How to bake or paint better normal maps (basics)

Reading this humbled me - I’m a total 3d modeling noob ^^

Yep. Pretty much the standard of the industry. Several assets in the test-data jar have normal maps done with this technique.

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I’ve been practicing with normal maps a lot recently. The tactic of just making the image yourself and putting it in (via crazy bump to get the right colours) has been working out well. I also learned that using lightmap pack in blender has brought me nothing but bad results. I guess it’s not suited for real time rendering.

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Yepp, when I baked the lightmap for the 2014 Blendswap contest house, it had some weird glitches near door frames and other close intertwined geometry. But afar from that it looked really nice, for example the soft shadows that were being cast by the plants/bushes looked nice. It’s amazing how one little detail (door frame glitch) could totally ruin the quality of an otherwise great light environment.

It’s possible to do real-time stuff like game characters with it (nehons Jaime monkey and several gun turrets and humanoids that I made). Blender has an own powerful game engine which comes at the cost of GPL license but has many advanced features and plugins. So, technically speaking, there’s real time stuff with Blender.

My normal maps often looked overall good but had crappy weird spots. Until recently I didn’t even know that you could use a cage during baking. Thanks for the hint to “crazy bump” and your success painting stuff. In 2011 someone told me that he hates painted normal maps because you can’t reverse generate accurate heightmap stuff from them, but that was a graphics coder. I guess it’s like the web article said: It’s the fastest and most efficient way to make normal maps. And that counts a lot.

I use lightmap pack for most environmental mesh baking and have had no issues really. I always hand unwrap character models so it may be funky on those types of models, cant say.

Well I’ve been using it for my lightmaps baked in cycles, and some of my faces just have random darker light than those adjacent. It’s not a spacing issue because I have tried with giant margins - based on the image it produces it’s literally just making a face really dark. I have had to hand unwrap when this is the case.