Tangent Maps - Got any suggestions?


I started this thread to find out if there is any available documentation specifically
demonstrating baking tangent space normal maps in blender. if not, has anyone
tinkered abit with the new SVN builds found at:


to see if baking tangent normals will work? I’m not a blender guru, but I did
do a google searce and found a very technically challenging work around
hack using the nodes system, but that is far beyond what I’m able
to achieve. You see, I recently came back to blender after going cold turkey,
in order to focus studies on c++. I’m not real familuar with the newer Blender.

I can maybe get by using a third party normal baker, but I’d love to see it done
solely in Blender, were it has always belonged.

I have three SVN builds (561 by jaco, 596 and 598) and the standard 2.45

If there is some techinque to accomplishing this within these or some other version of
blender, please let me know. I’m hoping for a fairly straight forward way to do the bakes
( with good results and minimum clean up ), since my computer can’t support xnormal, and
DENormGen seems to flake as well, even on a simple cube ‘crate’ bake (you know, crates
are in most games). Nevermind Melody, it has never worked for me, and I don’t intend
to read ever piece of documentation for a dozen apps to do something that Zbrush 2’s
Zmapper does in that perfect ‘no brainer’ way. :cry: :banghead: :cry: :argh:

So please help this idiot out. Thanks!


I spent several more hours searching through google and found the related
thread post at Blender nation regarding the method of using Blender to produce those
sweet sweet tangent space normal maps. I put off blender for almost a full
year in hopes that one day I would be able to use the app in this way.

Hope the techinque will be documented in the Blender 3D Wikipedia in the future
by the master blender users out there for the little bottom feeders like me, heh. :smiley:


Thats pretty cool that you found it.

I noticed its on the 2.46 roadmap , scheduled release april/may!


Personally my pet feature is the Bmesh system on the task list for 2.50, allowing for NGons. [EDIT – reading that again I am not so sure if it is on the 2.50 task list, bit confusing tables] Ngons was and is the best thing that happened to C4D, hopefully it will be the same for Blender.



Thanks for the kudos Paintbox. :thumbsup:

So NGons are like 5+ sided polys?
I’m not sure why thats important. Paintbox, might I ask, When is it useful to have more than
4 sided polys?

To my knowledge, triangles are mostly used by game engines, which I can understand,
but I’m a bit clueless as to how more than four sides to a poly would help someone.

Please, do tell. :slight_smile:


Hi Anonymous,

I struggle a lot with the new tangent normal map baking in blender until figured out how it works.

I’will post a mini tutorial, hope that this help you…


You had to know better: a year without Blender is like an eternity. Yeah, there will be normal baking built in.

About NGons, quads and tris:
It all depends what you use them for.
Why Ngons? Architectural and machinery/ object visualization.
But quads should really be the target of your modeling. It seems that when using NGONs, there are more tools to help you modeling that you otherwise won’t find with quad, let alone tris.


Right on! You rule.

Nice explaination. That was very informative. Kudos my friends! :thumbsup:

Good luck in all your future endeavors.


Tangent Baking actually calculates better then DENormGen tenfold. Check it out -
Pretty decent first effort. New shiny toy:


Yafray doesn’t seem to apply smoothing, so, I prefer Blender’s internal render so far, until
I can work out smoothing. However, Yafray makes some nice images in any case.

I used a three point lighting technique that worked fair.

Notice on the two Blender renders that the egdes and corners have a nice smooth
edge, while Yafray has solid edges and such.

If any one knows how to configure yafray for the smoothing feature, why not
drop a line or two on how-to.


:applause: :thumbsup: :applause: :thumbsup: :applause:



NGons are indeed very useful when it comes to inorganic modelling, so yes, machinery or architecture. It also opens up tools that simply work better with NGons. It is true you should aim for quads and tri’s, but this is mostly true for character modelling. With architecture, that is not so important. A clean mesh is. So I would say, better workflow/tools for inorganic mesh building is the main selling point. Also, uv maps are cleaner that way.

There is a lot debate always going on, almost like NGons vs Quads/Tri’s camps. I personally see it as another tool in the toolbox, but a very good one at that.

Just take a look at the Bmesh video’s on youtube, and you’ll notice the difference and what it could do for you.


Weird double post…


Sorry for the late pal, I was in my shitty job and the machine here runs win98 yet…

  Anyway here we go:

NOTE: THIS IS A SVN TRUNK BLENDER, ONE OF THE JACO BUILDS ([graphicall.org](http://www.graphicall.org/builds/index.php)).
  1) First the lowpoly object. This is from a game character study I've been working on:
  2) After adding some Multires and a lot of work you finish up with your hipoly model:
  3) At this time you can duplicate your Multires mesh and reduce it to level 1 subdivision. For the sake of the machine you can delete all higher levels and apply the multires in this one. And why to do this? Because Blender it's pretty clever and propagates all the sculpting for the lower levels. So this lowpoly mesh conformes better above the hipoly one.
  For meshs with perfect simmetry I erase half of the object and add a Mirror modifier. After that just uvmap the lowpoly mesh and add a new blank image.

IMPORTANT: smooth both the objects (Set Smooth) and check the faces normals.

  4) Baking time! That's the part that makes me feel a moron for a whole week :). What to do:

[li] Put the lowpoly mesh right above the hipoly one (they can stay in different layers). Use the snap to do this (Shift + S);[/li][li] Select first the hipoly obj then the lowpoly one at last (order matters);[/li][li] Go to the Bake panel and select Normals (duh), choose Tangent and press the ‘Selected to Active’ button. It’s important now to rise the ‘Distance’ value above 0.0. Just try some values here…;[/li][li] Press the Big Bake Button![/li][/ul]That’s it, Tangent Normal Map, all in the mighty Blender. Remember to save your normal map.

  The material part and some render results:
 You can triangulate the mesh BEFORE the baking (game model only). The results are way better:
 Hope that helps, sorry for typos and my awful english.


Nice explaination as well. I can dig it. :thumbsup:

Your tutorial is perfecto! I didn’t use multitires for my crate cube. I must
try this out. Brazil has many great artist, keep it up! :smiley:

I’m a fan of the Crazy Frog and the fun song the artists made.

I’m sure this info could help others. Why not consider contributing it into the Blender
wikipedia? Mordachai, your english is easy to follow, not bad at all.

:bounce: THANKS MY FRIENDS! :bounce:


hahahaha, you’re welcomed…

You don’t have to use a Multires mesh. Just use detailed mesh (lots of vertices, subsurf, etc).

Try to use some bump maps too, in the hipoly mesh. (Nor channel in ‘Map To’ panel). They’ll be considered in the tangent normal baking.


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