)

06 June 2005, 11:07 AM
Brawo Ben!!:applause: Its the next great tutorial from You, big THX for it. Cool that we 've got You :D

06 June 2005, 11:21 AM
thank you ben :)
nice work so far, but could you possibly do another chapter on how to do this stuff with mirrored textures? currently you've got prettymuch everything on one page without mirroring textures, i'd like to see how it works when i.e. the face is mirrored...

07 July 2005, 02:18 AM
Thanks for the replies so far guys.

Neox, it works the same way. As long as you are moving the chunks off 1.0 like I show, it will render fine no matter what is mirrored. You just have to make sure your engine supports it.
Got several more steps in, probably about 2/3's done.
Next comes creating small scale details in photoshop.

07 July 2005, 12:27 PM
hey ben, that very useful!
in future i can give this link to anybody who asks me bout normal mapping. :thumbsup:
thank you

07 July 2005, 06:46 PM

thanx again PIMM

07 July 2005, 09:36 PM
very goood, thx

07 July 2005, 03:34 AM
word poops, thanks

07 July 2005, 08:22 AM
Woohoo yay thats a cool tutorial. Thx :thumbsup:

07 July 2005, 02:14 PM
Very nicely done, Ben. I really like the practical application that you're going for here. I hope you don't mind but I linked to your tutorial from my tutorial here ( and here (

Keep up the good work. I look forward to reading the rest.

07 July 2005, 06:44 AM
Hey Ben, thanks for the pimp!

Well it is now officially finished. I broke it up into four pages, and there is a PDF you can download as well if that's your thing.

Please let me know if you found this helpful, or if there is something that's unclear so I can update it to be easier to follow.

07 July 2005, 02:18 PM
Thanks Ben, always caring about the community. I don't know when I'm gonna start using normal mapping yet. I find models using normal mapping more artificial looking, like glossy clay or something. Is like the specularity needed for the normal mapping to become apparent makes the model look shiny, dunno.

07 July 2005, 02:55 PM
Normal maps do not cause the "artificial look" that you're seeing. There is a big misconception going around right now that normal mapping is a bad thing because it makes models look like plastic, or like they're oily, etc. This is not right.

The reason that you're seeing that surface difference is that real-time computer graphics have come far enough that we can now actually create different looking surfaces. We can create surfaces that look like metal, plastic, skin, cloth, clay, etc. Before, we didn't have that option. Everything basically looked exactly the same as everything else and we did our best to make up for that by painting the texture maps in different ways.

Now we can actually control what the light does when it hits the surface of the model. The thing that controls this is the pixel shader - not normal mapping. All normal mapping does is allow the surface to appear to have more detail. It works just like with software rendering. If I put a bump map on the surface of my model with a blinn shader and rendered it, you'd probably say that my model looked like plastic. It's not the bump map that's doing it. It's the Blinn shader - because Blinn shaders are good at plastic surfaces. If I wanted the surface to look more like skin, I'd need to use an OrenNayar shader, or something else. If I wanted it to look like metal, I'd use a CookTorence shader, etc. All of these shaders can still use the same bump map, but each of them creates a surface that looks very different from the rest.

I think the reason that people are blaming the "artificial look" on normal mapping is that most of the shaders out there that use normal maps are based on the Blinn lighting formula. If you don't like the results that you're getting with the shader that you're using, you just need to find another one that gives you the results that you want (or ask someone to write it for you.)

07 July 2005, 03:00 PM
Ben; I didn't make the connection until the tab said "Ben Mathis" >_< I don't generally read down the user bar on the left on the forum here I guess hahaha. I have learned great stuff from your posted infos in the past, thanks for that :) I was gonna just drop in a thanks for the normals stuff, but yeah thanks for a bunch more to boot.

Cheers! :thumbsup:

07 July 2005, 07:03 PM

Really cool example, of what you can do with normals.

08 August 2005, 11:02 AM
just wanted to say thanks is very helpful for beginners.

but the more im playing with normals, the more i hate them. unwrapping is nothing in comparison with the difficulties of the cage and normal baking things. arghhh

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08 August 2005, 11:02 AM
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