Maya Training

Introduction to Hard Surface Modeling

Maya Training

Interiors and Furniture Vol 1 & 2 - Modeling & Cloth

Maya Training

Shading, Lighting and Rendering the Bedroom in MR

Maya Training

Robot volume one - Modeling with animation in mind

Maya Training

Spach-Alspaugh House the complete courseware

Maya Training

Burt The Cartoon Dinosaur Vol 01 - Modeling

New Maya Training

Robot Volume 02 - Hybrid Rigging
You are here > Home > SimplyMaya Community Forums
Loading

Welcome to Simply Maya

Please Sign in or Sign up for an account

Member Login

Lost your password?

Not a member yet? Sign Up!

Old 05-09-2006, 06:24 PM   #1
Velusion
Registered User
 
Velusion's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Utah, USA
Posts: 368
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default Normal Map mystery

I've been searching for info on normal maps. I've found a handful of tutorials and other reference material. I've seached through all of my Maya and Mental Ray books. I seached this board too. After all that searching and reading, the only information that made any sense at all to me was this.

"All those little wrinkles and stuff aren't really there. They're created by the normal map and the light source(s). A bump map would always show the same thing regardless of the light direction. Normal maps take light direction into account. Results are more realistic than regular bump maps."

Other information seems to be suggesting the same thing; a "high powered bump map"... yet other sources suggest that normal maps are only used in video games for realtime surface information.

I remember seeing a behind the scenes clip from The HULK that showed the CGI hulk's head with a normal map on it.

Can someone explain what all the mystery about normal maps is?

What is the actually purpose of a normal map and what is it's typical application?

How is it different from bump maps?

If it's so good, then why use bump maps?

I went to Vlad's site and I noticed that he uses normal maps and his models are fantastic but that doesn't explain why he used them. Vlad, if you're reading this, please shed some light on the subject. I'm not lazy but the truth is that I can't find any info on normal maps that doesn't dance around the subject. Help!!
__________________
James Rogers
www.morphicmotion.com
Velusion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2006, 11:15 AM   #2
vladimirjp
Subscriber
 
vladimirjp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: stuck in the 90's boston, USA
Posts: 1,871
Thanks: 0
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Default

normal maps render faster than bump maps. because for normal maps the slope of the normal texture are already calculated; bumpmaps needs to be analyzed at rendertime and calculate the slope.
thats why games use them most. they are realtime/pre calculated.

again like you posted, norma maps take into account lighting info. so it s more realistic than a bump, which is just flat, regadless of light direction.
and also the fact that you can bake a lot of surface info into a a normal map, u can bake something low rez look really great, or a medium rez look like its a high rez mesh, or just use it on a high rez for low frequency details that a displacement map would take too long to compute.

i stopped using bumps maps completely just because its faster and maya can render them without problems.
__________________
Image dump
vladimirjp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2006, 06:21 PM   #3
Velusion
Registered User
 
Velusion's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Utah, USA
Posts: 368
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

OK! That helps. I suppose the next step I should take would be to sit down and generate some normal maps. Since I do all of my medium and high frequency detailing in Zbrush, I will generate them from there. I can tell there is still much I don't understand about normal maps but I will keep digging. Please forgive me if I come back with questions that seem obvious but I really want to understand normal maps. If you could recommend a book or tutorial for clueless people such as myself I will really appreciate it. I have the steps for generating normal maps in Zbrush but I don't have any idea how to make one in Maya. Also, I assume that when you wrote that Maya can easily render Normal maps, you were including Mental ray in that statement.... yes?
__________________
James Rogers
www.morphicmotion.com
Velusion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2006, 08:01 PM   #4
vladimirjp
Subscriber
 
vladimirjp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: stuck in the 90's boston, USA
Posts: 1,871
Thanks: 0
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Default

here are some quick links.

http://www.jeffparrott.com/normalmaptut_02.html

great explanation and resource links here

http://www.bencloward.com/tutorials_normal_maps2.shtml

good luck.

i highly suggest zmapper if u extract normal maps in ZB.
__________________
Image dump

Last edited by vladimirjp : 14-09-2006 at 08:10 PM.
vladimirjp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-09-2006, 08:50 PM   #5
Velusion
Registered User
 
Velusion's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Utah, USA
Posts: 368
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Default

Vlad, I'm in your debt. Thankyou.
__________________
James Rogers
www.morphicmotion.com
Velusion is offline   Reply With Quote

A little bit about who we are
Links you might find useful
Catch up with SimplyMaya
SimplyMaya specialises in Maya tutorials. We offer over 1,000 individual Maya training videos, ranging from basic Maya tutorials through to intermediate Maya tutorials. Our tutorials are created by instructors with industry experience and are designed to get you up and running in Maya quickly without making it seem like hard work.

Copyright © 1999-2015 SimplyMaya - vBulletin® Copyright © 2000-2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.