After writing the first tutorial, I compiled a list of all of the extra information that I wanted to include on the "Tips and Tricks" page. The list ended up being so long that I decided to create a whole new tutorial. With this second normal mapping tutorial, I'm going to go a bit more in depth for each of the steps of the process of working with normal maps. While learning how to create and use normal maps myself, I've learned a lot of information for how to achieve better results both on my own through trial and error, and also through research on the web. With Part II I'm going to go beyond the nuts and bolts of creating and applying normal maps and get into the jucy tid bits that really make them work well.
Note: If you haven't followed the steps in the first tutorial and/or created your own normal maps yet, I recommend that you do that first before proceeding with this tutorial. I lot of the tips presented here cover issues that you'll run into while working with your first normal maps, and they may not make as much sense to you until you've actually tried out the process.
In order to make things a little more organized, I've divided this tutorial into four main sections covering the four main steps of normal mapping (so far I've only finished the first one. Come back soon for the other three sections.):
One more thing before you jump in. As I said in the first tutorial, I'm an artist, not a programmer. I'm writing this tutorial to help artists better understand the process (which can be quite technical) so they can use it to make better art. I hope it's helpful to you. If you find some problems, know some more information that would be helpful to include, or just would like to give me some feedback, I'd love to hear from you. Email me!
- Tips for Creating Models
As covered in the previous tutorial, normal maps can require creating both a high poly model and a low poly model. This section covers information to keep in mind while creating these models that will help you achieve a better end result.
- Methods for Creating Normal Maps
The previous tutorial covered two methods for creating normal maps: converting a bump map to a normal map, and using ATi's NormalMapper program. This section illustrates some additional (and better!) methods for creating normal maps.
- Tips for Editing Normal Maps
This topic was not covered at all in the previous tutorial but needs to be addressed here since editing a normal map requires some special care and consideration.
- Tips for Applying and Using Normal Maps
I presented one method for applying normal maps in the previous tutorial: Nvidia's Cg plug-in for 3DS Max and Maya. There are several other good methods that I'll explore in this section.
Now get going and make some cool stuff!
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Tips for Creating Models
Page 3: Methods for Creating Normal Maps
Page 4: Tips for Editing Normal Maps
Page 5: Tips for Applying and Using Normal Maps