Author Topic: normal maps....HOW?  (Read 6469 times)

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Offline --Steve-O--

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is there a plug in for GIMPshop that will do this? if not is there a free program that will use plug ins to do this? and if not.... how do you do them by hand, using GIMPshop with no plugins?

now for some other questions. what exactly do normal maps do? i know at least from what i've seen, they add details that looks like geometry greeble in some type of bump mapping. do they also eliminate the need for shine maps and environment maps by being like the multi use map?
i was just playing the Earth Defense demo and it looks awsome with the mapping and such, so it kinda kicked off my need to figure out what i need to do to get my things to look that good in game.
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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GIMP Normal map plugin

Works fine on normal GIMP. Dunno about GIMPShop, but AFAIK it *should* work...

That will make a normal map out of bump (elevation) map. It has a pretty good array of options, too (IMHO).

However, you will still need to convert the normal map to DXT5nm (DDS) format for it to work in FS2_Open. This you can do with the NVidia DDS tools.


As to what the normal maps do... AFAIK they pretty much add specular per-pixel lighting (for main light sources, ie. suns) to the graphics, and the information on the normal map... well, changes the normal of that particualr piece of the model's surface, which results in light being reflected to different direction than a flat vertex would. Which is interpreted as intrusions and dents on the surface by us humans.

Height maps add to the illusion by adding a parallax shift between "low" and "high" portions of the surface as the model turns on the view.
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Offline Water

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You have a few options.
xNormal and Crazybump are two other programs that can create normal maps.

Either by creating a greyscale map or by going the hi poly -> lo poly method.

http://www.xnormal.net/
http://www.crazybump.com/

 

Offline --Steve-O--

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As to what the normal maps do... AFAIK they pretty much add specular per-pixel lighting (for main light sources, ie. suns) to the graphics, and the information on the normal map... well, changes the normal of that particualr piece of the model's surface, which results in light being reflected to different direction than a flat vertex would. Which is interpreted as intrusions and dents on the surface by us humans.

Height maps add to the illusion by adding a parallax shift between "low" and "high" portions of the surface as the model turns on the view.

ahh...trickery never looked so good until now. it still amazes me to see how far this game engine has evolved from the day i first played FS and FS2 when they first came out.

i'm playing with crazy bump now, and liking it very much. its easy to use, though it has a bit of a superiority complex. puny humans... :doubt: im sure i can download a therapist plug-in to help it work through those issues. now is it required that all maps be converted to grey scale before feeding it to crazy bump? or can one just open up the diffuse DDS map, have the program generate a normal map from it and then call it done?
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Offline Water

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now is it required that all maps be converted to grey scale before feeding it to crazy bump? or can one just open up the diffuse DDS map, have the program generate a normal map from it and then call it done?
You can use the difuse map, but all the texture noise also gets bumped.
As an experiment - feed Crazybump an image with some overlapping squares (different colours/grey)- make sure some of them have a glow around them. Then look at the output - green from one direction, red from the other. As the surface changes you get a green area, when it changes again you lose green etc.

You may notice everything ends up with the same depth - only the strength of the change of "height" shows up. Normal maps don't do depth.

The MVP normal maps look stronger for game use compared to say a normal map for a model render.


 
Also why does height mapping mess up the texture?

without:


with:

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Offline Vasudan Admiral

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Can you post the texture, normal map and height map? I've suspected for a while now that heightmaps are not being applied properly, but if so it's mostly because coders haven't had good test maps, and I've been a bit too busy to make a test one.
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Offline blackhole

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If that hieghtmap is getting overly offset it seems like one of the constants in the shader might need to be adjusted? This has got to be a problem with the hieghtmap intensity, but I haven't looked at the parallax mapping code lately.

 
Here's one of the maps used: http://scoobydoo.freespacemods.net/Problems/maps.rar

Edit: also whats with the normal/height map moving around?  If you slowly go past the hull the normal map moves around like it was a liquid.
Double edit: definetely a height map issue, the problem disappears if I turn height maps off.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2008, 06:59:18 am by Scooby_Doo »
That's cool and ....disturbing at the same time o_o  - Vasudan Admiral

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Offline Hellstryker

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How the hell do you install that GIMP plugin?

