LogoBEN CLOWARD - Technical Artist
High Res Model
High Res Model

Generated Normal Map
Generated Normal Map


DirectX 9 or higher
- None
- High Res Mesh

DOWNLOAD: (right click and choose "save target as...")

Normal Map Maker  Normal Map Maker


  • The purpose of this shader is to generate a normal map from your high res model that you can then apply to your low res model using another shader. This shader is different from all the other shaders I've written because it's meant to be applied to a high res model as part of the process of creating your art - instead of being applied to the low res model at the end of the process. It's just a clever way of using the graphics hardware to create an instant normal map instead of having to wait for the software renderer to do it. Just follow the steps below to make it work.

  • Create a highly detailed model. It could be a brick wall, a metal panel with rivets, etc. (This shader works best on objects that can are mainly flat or that can be tiled. It doesn't work well for characters or other objects that need to be unwrapped to texture.)

  • Apply this shader to your model and take a screen shot from an orthographic viewport (top, front, etc.)

  • Paste the screen shot into an image in Photoshop or other image software. Scale and crop the image so just the object is showing and the texture is 256x256 or 512x512, etc.

  • Now you've got a normal map. Save it and apply it to your low res model using one of my other shaders that supports normal maps.

    For instruction on how to apply this shader to your high res model in 3DS Max, read my tutorial - HLSL Shaders in 3DS Max.

    For instruction on how to use the normal maps created by this shader, read my tutorial - Creating and Using Normal Maps.


    If you have trouble getting this shader to work correctly in 3DS Max, send me an email. I'll see If I can help. Also, I'm an artist - not a programmer. If you are a programmer or know more about shaders than I do and you find something in this shader that is poorly written, broken, etc, I'd love to hear from you. I've mostly taught myself how these things work so if you have some pointers for me that would be great!!

    Return to the list of Shaders


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