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Snosrap
07-08-2015, 07:40 AM
In PS there are two 3D filters - Generate Bump Map and Generate Normal Map. Has anyone had any experience using those in your Lightwave projects and are they good filters right out of the gate? I've got my doubts about the generate bump map filter as how in the world would PS know anything about where a bump would actually be on a material as I expect it just converts the image to grayscale and that's about it. The Generate Normal Map filter is a complete mystery to me - as are the Nvidia Tools normal map creator and xNormal filters - as to how they know how to get any depth data. So what's the scoop on these filters and how useful are they in LW projects? Thanks!

Surrealist.
07-08-2015, 08:31 AM
The Normal map 3D filter in Photoshop has no way to adjust its parameters so is useless in my opinion. I always use the Xnormal Plugin.

The way these both work is to convert grey scale information into normals. It just fakes it. Obviously it has no way to know the direction of the original normals. But it seems to me it comes up with an approximation based on what appears to be a curve using the black and white values of the map.

Depends on the project I suppose. But I have found Xnormal to be reliable.

For some situations I find baking curve maps in Xnormal and converting those to normal maps in PS to be the thing.

Otherwise it character stuff I might be more inclined to bake normals, but it really depends on the situation.

At any rate I use these tools all the time and find them useful.

The maps are good for LW or any app you choose. Doesn't really matter there. But the best way is get down and play with them.

Niko3D
07-08-2015, 09:32 AM
...for to create the "Normal Maps" I always use Nvidia Tools...

https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

squarewulf
07-08-2015, 09:48 AM
...for to create the "Normal Maps" I always use Nvidia Tools...

https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

I use that plugin nearly every day.

For bump maps I usually desaturate or select only one color channel from the image and adjust its curves accordingly. Then I run a high pass filter on it.

raw-m
07-08-2015, 10:28 AM
I used the Normal Map in PS CC2015 the other day and was pleasantly surprised, seemed to work quite nicely.

Other than that, it'll never come out of beta but CrazyBump works really well:
http://crazybump.com

Snosrap
07-08-2015, 09:12 PM
Thanks guys. It seems like linear color space has more effect - is that right? I typically set everything up in sRGB, but I switched to linear and the normal map really seemed to make the model pop with more detail. What's the best practices for using normal maps? Thanks!

Greenlaw
07-09-2015, 12:24 AM
Yes, you always want to use Linear for Normal maps--setting it to sRGB alters the data and may produce bad results. Generally speaking, you want to use Linear for Reflection, Diffuse, Displacement, Spec, Transparency, and Bump maps, if you want to see correct values.

The exception is Color of course, which should be set to match the color space mode.

I'd like to cast my vote for ShaderMap Pro (http://shadermap.com/home/). I've been using this tool for many, many years to create Normal, Bump, Occlusion, etc., from photo images. It works great and has saved me countless hours on many dozens of jobs and personal projects. It's cheap too: ShaderMap used to cost $20 but, IMO, even at the current $50 for version 3.0, this tool is a bargain.

G.

Andy Webb
07-09-2015, 03:40 AM
When using normal maps made by the nVidea PS plugin do I need to change anything in LW (other than setting it to linear)?

In the past I've found myself inverting either X Y or Z because the bump effect has just not shown up, do I need to do this or should it work fine as it comes?

Cheers

Reco
07-10-2015, 12:25 AM
When using normal maps made by the nVidea PS plugin do I need to change anything in LW (other than setting it to linear)?

In the past I've found myself inverting either X Y or Z because the bump effect has just not shown up, do I need to do this or should it work fine as it comes?

Cheers

I am still inverting Y in LW 2015.

The result from the Photoshop filter are the same as from the NVidia plugin.

Reco