Normal maps

Hi again forum. I’ve never actually heard of normal mapping before JME, theres no documentation on it (unless I missed something?) and yet everyone seems to know wha it is. I did some googleling and it seems that you can use it to add extra detail like cracks and bumps onto lowpoly models & textures. So, I used the Nvidia photoshop plugin to try generating a Normal Map from a cobblestone texture I made. Comparing the texture with & without the map side by side, you cant even tell the difference. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be doing it wrong.

Whats the big deal with normal maps & how do you create/apply them properly?

My side-by-side comparison :slight_smile:

What does your normal map look like?

Does your model have tangents?

Must the model have tangents? I applied this in JME's material editor....

theres no documentation on it

cough cough

@EmpirePhoenix said:
theres no documentation on it
*cough cough*

Yeah but I wouldn't have even searched if this if everyone wasn't posting about it on the forums. I did google it, and I don't know what to do, thats what this thread is about.

Please read the wiki/documentation from start to end, it explains all these terms.

Your normal map is alright. However, it is way too subtle. This is what I do, and it works well - if you have a diffuse map, add it to jME. Right-click and Edit Texture, From Filters, choose Bump Map and choose the setting you want. Then, CTRL-S, save it somewhere and load it into jME. Then, you set it as the Normal Map in the Material Parameters.

ah but I wouldn’t have even searched if this if everyone wasn’t posting about it on the forums

there are not many about it, propably becouse noone had problems with it

normal maps are standard, so it must work and it work :)

His map is alright, but too subtle, that’s all.

Btw, you might want to take a look at Parallax (Displacement) Maps after this to enhance the effect (however, use it sparingly). You have to find a Displacement Map generator though.

normalmap should be like that one to get any effect:

I would recommend to buy this program for 20$ for normalmaps making:

Right, thanks everyone, i’ll try to make the map more defined & read the terminology @normen

Did you generate the tangents?

Your map looks fine

you have to generate tangents in order normal mapping to work properly.


I have always used Gimp with it’s Normal Map Plugin to create my normal maps. It has served me well. Here is a link that should get you started.

You can also “bake” a normal map of a high-poly model onto an equivalent low poly model to make the low-poly model look just like the high poly one. This is for the more dedicated modeler and is a lot more work. But the results are great. Check out the link below of the Blender Wiki.

Here is a quote from the Wiki Page:

“Use Normals [pre-baked normal maps ← my clarification here] to make a low-resolution mesh look like a high-resolution mesh. To do that, UV-unwrap a high-resolution, finely sculpted mesh and bake its normals. Save that normal map, and Mapping (texture settings) the UV of a similarly unwrapped low-resolution mesh. The low-resolution mesh will look just like the high-resolution, but will have much fewer faces/polygons”.

There is another area of normal mapping that has caused me much sorrow and anguish of soul …

I had created models of asteroids in blender using “MODIFIERS”, particularly in my case “SUBSURF”. Diffuse and normal maps were applied in blender and the whole thing looked “as sweet as”. But when imported into JME, either using the blender to J3O importer or the OGRE importer, there were whole faces of my model missing. And I couldn’t find the reason for this. Everything seemed to be quite “standard” but the result was simply HORRIBLE. Hence the sorrow and anguish.

It was then found – and there is a whole forum thread on this somewhere – that at least for the next little while, models created in blender which have modifiers applied suffer from this problem.

Therefore, my advice would be to create models in blender without using modifiers. Doing this, I have had no further problems. I now only use Extend, Grab, Rotate, Scale etc. All sweet.

There may be others who can comment further on this blender glitch. I’d love to hear what others know about it.

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Also note: in the original scene it seems like ambient is very high. Normal maps (and normal based lighting really) won’t be very dramatic in higher ambient levels… with high enough ambient levels you won’t see them at all since shadows will be just as well lit as the highlights.

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