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Old 01-04-2009, 04:41 PM   #1
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:45 PM   #2
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Some very useful links and tips I have found in regards to making Normal maps.

http://www.poopinmymouth.com/tutoria...l_workflow.htm
http://www.bencloward.com/tutorials_normal_maps9.shtml
and the XNormal Documentation that comes with the program. In particular everything relating to Cages (creating in Xnormal or importing from external program such as 3dSMax).

Q: Why do my normals rendered from XNormal look weird in 3DSMax (odd gradients, lighting issues etc.)?
A: Flip the Green (Y) element in the Normal Bump shader in the Max material browser OR set the green channel to -Y instead of +Y on the box with ... next to Normals in the Baking options in Xnormal.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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If you having problems with your mesh exploding after bringing your low poly out to max to map then bringing it back into z-brush, follow these steps and all will work fine. I found this after a couple of hours searching for an answer when it happened to me.

http://www.zbrushcentral.com/zbc/showthread.php?t=47891

this is how you export your mesh to 3d max for uvs and bring it back to zbrush without the mesh exploding

* in zbrush make sure the export settings are set to mrg on and grp off (very important)

* goto your models lowest subdivision and export

* load 3d max and import your model (make sure you select single not multiple objects in the settings, very important), i also unselected the import texture coordinates but dont know if that makes or breaks this process

* do your uvs, a good tutorial for the ideas behind doing this is by eric masowski, search for eric masawski organic modeling in google and you will find it. (make sure you dont move or edit anything other than uvs on your model, as this alters the vertex order)

* now export the model with texture coordinates, use name such as model export 1 so you dont get confused on the next few steps

* now open a new project in 3d max and reset it, then import the exported model you just did (make sure texture coordinates are still on and its single not multiple objects.

* then export it again (same as before), this time name it model export 2

* open zbrush and import the obj you just exported from max

* export it again, again make sure mrg is on grp off

* i then closed zbrush, re opened it, loaded my high def model, turn that down to lowest subdivision (this should be the one you original exported at)

* now import your just exported model from zbrush. this should now work when you go through the division levels. select uv check just to double check its applied your new coordinates. (they should appear in the texture panel on the left, i think no red areas means no overlapping which is what you need.
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:46 PM   #4
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Q: Has anyone got Xnormal working with imported cage information at a remotelly reasonable speed?

A: No, probably not (!). However using Render to Texture in Max OR Using the editor in XNormal to create a cage seems to work at reasonable speeds. However, I cannot seem to have Xnormal read smoothly across seams like Max can. If anyone knows what kind of settings are needed (on export of low poly model etc) then please tell me and I will add it to this post.

Good 3dsmax Render to Texture settings to apply are as follows (thanks L3xicon!) :
In max, when rendering to texture, be sure to setup your super sampler (I use hammersley and quality at 1.0) and a good filter (such as mitchel) in the options button at the right side of the 'Projection Mapping' section.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:58 AM   #5
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What are the limits of normal map? If I make many details like chains in highpoly, ca, low poly be still simple extruded box?
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:15 AM   #6
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Think of a normal map as a bump map and you will have a pretty good idea of the capabilities. If you wanted to do a chain where the actual chain is made from a normal map then you would probably be looking at an alpha mapped plane. If however you have a modelled chain then the normal map can be used to give it the appearance of having a higher detail mostly through using it to add scratches, dents and so on
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:21 AM   #7
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Just make sure you use Normal Maps to add texture and details, and not to put whole shapes there that the geometry can't support. i.e. Don't think normal maps can put shapes there that aren't.

As for a good tip; this maybe helpful to rookies, but if you're having trouble with poly flow, render out your model and take it into photoshop. On a new layer, just draw what you think the poly flow should be, and use that layout as something to follow back in your modeling app. I can say from personal experience that the lure of using 3ds max's "connect" and "bridge" buttons is tempting, but relying on that too much can cause you to end up with some ugly geometry that you'll likely end up having to rebuild.

Also, if you've gone over the poly limit -- remember, it's 10k tris -- the back of the character and bottom surfaces (like the feet) should be the first you go crazy with optimizing. Keep the resolution on the front, as thats what you're going to focus on for your glamour/beauty render. Of course, erase any geometry that no one's ever going to see anyway; anything covered in armor for example. And go through your model and see if you can just knock out any redundant edge loops. The cleaner the model, the better!
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:09 AM   #8
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Cool

I have a number of Youtube videos that people may find handy in the creation process, especially the Zbrush ones.

Please click on the link in my signature to view the vids.

Have fun!
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:13 PM   #9
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I use 3ds max only. If I understand right, I can't make horns woth normalmaps only, but i can puts bolts and stuff without needing more geometry.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aUGIS View Post
I use 3ds max only. If I understand right, I can't make horns woth normalmaps only, but i can puts bolts and stuff without needing more geometry.
Correct, provided those details are painted to look relatively flush to the surface, like this:



Here's a few more examples of a basic cube with normal maps applied







You can also layer details on top of each other like this:

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Old 02-04-2009, 02:17 PM   #11
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look at my thread for what you can do with chains...both my mini challenge and tis one. This one uses a 4 sided box as a chain, no opacity needed. in the mini comp I use a flat plane with opacity. Normals are wicked. Learn em and love em

*starts to take own advice*
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:53 PM   #12
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:29 PM   #13
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I have a uv mapping question. To save space, I know if both sides of an object are symettrical, you overlap the uv's on the map. I'm using 3DS Max and this is what I've tried and it isn't working. Maybe somebody can help me out here.

1. Apply unwrap uvw modifier to model.
2. Select face in unwrap uvw modifier and lay out half of my model.
3. Select wrapped half, select copy in the uvw editor.
4. Select the unwrapped half, select paste in the uvw editor.

This seems to work as it lays out the other half exactly on top, but when I take the uv template into photoshop to do a quick test, they are not lined up exactly. There is some stretching on the half that I pasted the uvw's to. Is there something I am missing, or am I just doing it completely wrong? I've never done a low poly char like this before, so I never really tried to get everything onto one map, so I'm a little lost as to how it is accomplished.

When I originally modeled the low poly model, I modeled half of it, then used the symmetry modifier. When the model was complete, I collapsed the stack, giving me both sides as just one editable poly. Not sure if this is important, but figured I would let you guys know exactly what I did.

Many thanks in advance if anybody can help me out, or point me to a good tutorial.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:35 PM   #14
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SR_6274:

What you could do is:

1.) Delete half of your mesh (all the symetrical parts).

2.) Unwrap that part.

3.) Add a Symmetry modifier and collapse the stack.

4.) Now Unwrap the mesh again.

5.) In the viewport (while the UVMap window is open) select the faces of an identical part (i.e an arm, a leg, etc..) and you should see it highlight in the UV Window.

6.) As a test select the Move Tool and move it over. You should see that both halves have been perfectly overlaid.

7.) Now attach any non-symmetrical parts and unwrap them.

Hope this helped.

Cheers~
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:44 PM   #15
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Thanks Novian

So I think I might have messed up then lol. I made the low poly first, imported it all into z-brush for the detailing, and will export the new low poly back out to unwrap. Since I can't change any vert's or poly's, I don't think I can do it that way since when I then bring it back into z-brush, it will explode my high poly
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