View Full Version : Steve Warner's LightWave9 to ZBrush Guide Question

07-04-2006, 10:19 AM
I have completed Steve's latest ZB - LW9 tutorial. It is great.

However, I am a little confused on how to create highly detailed Displacement/Normal Maps once the Bump Map has been created.

If I understand the tutorial correctly the bump is created with High detail. After page 22 23 the Displacement/Normal Maps are created with less detail as this is not necessary with his model.

However if you want the Displacement/Normal Map to be very detailed, do you need to make separate Maps using the Zadd and Zsub?

If so, once you have created your Bump Map (page 22-23) do you need to...

Create a new texture for the Displacement/Normal or use the undo until the Bump has gone, then use the ProjectionMaster/Deformation/DropNow Box to create the new maps with the Zadd/Zsub.?

If you create separate maps using the Projection Master, how do you get them to align or match up with each other?

If any LWer's have done the tut all suggestions appreciated

07-04-2006, 10:41 AM
You can ask Steve at:

07-04-2006, 10:58 AM
I have. I was just hoping in case he's away or busy that someone here has also done the tut.

I suppose a simple way of asking the question would be... In the ProjectionMaster/can you tick the color and Deformation boxes together therefore using RGB and Zadd to create a single Map to output as detailed Bump/Deformation/normal Maps

07-05-2006, 02:38 AM
Hi Sculpactive,

I also did the tut (I think you mean the LW<>Zbrush pipeline-guide, right?). Making a bumpmap using colors was new to me, but I tried it out. If I understand correctly the making of the bumpmap only works with colors. So: you are not changing any geometry of your Zbrush model. If you wanted Normal and Displacementmaps of the same details you made as bumpmaps, you could try to combine color and displacement in the projection master.
Most of the time I don't use a bumpmap: I just make as much detail as I want in Z and generate a normal+displ map from it. These two give you all the detail you need within LW. Maybe Steve could explain the use of Zbrush bumpmaps for us?
I haven't seen your question at Steve's forum: sure you posted it correctly? Place your question in the tutorial section and Steven will answer and offer all the help he can. Sometimes he is busy with making new books and tut's for us, so be a little patient.
I would like to know the answer to your problem as wel, so I'll keep my eyes open.

07-05-2006, 04:21 AM

Thanks for the reply.
Yes I did mean the LW-Zbrush pipeline-guide.
I came to the same conclusion as you, which is to just use the detailed Displacement Map and Normal Maps.

I probably have not explained it that well but you seem to have taken the same path as me. In Steve's tut, you can of course in make a detailed Bump Map and two Normal/Displacements Maps that are less detailed, but to make all 3 detailed maps together at the same time is unclear.

I did not post on Steve's site as he seems to be busy at the moment. Instead I posted on CGSociety/Zbrush, and emailed him the link in the hope he has time to check it out.

Anyway it basically repeats what I have said above.

I will post it on his forum this afternoon, but as I said, like you I'm going to just use the detailed Normal/Displacement Maps.

07-05-2006, 04:51 AM
Here's the link for the post on Steve's forum...


07-05-2006, 12:20 PM
Steve kindly replied to my question on another forum, so I am sure he won't mind me reproducing it below.

Thanks for the great questions. Sorry for the confusion. The Displacement maps are actually created with all the details you need. Nothing more needs to be done to add extra detail to them. When they're applied to your model in LightWave, the amount of detail being recreated will be determined by the Render Subpatch Level. Increasing the Render Subpatch Level will cause your render times to drastically increase. For this reason, I suggest using a lower Render Subpatch Level in conjunction with a Normal Map to give the appearance of higher subpatch levels without the render time hit. LightWave 9 is much more adept than its predecessors at handeling large numbers of polygons, so if you've upgraded to LightWave 9, you may find that you can get by with just the Displacement map and not the Normal Map. But to reiterate, you don't need to do anything in ZBrush to add detail to your maps. To get more from your Displacement Map, just increase the Render Subpatch Level in LightWave.



07-05-2006, 05:09 PM
Thanks for keeping me informed! Steve still doesn't explain why one should use bumpmaps then...

07-06-2006, 01:12 AM
So that this does not get too confusing anyone who is interested please go to ..

http://www.stevewarner.com/html/forum.html and continue the thread.

I will suggest the same over at CGSociety

07-07-2006, 10:25 AM
Thanks for keeping me informed! Steve still doesn't explain why one should use bumpmaps then...

I am out of the loop here a bit on what you guys are discussing but I am going to throw in my two cents as to why Steve recommends using bump maps.

Bump mapping is the final nail in your displacement coffin. Small scratches, tiny bumps, minute surface defects or whatever literally do not have to be displaced nor should they be as there is a breakpoint between surface reality and rendering necessity. In otherwords surface displacement has a cut off point to where it is no more visually effective than pure bump mapping. In which case bump mapping is much faster to render and apply.

So displacements and bump mapping have a rather symbiotic relationship.

07-08-2006, 03:28 AM
Thanks Theo, just what I wanted to know, but can you tell me: why not use a normal map for that sort of minute detail?