 

Offline Herra Tohtori

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Download the Windows binaries (assuming you're using Windows version of GIMP, otherwise you probably need to compile something, of which I don't know too much), open the zip file and read the manual:

Quote from: readme.txt
To install, extract normalmap.exe and glew32.dll to your GIMP plugins
directory.  Place libgtkglext-win32-1.0-0.dll and libgdkglext-win32-1.0-0.dll
in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\GTK\2.0\bin directory.


GIMP plugin directory is (usually) found at such intuitive place as C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins\.
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Offline Topgun

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that doesn't work for me.

 

Offline chief1983

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The normal map plugin link seems to be down, I pulled up the Google cached version and got the links from it.  Don't know if they're somewhere else.

Source
Home Page
Windows binaries

All links work as of this posting, I'd suggest going to the home page though, it seems more updated than the first link.

Also, you can convert to DDS with the Gimp DDS plugin or the Paint.NET DDS support (native to Paint.NET).  Here's the page for the Gimp DDS Plugin.
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Offline Herra Tohtori

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The normal map plugin link seems to be down, I pulled up the Google cached version and got the links from it.  Don't know if they're somewhere else.

Source
Home Page
Windows binaries

All links work as of this posting, I'd suggest going to the home page though, it seems more updated than the first link.

Huh, strange, that link worked earlier today. :nervous:

Quote
Also, you can convert to DDS with the Gimp DDS plugin or the Paint.NET DDS support (native to Paint.NET).  Here's the page for the Gimp DDS Plugin.


I personally prefer the NVidia DDS Utilities (nvDXT) to GIMP plugin. The GIMP DDS plugin is a bit unclear about the file formats and compression methods - especially regarding DXT1a and DXT1c, as well as more obscure formats such as DXT5nm, which is required to get a normal map working under FS2_Open anyway.

Also, nvDXT offers quality switches and a load of other options that the GIMP plugin doesn't even hint about. But I do prefer the GIMP normal map plugin to, say, Crazybump. don't know why really... :nervous:
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Offline chief1983

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It actually seems that all of those Gimp plugins on registry.gimp.org aren't responding, the DDS one is down too which is why I linked the home page instead.  Maybe they got hacked.
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Offline blackhole

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Its a heightmap issue, but the real question is, is it the fault of the hieghtmap itself, or the code thats interpreting the hieghtmap?

 

Offline Vasudan Admiral

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Looks like it's the heightmap itself. :)

Scooby, your normal map is telling the game that the bumps on that texture are only small, and the pits only shallow. Your heightmap however is telling it the bumps are Mt Everest (pure white) and the pits are the Grand Canyon (pure black). ;)

So what the game is doing is shading it based on the normal map values (ie, a little bit), and shifting it based on the heightmap values (ie, a LOT) - which is why it looks so horribly wrong. Reducing the contrast does help a lot there, but this texture should not be using a heightmap basically.

As far as I can tell, the parallax mapping works just fine. We do still need a better test map to actually find out once and for all though.
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Ugh, I wish I could find the original texture I used for that (what you see is a repetition of the orignal).  Then I could properly make bump map version wihtout running into the ever so slightly off problem I am having now.  And I have yet to find a better looking hull texture.  :blah:
That's cool and ....disturbing at the same time o_o  - Vasudan Admiral

"Don't play games with me. You just killed someone I like, that is not a safe place to stand. I'm the Doctor. And you're in the biggest library in the universe. Look me up."

"Quick everyone out of the universe now!"

 

Offline bkd86

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If your converting your normal/ height maps from a texture make sure you change the contrast by about 50% (as in down) then make the map and then test and go from there. Some programs like the ATI normal map generator only work off of BW images (so does the height map) so this will solve some of your issues. Best way is to either model the detail in a high poly version to map to a lower poly or paint a texture layer specifically for normal map conversion that is mainly in greyscale. Painting specifically for a normal map will get rid of the grainy look some of the normal maps have.

 
Ok I redid the textures, but I still have offsetting issues..

The windows look very funky.
That's cool and ....disturbing at the same time o_o  - Vasudan Admiral

"Don't play games with me. You just killed someone I like, that is not a safe place to stand. I'm the Doctor. And you're in the biggest library in the universe. Look me up."

"Quick everyone out of the universe now!"