Can't get a good looking normal map (UDK)

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  01 January 2013
Can't get a good looking normal map (UDK)

Hello everyone!
Ive being wokring on a remake in UDK of the first area in Metal Gear Solid. I figured it would be a simple enough environment to start learning more about making game assets and UDK, might try to do it in Unity as well.

Anyway. I've been having some normal map issues but have more or less neglected them or been trying to work around them (up till now).
So after reading the "You're making me hard"-, "Understanding averaged normals..." and some other threads on polycount amongs others. I decided to make a simple test object to see if I can get it to work, which I couldn't. I can not for the life of me figure out what i'm doing wrong :( Feels like I have tried every possible solution/trick there is and it just won't work. So obviously there is something that I'm doing wrong.

So what am I doing? Well, I'm using 3ds Max 2009 to build a high- and a lowpoly (the scale is mm). I export them to xNormal using fbx, where I bake the normal map. I import the same lowpoly and the normal map in UDK. The problem is that I either get a hard edge (split normals) or big gradients in the normals which simple makes it look weird. I get the best result by splitting the normals and the UVs, and using the "Average normals" setting in xNormal. But the edge still comes out to sharp when rendered in realtime. I want it to have a nice rounded edge and not the 90 degree straight cut look.

Like I've said. I've spent more hours than I like to admit, trying every combination of setting that I can think of (even tried the xNormal to UDK workflow) without success. I would be very grateful if someone could take the time and look at my meshes to see if they can find the problem.

LOWPOLY - MESH (CAGE)


HIGHPOLY - MESH


UVs


FBX Settings


UDK Settings


UDK - Average normals


UDK - Exported normals


UDK - Exported normals + external cage
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  01 January 2013
Hey,

Never seen this problem before but I did notice that it appears you only have uv mapping on the low poky object for 12 triangles. Where there should be 20 triangles in that low poly mesh. Maybe re-UV it? As a test. Makes sure the ends have their own UV space.

Cheers.
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  02 February 2013
hi, I believe the black seams come from the light map.
I would trz merging the UVs at the edges (right now each face is basically its own UV shell, try making it into one piece. the light map is dependant on UVs)
also, sometimes rotating the UVs 90 degress makes a difference.
do you have a second UV set on them in engine cause thats where the lightmap is usually stored?

last thing, check the lightmap resolution for you asset if its too small it will not look right

 
  02 February 2013
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