Creating normal maps, help.


It is possible to create normal maps in C4D. I’ve got the texture I’ve made applied to my model, now what? If anyone could point me to a tutorial or some documentation I’d really appreciate it.


Need a little more explanation. What kind of texture have you created? Are you trying to turn displacement mapping into a normal map? Using the sculpt tool or a texture created somewhere else?


Sorry, I guess that was kind of vague. I guess my ultimate question is, what’s the best way to create a normal map from an image I created in photoshop? The image wraps around a model I created. (I’m am skinning a character for a video game.)

Can any of it be done in Cinema4d/BodyPaint? I’m a veteran C4D used but haven’t used Bodypaint before and didn’t know if it had this functionality. I’m on a Mac, so normal mapping apps are pretty scarce. I have a simple 2D normal map creator but it’s a bit convoluted and doesn’t produce the best results. And from what I understand, making normal maps in a 2D app like Photoshop isn’t a true normal map. Is that correct? Anyway, any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.


If I understand your question, just put your Grayscale heightmap (bump map) into a Normalizer Shader in the Normal material channel.
Then you can bake that texture out.


Couple of Mac options for you, Crazy Bump is a free beta at the moment:


That’s what the normalizer shader does.


I’ve been using crazybump. Great piece of software. I was just wondering if I could do this in Cinema 4D. Noseman’s suggestion pointed me in the right direction but I need to read up on baking textures. I’ve got everything set up like he suggested but when I bake, the data from the lights isn’t showing up.


But they do a lot more besides, just trying to help


Yes, that’s true. Not trying to put your post down, sorry if it came across that way.


So is there any advantage in creating a normal maps in a 3D app like C4D vs. a 2D app like Crazy Bump? (Edit: A little off topic but I found this helpful )


height2normal is the tool for your job=)


I Think it depends from where the normal its being generated. The new sculpting system p.e. can bake normal map based on real geometry deformation, while a 2D package (or a shader) will always try to guess the geometry based on color, brightness and contrast of the pixels. That’s my 2 cent :slight_smile:
For mac there is also PixPlant:


Okay. This thread really needed a stupid question, so I’m going to be the one to offer it:
What are the advantages of using normal maps, as opposed to bump maps? Neither “actually” deform geometry, like a displacement map with SPD enabled. So, what are the advantages?


Displacement in the mesh caused by normal maps will interact with lighting, bump won’t, for one thing.



Thanks, Brian.
I just tried a test on a project I’m working on, that has a simple hero object with a bump map. I swapped out the bump, for a normal map, and I must say that the result is clearly better! There are no lights in the scene - only reflections - and it looks substantially more “lifelike”.


Hmm. Never knew that.

Q: If bump doesn’t interact with lighting, then why use it? Does it have no interaction at all, or just less interaction?


Only Shading is taken into account with a bump map. Displacement also works with shadows and it gives correct contours. Displacement is basically the same as having modelled the geometry.


To make sure I’m clear, are you talking about normal maps? You said “displacement” but isn’t that a third option? Bump / Normal / SPD


My post was related to the one before with the reference to displacement.
Bumpmap and Normalmap don’t change the geometry of an object and are therefore only able to affect shading.
A Bumpmap will give you a “virtual” elevation of the surface along the normal of that surface.
A Normalmap is the same but directional so you can create much more detailed features, than the geometry actually has.
Displacement will either modify existing geometry based on the material settings or even create subdivisions at rendertime (SPD). Different to Bump and Normalmapping it allows for correct contours, shadows etc.
Technically they are very similar, you can use a normal or bump map with displacement, or vice versa.
For example sculpted objects most often don’t use the fully subdivided geometry but a much lighter one plus a normal map baked from the original highest subdivision level sculpting.


Thanks for the clarification, Srek. Sorry, I misunderstood your initial reference.
I have been using bump maps for this whole time, but just the other day I experimented with generating some Normal maps. I must say, the results in Cinema are substantially improved over the standard bump maps I had been using in the same exact project.

I’m wondering. Would I be able to generate a usable normal map of an entire imported .OBJ model? Or will the poly tris and quads ruin the results, just like they do when I try and bake my AO maps. Which just kills me, by the way…