View Full Version : Texturing tricks for normalmapped assets tutorial

07 July 2005, 04:20 PM
Okay that one is done.

texturing tricks for normalmapped assets (

This is a collection of tricks and workflow speedups I've been using recently for models requiring normal+spec+diffuse maps texturing. The goal is to get the most out of bakes instead of painful handpainting. I'm sure you guys know many many more than that but I thought it'd be nice to share. And documenting a process is always good for memorizing it :D

Comments welcome, and I'm sure I have many typos in that so feel fee to point them out. I guess I have a few translation mistakes caused by the french versions I am using too, so if it sounds strange just tell!

Hope that helps a few.

07 July 2005, 04:36 PM
I'm first !!:D
This ios the best tutorial I have ever seen about the spec and normal. Man You make marvelous job. Great thanks for that. Five stars and once again many thanks for that.

07 July 2005, 04:54 PM
Awesome! I'm going to love you for this one.

07 July 2005, 04:57 PM
Nice work.

I'm hugely impressed by the texturing in your portfolio, especially the Bunny model. Nice to see some insight into the thought and work process :)

07 July 2005, 04:59 PM
oooooooohhh thanks so much, this is perfect

07 July 2005, 05:00 PM
ditto, it is paced very well and the screenshots are great, thanks pior!!

07 July 2005, 05:05 PM
wow, that was awesome...and I see that in reading it, 5 other poeple posted :P heh.
I think I'm gonna go work on stuff now...stuff in no way related to normal and spec all...ever.....yeah, that's the ticket.......

07 July 2005, 10:38 PM
Great tutorial - ive been getting into normal mapping recently, and this makes it super-crystal clear!!

Id also like to say that your work on your site is frickin ace - your texture work is especially good.


07 July 2005, 07:57 AM
Pior that is an absolutely great tutorial, first class work! I love the old guy's head you are using to demonstrate the work flow too, excellent!

I totally agree about baking out a 'dirt map' image to layer in Photoshop, it seems to help a lot. It could also be used as a basis for an ambient occlusion map if your realtime shader supports this too.

Could you let us know which package did you make the high rez source head in?

07 July 2005, 08:43 AM
waw~ great and helpful tutorial, thanks a bunch :thumbsup:

07 July 2005, 09:31 AM
yah thats a awesome tutorial, thanks

07 July 2005, 09:55 AM
PIOR!!! :drool:
This has changed my mind about french people :D
I love u.



07 July 2005, 10:00 AM
wow, thanks for this helpful tutorial!
This should be a sticky!

07 July 2005, 01:03 PM
Hi again

Just added a bit of warning about bakelighting overuse since it's not suited in all cases.

Besides that if you feel like adding/sharing relevant tricks just tell! I'll gladly update it :)

Kay back to work!

07 July 2005, 06:35 PM
Superb tutorial pior!...thorough and extremely well a side note I personally think you have a very strong and easily recognisable style, and yet the results you get from normal mapping are some of the best I have seen...all round good job man....:thumbsup:

07 July 2005, 01:57 AM
hot damn. thanks! this will come in handy!

07 July 2005, 03:23 AM
this is a fantastic contribution to the community.
i was actually wondering about exactly this today. thanks a lot.

07 July 2005, 05:30 AM
Great tutorial! Easy to understand.

07 July 2005, 08:52 AM
awesome tutorial, thank you :)

07 July 2005, 09:13 AM
any idea if this relates to enviromental stuff and props like...would you do the same thing because im just wonder what people do when working with a game engine cause obviously you cant unwrap everything for a game, does anyone have any ideas or solutions? btw this tutorial is amazing

07 July 2005, 10:25 AM
cause obviously you cant unwrap everything for a game

what? sure you have to unwrap everything, or do i get this wrong? o.O

07 July 2005, 10:32 AM
Thanks a lot by this supertutorial :applause:

07 July 2005, 10:12 PM
sorry, i meant, u dont skin everything, u know you use base tileable materials and such for most of it

07 July 2005, 12:05 AM
I have to disagree with that spec map baking method. There you are baking the highlights to the spec map which is all wrong. Specular map should affect the spec properties that a material has, and not which part of geometry is causing a highlight. The whole purpose of spec map is to give dynamic highlights. How would you paint a spec map of an eye? It should be whole white, not just one little white spot.

Dirt map baking is a great idea, ill have give a try to that. But how do you bake from hipoly mesh to lowpoly uvs?

07 July 2005, 07:16 PM

I'm glad this seems to come in handy! Again its just a personal approach, I'm no pro hence cannot tell! This is mostly based on observation, close looks on game textures and the practice of traditional media :)

Which obviously leads me to 6GZ's post!

I see exactly what you mean, and I've been trying to reflect that in the edited part about baked lightning. Its a very similar problem on the spec map : where to play it just like in theory ('true' material definition, no light info) and where to fake/force things.

The following is really just my personnal opinion!

For spec I belive one might want to force things a little. (and even if I started from that blue/lightbake, you'll noticed I darkened it alot on the way) On top of that spec is a very powerful map since it really can enhance things where you wna them to pop out.

The other thing to consider is the non-use of 'glossy' maps (or whatever this is called) in games. I knew some in dev are using a hack faking that, but in doom3 for instance you have no access to the actual spread of the hotspot. You can imagine that, on an eye, which is wet, we'd need a 'tiny' spread info, while on skin, you'd need a 'broad' spread info. That can be done with a greyscale map and that works actually quite well... if implemented in the engine :D

Hence in a case like D3 I feel that it's handy to 'locate' and 'shape' the spec. And for eyes... I do believe in tiny spots :) I even like to do them the oldtech way, ala putting and alphaed plane in front of the eyeball on which I actually paint the hotspot. If the plane if offseted a little the highligh will even 'slide' before the eye faking a dyhnamic look :)

All that is more likely to evolve with UnrealEngine3 and all the new tech rising these days. But I notice than most game studios looking for people to do nextgen stuff indicate 'ability to texture with spec/diffuse/normal' without anything else :D

So yeah you're definately right, I just think it's cool to try out tricks do get the most out of what we have.

We had a long discussion about that on the old Polycount forums a while back, don't know how to rescue threads from it tho.

Feel free to add your view on the subject! I'll update the paper to reflect all that. :)

07 July 2005, 08:01 PM
i wanted to ask a small uestion its a bit of a stupid one but one i must ask none the less ..
ive just recently started normal mapping and iw as wondering if there is a difference between painting a normal map and a painted bump map ?

07 July 2005, 11:07 PM

Thanks muchly :thumbsup:

07 July 2005, 07:33 AM
great tips Pior! Thanks for putting that together.

- BoBo

07 July 2005, 01:07 PM
Super stuff, Pior. And thanks for the email again. Appreciated.


07 July 2005, 08:36 PM
wow, realy nice tut.... good job dude!!!
:) and 10x very much!

07 July 2005, 12:07 AM
Yeah i see that now, its like faking the glossiness without gloss map. I actually saw spec maps painted like that on D3 models. Its not that dynamic but nobody will realise the difference anyway if not really thinking how lights move etc. Thanks for explanation!

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