View Full Version : Normal Map Creation - the other way

10-05-2004, 01:32 PM
Everybody knows how to do normal maps. Right?

There was actually a way before using all the fancy tools out there.
You could just use Lightwave. Without any plugins.

I found this webpage when i was researching in the net:

They explain it in detail.
There are also some LWS and LWO files to play around.
(thanks guys)

Basically you take directional lights with specific lights and render your object from one side.
Some clever guys out there might saay: YES, But... i can not render my weapon, character....

But you can render walls, planar object, a perfect sphere (try to do a spherical normal map in Photoshop...) with (!) bumpmaps from within LW.
And that is the cool part.

And it helps to figure out, if your object is ready for generating normal maps.
Even weapons and characters.
You can judge the object without even rendering.

I finnd this method extremly helpful.
Some of the textures in Far Cry were done like that.
Long before Crytek developed their first normal mapping tool.

Have fun,

10-05-2004, 01:49 PM
Thanks for this link!


10-05-2004, 06:00 PM
Thats a lot to go through to make a single Normal Map.

Every other major package on the market can create one with a click of the mouse and bam it has been created. It can also be edited interactively. I'll wait to see what Newtek has to offer for 8.5 and 9 assuming it is not another 3 years for the next major release.

10-06-2004, 04:49 AM
wizcracker, have you checked out bumprgb plugin in the shader tab under surface editor? I tried it out, it works quite well with surface baker. I just turned up luminosity and turned diffuse to 0 and baked the shader channel to a UV. Now that I think about it, you might not have to change diffuse and luminosity if your just baking the surface shader channel.

This is world/local space normal map. I havn't found a way to do tangent space normal maps...yet, I'll look into this one a little later and if I find anything I'll post. World/local space normal maps are better for inanimate objects, I guess, and slightly faster than tangent space normal maps. Atleast that's what I've read on cgtalk 5 min ago.

[edit] here's links to the posts on cgtalk. And a quote right out of lightwaves help contents file.


This shader converts surface normals to RGB levels, useful for baking bump maps for dot3 real-time bump map pixel shading. There is no interface for this shader"


10-06-2004, 10:51 AM
Anyone figure out how to mirror your mesh and use normal maps?

10-06-2004, 02:47 PM
hi Lamont,

you should use Tangentspace normal maps.
You can mirror them (like on a character).
Worldspace Normal maps have a higher quality, but you can not mirror them.


10-06-2004, 02:55 PM
hi WizCraker,

sure, it is not a one click solution, but as i mentioned before, this is a realtime option for judging your normal maps instantly, without rendering it out or applying a special material to your object.
If you want to have realtime feedback, you have to do the same in almost every other package (we even do it in Max 6 like this).

Give it a try. It is easier than you think, and it has the benefit, that you can render bumpmaps.


10-16-2004, 08:09 PM
hi Lamont,

you should use Tangentspace normal maps.
You can mirror them (like on a character).
Worldspace Normal maps have a higher quality, but you can not mirror them.
I do not think this is possible in the Normal Mapper tool. There is one more step that has to be taken along with the Tangent space option... at work we do use tangent space and it works. This tool does not...