View Full Version : Problem: Zbrush Normal Maps in LW(8.5)

12-01-2006, 12:25 PM
Hello everyone,

I was hoping you'd be able to help me with this problem I'm having with normal maps inside LW.

Firstly, yes I have read Steve Warners (thank you) extensive pipeline guide.

I'm trying this with:
LW 8.5 (TB_NormalMap_Shader)
Zbrush 2.0 +ZMapper (with and without)

The final object is to be a low polygon model for use within a game engine, therefore no subpatches and eventually turned into triangles.

Attached Files:
lwzbrush_001.jpg LW render (seperate error on lower right, black square)
lwzbrush_002.jpg LW render - object rotated 90 deg
lwzbrush_003.jpg Zbrush Screenshot showing map working
lwzbrush_001.OBJ Exported original mesh back out from Zbrush (with UV's) Use this as base
lwzbrush_001.ZTL Zbrush tool file (sculpted / altered mesh) Use this as morph target
lwzbrush.PSD Exported NormalMap file from Zbrush (no channel alterations*) FlipV active for LW use.
* I have tried FlipX and FlipZ as recommended when not using ZMapper and other variations to no avail.

The 2 renders from LW are of the same object with the same map on it, the only difference is that the OBJECT has been rotated 90 degrees, the light source and camera position have not changed.. 1 is lit up the other is dark. This is the problem.

Another description of the problem:
Rotate the model so its an upright bowl (like the Zbrush screenshot). FlipX and FlipZ in zbrush nm export preferences and FlipV in texture. Setup in LW with TB_NormalMap_Shader. The side of the bowl will be lit up perfectly with the illusion of being a smooth round object working fine, but the top rim will be in total darkness, regardless of the light location. In TB_NormalMap_Shader options, "Invert" the map and you get the reverse, the side is in darkness and the rim is lit up perfectly.

Well I've tried all the options I can find and nothing seems to make this problem go away in Lightwave. It looks fine using the Z-Mapper plug-in in zbrush.

Can you either using the attached files get a working solution in LW or create your own basic geometry and get succesful results and post the files.

* No subpatches
* Normal Map only
* UV's either zbrush created or LW made (neither made a difference)

I hope this is clear enough, if not just spam any questions you have. Hopefully either I've missed something or its a bug I've been blessed with ;)

All the best


12-01-2006, 02:51 PM
Haven't had any issues using ZBrush with Lightwave...
but then, I think I've been using in mostly with 9 so far.

I mean, you've got the pipeline instructions...
it should work.

If you've got all the files there in that zip...ZBrush, Lightwave LWO, etc...I might have time to take a look at it this weekend.

But you may just be blessed.

12-01-2006, 04:27 PM
uhm, i don't know how you to export this normal map, anyway,

i load your tool in zbrush, setup 1 subdivision
open zmapper
setup normal map, swap green channel, flip y
set obj space
create normal map

load in lw8.5, tb normal map plugin, and setup -100% in the settings, and this for me work fine.

anyway, lw9 is far from that and limitated support of normal, you have more and more...

12-03-2006, 06:33 AM
I thought I'd give you an update,

After more experimenting I decided to completely uninstall Lightwave and reinstall it all (after screenshotting all the settings windows I could find of course).

I can now get a working normal map from ZBrush into Lightwave using Steve Warners original method:

Preferences >> Import/Export >>

Texture >>
Flip Vertically

So it looked like I was blessed with a bug somewhere.

I now however cannot seem to replicate the same map, or a working map using ZMapper and haven't found any posts on forums with a guide.

pixelinfected: I tried the settings you outlined, but it doesn't seem to work on my system (before or after a reinstall).

Thanks again, if you have working settings for ZMapper I'd appreciate it, otherwise I'll put it down to the blessed bugs.

All the best