UV map.. Normal.. Diffuse.. What does it all mean?

As a beginner I would like a simple short explanation of what these things mean to me and what they do for me in the development process.

UV map
Normal map
Light map
Texture map
Fbx 2014 vs fbx 2010

And anything else you think I might need

If youre asking these questions it will probably be futile to explain their uses as you wont know the terminology. Im assuming youre brand new to game design, so I would suggest finding some beginner tutorials that will explain everything to you that you would need to know to start off.

One way to get started is find a Material that is intriguing to you.
Then take it apart piece by piece and analyse the individual bits…
The following may help or confuse, just take it as attempt to help:

Imagine a room you must decorate for a baby on the way:

The actual Wallpaper

UV map:
A plan of how the Wallpaper pattern should fit over the walls

Normal map:
The parts of the Wallpaper that stick out or recede
(Especially when viewed at an angle / from the side)

Texture map:
Brochure showing general patterns to be used in the design of the Wallpaper

Painting fixed sun / lamp shadows on the walls instead of using real lights

A layout of the types of colors to be used on the Wallpaper
(Might include all the textures too)

Light Map:
A photo of the light in the room to help you recreate that same light later on.

File format like Docx to store models / exchange work between different apps.

This might help too…

Good luck, and keep lots of snacks around as its a long road :slight_smile:

UVmap: Think of a dressmaker that would put all single parts of a dress on a flat paper and paint some texture on it before he continues to put them together with some seams so it could be carried by a human (3D) afterwards. He can’t paint on a 3D-paper that well. Even your (texture)images (*.bmp, *.png, *.tga) are all flat… but should be put on some 3D item afterwards. The UVmap tells which face of your 3D mesh could be found on which place of your flat 2D paper (image) afterwards. It does not matter if you take a 2D pen or 3D pen afterwards if you mapped your faces. Its like a map where to find the same face of your 3D world on your 2D world afterwards. If you paint a line of color on a face on your 3D mesh in your 3D app you would get a line on the exact same face on that flat 2D image afterwards. Or if you paint on the place of a face on your 2D image in a 2D paint program then you would see that paint on the same face of your 3D mesh afterwards.

Normal map:
Is some faked 3D depth on a flat 2D image. It’s similar to a bumpmap that makes a 2D image look a bit more 3D with adding some shadows (while it still remains flat). But a normalmap does not only creates one static shadow like it’s the case in a 2D paintbumpmap but gives the 3D app info where it should do that shading and offset realtime afterwards. In short you could use a normal map to create greater details without adding more polygons. For example you could create PC keyboard with just one scaled cube and all your keys still get shadows on it using normal map. However if you would get your camera too close to that “faked” keyboard you would see … it’s still just a cube and that shadowing is just some rendering effect.

Light map:
Is used at static objects. It’s like a UVmap but this time you don’t paint on it manually but the engine gets some fresh empty image to paint some color for lightning on it. Lightning usually is expensive. All those faces have to be calculated at your light sources. So it’s not 100% perfect. Some objects in your game are moving a lot (so this recalculating have to be done realtime in a “quick” way to don’t stop your game and usually there are some tradeoffs). Some objects never move (walls of buildings) so you have all time of the world to calculate some static lighting on it before the game starts. And thats where lightmaps come in. If it’s a static light and a static wall you could precalculate how the lightning would look like… and since you do this rendering before you start the game you could get greater lightning details without sacrifying a lot of performace (in comparison to dynamic lights).

UV map–texture coordinates, UVW corresponds to XYZ, it’s an extra set of coordinates for the vertices of a mesh that flatten it out so that a flat 2D image can be mapped to the 3D object.
Normal map–Normals are the direction that a surface is facing, all 3D surfaces have a direction and you can think of a line coming out of each vertex showing what way the vertex is facing, this is important to determine how a surface is smoothed together. A normal map can change the direction a surface is facing on a pixel level and allows you to have small details like wrinkles and bumps without having those details actually modeled into the 3D mesh(keeps the polygon count low). The color in the Normal Map image changes the corresponds to a rotation angle.
Light map–it’s an image that is applied to the 3D object that contains the shadows and lighting. It allows you to get high quality lighting because the shadows are calculated beforehand and saved to an image. Otherwise, if you tried to calculate the lighting during the game it would take too much time.
Diffuse–also called Albedo, it represents the actual color of an object
Baking–sometimes you have a complex process to create an effect on an object–like calculating lighting, and you want to save that result so that you don’t have to continually do all of the processing again, you can save the result to a texture map (an image/photo) that gives the end result so you don’t have to do all of the processing. This mostly applies to lighting, but can be used in other ways as well.
Texture map–a 2D image, some examples of texture maps are Diffuse map, Normal map, Light map, Specular map, Glossiness map, etc.
Fbx 2014 vs fbx 2010–different versions of the FBX file format, they can have different features and support.

no actually all told ive been doing animations and tinkering with game development for about 3 years. the others who posted gave me exactly what i was looking for thanks tho.

this is exactly what i was looking for…

So what im getting… is that… if i for instance have a “day and night cycle” in a game… than the light map and baking process would not be needed? cause if its animated like a game pawn and it moves around the lighting will always be changing correct?

so how does this apply to a game with a day and night cycle where shadows will be constantly changing?

i keep hearing a lot about Baking animations. Is that something that is common in game dev or just animations for videos?

When i export FBX from C4D my textures come in completely grey. i have tried a few different release years for FBX but nothing seems to work in Unreal. Not sure what causes this or how to fix it.

For something like that you can’t use baked lighting, you would use a directional light for the sun with dynamic shadows (setting the light to Movable) and then you’d use something like a skylight to add some illumination to the shadows.

Sometimes you have a special animation rig set up, with constraints that won’t be compatible with UE4 when you export it over. So what you can do is bake the animation which will save the animation result to keyframes and won’t require the constraints.

That may be an issue with the FBX exporter in C4D. I haven’t tested other programs outside of 3ds Max but the impression I get is that other programs don’t have as good of FBX support outside of Maya and 3ds Max (which makes sense, since Autodesk owns FBX).

In your 3D app, animations are usually defined by a few keyframes and the curves inbetween these Keyframes. (which makes sense for editing purpose)
The realtime engine usually uses a per frame approach to determin the position and rotation of an object.
So you have to have a keyframe for each frame of your animation.

Baking your animation does exactly this and instead of a keyframe at 0 and one at e.g. 30 with a curve inbetween you end up with 31 keys and their values.

You possibly did something wrong with your export/import settings.
The file above shows you that it’s indeed very possible to import an fbx created with Cinema 4D including it’s textures.

Not sure what exactly went wrong as long as i don’t know your model setup, export- and import-settings.
There are simply to many things that can be wrong and sometimes it’s even the most obviouse thing like not checking the “embed textures” checkbox in the export options
or the import textures in the import options of UE4.

But i also saw ppl that didn’t understand even the difference between Material and Texture or why a Material eventually using procedural shaders doesn’t carry over 1:1 to a complety different program.

dude… nailed it. i wish more of my google results were typically this straight forward.