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Is it possible to make a Normal Map without NVIDIA tools?

Hello,

I’m learning how to use UE4 and going through a tutorial by virtus he starts using a normal map he made in photoshop. I looked into the process and all of the tutorials I have found so far use a NVIDIA normal mapping tool. Problem is I have an AMD graphics card. Does anyone have a work around for this or solution?

Thank you very much!

You can use tools like → ssbump, crazy bump,…
Otherwise just bake one in your 3d program :slight_smile:

Welcome to the forums.

The nvidia photoshop plugin is not restricted to nvidia hardware.

I find it funny that you would assume it doesn’t work just because of the “NVIDIA” name :smiley: there are plenty of nvidia and amd software that work both ways.

You can use NormalFroMHeightmap inside of Unreal Engine. Import in your b/w bump/height texture. Create a Texture OBJECT (not texture sample), and source your b/w texture as the Texture Object. Connect Texture Object to the Normal from Height Map function. Control intensity with a Constant. See attached image.
9f1d9ec5bae7326a97d9971b1c94f2844bbcc5ee.jpeg

Quick tutorial on Normal Maps.

Normal map is a vector map - direction vector map. Z is the UP, toward camera, Y is up, red is right. Well, that differ from a software really, Maya and Max use different Y directions (up <-> down), so basically a normal map looks like this:

Normal.jpg

Lets separate the color channels.

496940dc8cf04b8c7e6454ee739e1b25fb08b93d.jpeg

So, putting it simply, a normal map is a “pixel direction map”. So, the most blue pixel is facing the camera and won’t be more than 128 red and 128 green. Why? Cause we have a range of 255 bits on a texture channel. So, the FLAT is 128 red 128 green and 255 blue. So we can go right with 255 red or left with 0 red. Hopes that does make any sense to you. Anywa…

How to create a normal with ANY 3D software? I’ll use Max for demonstration. We have out object (I’ll use a simple noise plane for that) with a white material:

Ntut0.jpg

Then we add an ambient light, skylight not casting shadows and set it’s brightness to 0.5 white. This will add white 128 color to all of out channels:
Next we add a blue light from top with 0.5 power:

Ntut1.jpg

And lights from each direction, in 3D Studio is red+ on the X+, red- on the X-, green+ on the Y- and green- on the Y+ (green is negative in other words). I know that Maya uses Y for up not Z, so it’s gonna be different. No idea about blender :stuck_out_tongue:

e52975330f789540d1fdc95c8839b0ba4df93f9f.jpeg

And t hen you render top view or orthographic camera:

6e6b4af0bc7a868e7e0555fbeef72c3eb96ebe1d.jpeg

You can use Displace to get the shape of your object from a texture or just model it.

But, it’s always better to just bake it using Render to texture, or crazy bump, or Nvidia tools, like guys before me said XD

Cheers,
Z.