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rcallicotte
08-12-2011, 06:04 PM
http://shadermap.com/shadermap_pro.php

This is great software, but I'm not sure I need it since I have Lightwave 10 and zBrush. Anyone know of any reasons this might be better or more useful than these two programs?

kosmodave
08-13-2011, 02:41 AM
Shader Map is a fantastic little program that is not intended to replace Lightwave or ZBrush, but is used to create normal maps from pictures to use with Lightwave etc. Highly recommended for generating normal maps which IMO are nicer than just using bump maps. :thumbsup:

Dave.

biliousfrog
08-13-2011, 04:20 AM
It's a nice app but I struggled to see any advantage over using Nvidia's free Photoshop plugin for generating normal maps, the results seem to be identical.

rcallicotte
08-13-2011, 09:53 AM
Thanks guys.

I forgot about Nvidia's software. It's a plugin for Photoshop, if I remember right.

JohnMarchant
08-13-2011, 01:04 PM
Shadermap is great i brought it when it first came out, i prefered it to crazybump although they do similar things. However there has not been an update i quite some time although the developers say they are working on it.

Greenlaw
08-13-2011, 03:05 PM
I've been using ShaderMap Pro for a few years...best $20 dollars I've ever spent on software! What's awesome is that you can throw almost any image at it and it generates a useable normal, bump, and occlusion map for you. (The spec image is a little questionable.)

Where Shader Map Pro really paid off for me was a few years ago when I needed to create some quick but realistic buildings for several city blocks. I shot and prepared several images of building facades in downtown LA, dropped them into SMP and it generated convincing normal maps for me. This allowed me to map the image to what were essentiall boxes with a few details modeled out and light them with a reasonable degree of credibility. When I was done, ShaderMap Pro had helped me accomplish in a day or two what should have taken me a couple of weeks to do if the schedule had allowed it.

These days, I use it a lot for creating maps from photos of tree bark, ground, walls, etc.

Want to have some fun: take random computer or electronic parts, lay them on the floor and take a top view photo. Then have SMP generate a normal and occlusion maps, and you have an instant 'nurnie-tech' texture.

Anyway, if you haven't used ShaderMap Pro, be sure to check it out.

Greenlaw
08-13-2011, 03:08 PM
It's a nice app but I struggled to see any advantage over using Nvidia's free Photoshop plugin for generating normal maps, the results seem to be identical.

The free Photoshop plug-in only generates normal maps. ShaderMap Pro does normal, AO, displacement, spec, and a few others. It's also a bit more tweakable than the Photoshop plug-in and you can see the results on various primitives and custom objects immediately.

G.

Edit: Also, I don't think the PS plug-in attempts to filter out shadows and try to extract valid depth information like SMP does.

rcallicotte
08-14-2011, 02:31 PM
Great! More information about this package. I'm about ready to buy it...now.

Thanks everybody.

Greenlaw
08-14-2011, 11:08 PM
BTW, Shader Map comes in two flavors: free and 'Pro'. I recommend the Pro version because it includes a GUI; I believe the free version is command-line only. At under $20, the Pro version is a bargain.

G.

Philbert
08-15-2011, 03:18 PM
This looks more like a competitor to PixPlant, which I am quite fond of. I mostly use it for making Materials to be used in 3D-Coat.

http://pixplant.com/

Greenlaw: do you know if you can load an existing normal map into SM Pro and adjust it, like adding depth, etc.?

PixelDust
08-15-2011, 04:28 PM
FYI, Filter Forge and Genetica can also output seamless maps (including normal and bump maps), although those apps are more expensive than ShaderMap Pro.

Intuition
08-15-2011, 04:42 PM
Shadermap pro is great. Some people at DD also use Crazybump.

Philbert
08-15-2011, 04:47 PM
I know a friend at a large game studio (can't say which) who says they use Crazy Bump there a lot for editing baked normal maps. It does a decent job, but I just can't get over the outrageous price. IMO CB is not even close to being worth $300.

Intuition
08-15-2011, 06:37 PM
Oh yeah, no doubt. Didn't think it was that high... jeez. We have shadermap pro and crazy bump here so I never looked at the prices. Didn't realize CB was so high. ;D

Philbert
08-15-2011, 07:18 PM
Just noticed ShaderMap Pro hasn't been updated since 2009. I guess if it works well there's no need for all those free updates they offer. lol