View Full Version : Zbrush normal maps in XSI 7 working?

11 November 2008, 08:15 PM
(Also posted in Other Apps at XSIbase)

I've been following these steps in order to get normal maps exported from Zbrush to work in XSI 7.


No matter what I do (using uv's generated in XSI or GUV/AUV's from Zbrush) I get results like these in XSI:


Trying track down where the problem is.
Has anyone successfully used Zbrush generated normal maps in XSI 7?

thanks for your help,


11 November 2008, 01:26 AM
so far i dont have any problems. i dont use xsis normal map. instead i use the one on the d3 shaders collection. it works great for me and you dont have to use the tangent property. In xbrush i use nvidias best wuality tangent map. and so far i dont have any glitches.

11 November 2008, 01:37 AM
Snd you're using it in XSI 7?
ok great, I'll try to dig up that shader.

By the way, I love Barbapapa... I don't know anyone else in the U.S. (except my brother) who knows the series. Where are you from originally?


11 November 2008, 05:58 AM
I can't remember the name of the option but theres a check box at the bottom of the new normal map 2 ppg. try checking that off.

11 November 2008, 09:06 AM
Can you confirm you're using the D3 normal map shader in XSI 7? The program completely locks up for me when i try to render a region. It seems the version I have (which seems to be the latest offered, 1.2.2) hasn't been updated in 5 years, so I'm thinking you're using an earlier version of XSI?

Seems like if there was a real problem, more people would be commenting on their issues with it. Or maybe people aren't using Zmapper for normal maps?



11 November 2008, 06:13 PM
Im using v7.0 ess, no problems at all so far and i have the same version of the shaders.. you have to install first the base addon and then the presets.. never had a problem. Try maybe installing in users instead of workgroup.
Im originally from Colombia i remember the series from when i was a child, not many people do ha!

11 November 2008, 07:49 PM
hmm ok
I have no idea about workgroups and users and what the difference is. I've installed in in the proper sequence but dont know where they're installed. I do I know if I'm using a workgroup or user?

11 November 2008, 08:19 PM
well i uninstalled, reinstalled, restarted... and it's working! thanks.

I find it really strange that I can't get the same map to work with XSI's internal Normal Map shader yet this 5+? year old shader works fine.

I still would like to find out how and why XSI's isn't working. I hate to rely on outside shaders that could potentially not work in future versions of the software.


11 November 2008, 11:01 PM
Works great for me with XSI's default shader. Use "Bump map generator" - there shouldn't be any problem.

11 November 2008, 10:28 PM
greyface - Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Bump Map Generator does not interpret Normal maps. it seems to just use a greyscale image to generate height...
It definitely doesn't give me the same effect as a normal map in zbrush.

I've tried unchecking the Unibiased Tangents option but still get strange (though admittedly different and somewhat better) results.

So I'm still on a quest to find someone who has actually used XSINormalMap2 with Zmapper normal maps successfully!

thanks for your help,


11 November 2008, 01:58 PM
greyface; bumpmap generator is not for normal maps. period

Lasercade: i can use without problems xsi normal map aswell. in fact i think the results ar e litlle bit better than d3 normalmap (i hadnt used it since v 5 so this is the first time a compare the results) i still dont like to have to ad the tangents poperties to the geometry. but rreally i dont have any issues.

11 November 2008, 12:19 AM
Hi Barbapapa,
I redid my tests using a model with slightly higher subdivisions and compared the d3 to the XSI normal map again.

You're totally right. Don't know what was the deal before (user error somewhere along the line!) Not only does the XSI shader work, but it seems to work better than the d3 shader.

Thanks for making the comparison, I had given up!

By the way, like your giacometti-esque zbrush figures in your cgtalk portfolio. It's really nice to see that kind of work as a break from the uber-realistic figure studies (though i know you have to be able to do the realistic stuff well before you can do the stylized well).

11 November 2008, 02:06 AM
Actually you are right, my mistake.

11 November 2008, 07:10 AM
I find that when I have problems it's almost always on zbrush's end. I have no idea why things get messed from time to time but they do. When I export from other apps (3Dcoat), or bake them out in XSI things are always fine.

Of coarse it goes without saying that you need to have a tangent map going...

I still can't find a way to get any kind of normal map besides tangent based ones to work though from zbrush- anyone know the secret to that? There are a few times I'd rather use object based normal maps believe it or not...

12 December 2008, 06:51 PM
Hello everyone. I am always getting seams in my normal maps. I have read everything I could find on the web and searched all forums that I know of. I have spent several days trying different configurations with Zbrush, XSI Ultimapper, 3DS Render to Texture, XNormal. And anything else I could find.

My Process:
Zbrush my object.
Run Zmapper with Nvidia Tangent Best, -or- !Default Tangent Best.
Export low res with MRG on and GRP off.
Import OBJ to XSI.
Give it tangent property.
Attach XSI Normal Map 2 using texture space and before mentioned Tangent space with Unibased Tangents off.
Always using Tiff float format on all normal maps. Also tried jpeg and psd.

I also tried the default ZBrush normal map option. Tangent-Adaptive-2048 resolution.

I have also tried using AUV and GUV tiles for my UV's, but I did not see a difference. I am now back to my UVLayout UV's.

Ultimapper Process:
Import low and high res obj.
Apply Ulitmapper property to low res obj.
Select high res obj as source.
Set settings appropriately.
Run Compute.
I get a large Distance to Surface setting which I have to lower down to 1 or 2, otherwise I get overlapping in my map.

I have read everything I could find and I see a lot of people who get Normal Maps to work correctly. But I am unable to be successful. I appreciate any help in this matter. I am using XSI 7 and 7.01.



12 December 2008, 07:13 PM
Make sure your UV's are facing the right way, try mirroring the palm UV's. might help.... might not.

12 December 2008, 07:49 PM
I Mirrored the palms which made the seam much more noticable. I assumed all the shells are facing the same way without the mirror. Just to test I mirrored the whole UV set and generated a new normal. The render was really wack. Thanks for the idea, I am looking for anything that helps at this point.

I hear a lot has changed at VFS. Hope all is well with you. !3d69!

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12 December 2008, 07:49 PM
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