View Full Version : Rendering Transparency & Normals

09 September 2007, 04:18 PM
Is there a sure fire way to render BOTH of these for a character that I created in Maya 7.0? I can only view the normals correctly with Hardware Renderer, and the transparency for hair and the cloth is only visible (Without horrible display popping) if I don't render it in Hardware Renderer. Thanks in advance.

09 September 2007, 04:24 PM
Are you trying to use software or hardware? What do you mean view the normals correctly? What's wrong with how they look?

09 September 2007, 03:26 AM
Thank you for a response.

I use the hardware renderer to render since I have normal maps on the character and I don't know if any other renderer besides hardware can view normals... school didn't teach me much.

When I apply any sort of alpha to the model then the entire piece goes crazy; so to speak. I want just transparency for the hair to make it look a bit more natural, but then all of the pieces sort of "pop" (i.e. when viewing the model at different angles you can see different pieces underneath and bottom pieces appear on top of the ones above it). Maybe I apply the transparency wrong... >< not sure how to fix it though.

09 September 2007, 03:46 AM
software should be able to render normal maps as well as correct alphas. Are you making something for a game? Cause I think you can see normal maps in a certain hardware viewer mode... or maybe that is 8.5? I never use the hardware renderer so i don't know much about what it does and doesn't render.

09 September 2007, 05:07 PM
Yes it's for a game modeler demo reel. Do I need to change the settings in Software, because the normals show up as a really...really shiny character. (Not sure if it matters but the normals were created using ZBrush).

09 September 2007, 09:12 PM
uh... normals aren't shiny. Send a snapshot so we can understand what you are talking about.

09 September 2007, 09:59 PM
Ok here is a quick render with default lights. The "Hardware" has default options while the "Software" has Production Quality turned on. Do I need to enable something else? The girl has tears in her dress and I want to give their hair some transparency, but it never comes out correctly... *Sigh* Also thanks for the help.

09 September 2007, 10:44 PM
Which one is what? Transparency works in software automatically. I still don't understand what you mean by shiny. Are you sure you are linking your maps to the correct attributes?

10 October 2007, 06:01 PM
Ok here is my workflow:
1. Build the base model in Maya, tweak it in ZBrush, Then UV map it in Maya.
2. Detail it in ZBrush and create a Normal Map using ZMapper with
Maya_TangentSpaceNode_BestQuality.zmp (I don't Change anything in those settings).
3. Export the Normal mapped file.
4. In Maya I create a Blinn Material in Hypershader, then a Bump 2D node. Change "Use as"
Tangent Space Normals, Click option button next to Bump value, apply a file node, and then
attach the normal map.
5. In the connection Editor I load the Normal in the left and select Out Color, while the blinn in
the right I select Normal Camera. Then apply this new material to the model.
6. I have to change the shading option to High Quality Rendering for the normal to appear on
7. This is how it looks using software render: (Shiny test render)
8. I then switch it to Hardware Renderer and come out with this:
9. From this point I clean up little areas of the Normal Map in Photoshop and start working
on a color, and specular map. I save them al as TGA files and apply them to the color
node and specular color node respectively.
10. When it comes to transparency I am a bit unsure on how to proceed. I save the Color
TGA with an alpha map and keep it there in the color node. From there I get so many
things wrong in the viewer and the renderer. This is without an Alpha (still WIP).

This is with an Alpha attached.

Everything goes Wacky!! I hope this has all the information so someone can tell me exactly what I am doing wrong. Thank you again for your time.

10 October 2007, 10:37 PM
I'm thinking the shinyness may be that blinn. It's possible the specular is too strong but the hardware isn't picking it up. Try turning your specular color to black or changing your blinn to a lambert to see if that is the problem. For the transparency... is that the actual render? If it is, then the problem is in your map. Maya had a problem for a while where it used the opposite setup of normal transparancy conventions. So you could try taking the alpha node through a reversal node and back to transparency. Or you can try putting in a seperate alpha file and using that, then you can hit invert to see if that is your problem. Maya is known to be a little funky using a file format's alpha.

Sorry I'm unable to get right to the point, it's just that it could be several things and I'm just pointing out what I think is most likely.

Post if my workarounds do or do not work.

Good luck.

10 October 2007, 04:04 PM
Thank you for helping. I'll try the transparency issue now with an alternate Alpha map. Also the above examples (the characters, not the flat example) have specular maps already associated with them and the sliders are pretty low.

This is done with a reverse node I found at Someone before had mentioned something about sorting issues, but I have no idea how to handle that.

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