The need for Bump slot in ue4 materials

Coming from offline renderers and trying out ue4. I must say for a lot of ppl who do archviz, bump maps are quite proper in our workflow. I am wondering why we can’t use bump maps as texture samplers like normals in the engine. To use a black and white texture for surface relief requires texture object (using normal from height map function) which makes using other material functions like add, multiply not possible or the bump offset function being plugged into a normal map for it to work properly.
In a nutshell, I am asking if there is a way you can just plug a black and white texture sampler into a slot for bump simply like the normal map into a normal slot without the need to connect to normal, diffuse, roughness e.t.c. and you can modify the texture with the math nodes in the material editor.
Is this possible at all in ue4 to use only bump texture maps without need for normal maps? I don’t know why something so simple isn’t possible in ue4. A simple bump slot for grayscale textures.

Normal maps render much faster, because all of the data to render them is contained within the map, whereas bump maps have to calculate the depth shading which is slower. That’s why games use normal maps rather than bump maps.

Isnt there a node which makes a normal map from a heightmap? Like ‘HeightmapToNormal’ or something

@darthviper107 I get the reason why normal map are used but having an option to use bump by providing a bump slot would leave the decision to the users. If they want to use it or not rather than removing it all together especially since unreal is now being used for other purposes other than games and higher specs are implemented for these purposes.
@Orkney Like I mentioned in my first post, ‘HeightmapToNormal’ node requires a texture object which removes the ability to modify or alter your texture using maths node or blending with other textures. That is a restriction.

consider using xnormal photoshop plugin to convert your bump map to normal map, it just few second of work

I am aware of xnormal photoshop plugin. Like I mentioned, the ability to modify and alter grayscale textures using maths nodes in the ue4 material editor. Is adding a bump slot really that difficult or it will break a code or something concerning the engine?

It’s probably better to force people to use normal maps than to add bump map support.
Normal maps aren’t complicated and you can still adjust the intensity if you need to in the material.

No worries. Will just have to go with it. Thanks guys.

Just to weigh in here - “just bake normal maps” doesn’t work for instances where a material uses procedural or dynamic textures. Being able to use a noise node to generate a height map and plug that into a bump slot would be really really useful. Basically anything that needs an animated or procedural height/bump/normal would benefit from a bump node.

I feel your pain OP. I wish we have a option to switch from Epics node system to a standart classocal renderer UI where it is way more simpler IMO. Epics node system isnt terrible but very complicated to do basic stuff.

You can blend multiple normals. You can scale, shift and rotate them independently and change their intensity. I’m pretty sure you can do anything and more than you can do in a “traditional” workflow. Just have a look at some of the ocean shaders. You could also look into vertex shaders.

The Need for Bump? Bump! Here you have it! :slight_smile: