CGTalk > Main > General Discussion
Login register
Thread Closed share thread « Previous Thread | Next Thread »  
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-26-2013, 02:54 AM   #1
icantthinkofaname
New Member
portfolio
Tom
Brisbane, Australia
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 27
What are normal maps actually used for

Hello there,
I had a thread here
And basically it was showing my AK-47 Models and the model had 53K polygons, now obviously this is very high (for games) and would like to know exactly how to reduce this to <20K and preferably <10K, if possible. By using Normals maps can I retain the model to something close to identical to the images posted, if not how is there a way to do this...
Thanks,
 
Old 01-26-2013, 03:57 AM   #2
darthviper107
Expert
 
darthviper107's Avatar
portfolio
Zachary Brackin
3D Artist
Precocity LLC
Dallas, USA
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,124
Normal maps are images that can change the direction a surface is facing. The colors represent directions for the surface. What it is used for is that details on a high-detail model can be transferred onto a low-poly mesh to make it look like the high-poly mesh. so things like small screws/bolts or panel seams, scratches, wrinkles, all kinds of small details can be captured. And unlike a bump map, it doesn't make things look like they are sticking out, but rather only changes what direction it appears the surface is facing.
__________________
The Z-Axis
 
Old 01-26-2013, 06:05 AM   #3
Kanga
KillaRoo
 
Kanga's Avatar
portfolio
Chris Kautz
Freelancer/Character artist.
Netherlands
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,566
Send a message via ICQ to Kanga Send a message via MSN to Kanga
Like darthviper107 says normal maps give the illusion of depth. Normal maps give light information along the x,y and z axis. The maps are usually derived from high resolution surfaces but are sometimes painted directly in an image editing application and sometimes a combination of 'baking' and painting is used. The plugin nDo is a good example of a tool used to paint normal maps. Here is a game character I am busy with and I thought it would be easier to show what effect normal maps have. What they are used for is to give the impression of high detail in a realtime environment like a game engine. Normal maps are also used in combination with displacement maps to give ultra high detail to high resolution computer models in various situations as well.

Normal maps do not alter the geometry of models so in the example below you will see that the profile or silhouette of the model stays the same for each shot so normal maps will provide all the detail you need up to a certain point. The zbrush model for this character is 7.5 million polygons or 15 million triangles. The low poly representation of the model is 10,288 triangles which is a pretty big reduction. Not only that but there are two other versions of this character which are 4000 and 2000 triangles for Level of Detail models that can be used for distance shots. The absolute best software at this moment for extracting various maps is a free application called xnormal : http://www.xnormal.net/1.aspx by Santiago Orgaz. If you download xnormal the support documents that come with it will give you the best explanation of how normal maps work and hints on how to best extract them. The images below are realtime viewport screen captures so they are not rendered and this is the whole point.

Hope this helps
Cheerio
__________________
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys

Last edited by Kanga : 01-26-2013 at 06:27 AM.
 
Old 01-26-2013, 10:41 AM   #4
GiuliannoD
New Member
portfolio
Giulianno Donayre
USA
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 6
From my knowledge their used on low poly models to convey detail. Video games rely on this heavily since they render on real-time and therefore need low poly models.

-I'm still a student
 
Old 01-26-2013, 10:41 AM   #5
CGTalk Moderation
Expert
CGTalk Forum Leader
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 1,066,478
Thread automatically closed

This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.
__________________
CGTalk Policy/Legalities
Note that as CGTalk Members, you agree to the terms and conditions of using this website.
 
Thread Closed share thread



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
CGSociety
Society of Digital Artists
www.cgsociety.org

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump
Miscellaneous

All times are GMT. The time now is 08:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.