How to make a proper Normal Map?

Hello guys,

Can you please tell me how to make normal maps for my materials? On the internet i found a site that can create normal maps for you, also i tried plugins for Blender and Gimp, but they can’t create the proper normal maps like the ones in the Starter Content.

I must doing something wrong, how to make the good normal maps like the ones in the Starter Content?

There’s two main ways to create normal maps. Tiling normal maps, and baked normal maps. Tiling normal maps are more flexible, can be used on multiple meshes, and which what a lot of the starter content materials use. Baked normal maps are specific to a model, and can’t just be applied to any model. You can use a baked normal map and add in tiling normal maps to add extra detail to models.

Substance Designer and Quixel Suite are the two biggest material creation programs at the moment, something like 80% of AAA games studio use Substance in production. In the past textures were mostly created in Photoshop, and tiling normal maps were often created using smart filters, but today that is mostly considered a bad practice. Substance Designer is a procedural texturing tool that excels at procedural tiling texture generation.

If you’re making a normal map from a texture sample then ‘crazy bump’ is a good free program. If your baking normal maps from a high res to a low res model then that can be done in blender without a plugin.

Personally, I’d recommend using xNormal for baking high to low. It’s very high quality, flexible and free.

Any baker that supports mikktspace is fine. Marmoset Toolbag is the best baker for game art, follower by Substance Painter/Designer, xNormal is fine, although it’s UI is clunky and the bakes aren’t the fastest.