Blender documentation/ tutorials/ textures/ create normal-maps

This tutorial is about how to create a normal map with Blender and how to use it in Blender.

A normal map is used to simulate a 3D structure through a texture.

We will create a jute fabric. Since I didn’t feel like modeling a jute structure, let’s take an image of jute fabric to create the normal map. The problem, however, is the repetition of the structure at the edge, it is very difficult to create a "tiling" effect to avoid. The same method can be used to create higher resolution meshes on which z.B. with the Sculpt-tool, into lower resolution meshes with normal map.

The basic procedure is like this:

  • Low resolution mesh unwrap. We can already create a new blank image here in the UV/Image Editor Add.
  • Optional: save low resolution mesh. Whether this step is necessary depends on whether the creation of the high-resolution mesh is reversible or not.
  • Add more vertices to the mesh. Either with Multiresolution, or via Subdivision-Surfaces, or with Subdividing by hand.
  • Edit the high-resolution mesh.
  • Once in the Face Select Change mode, the blank image in the UV/Image Editor Assign. Do not unwrap!
  • Normals into the new image.
  • Switch to low-resolution mesh, so either remove the multiresolution, or switch the object.
  • The image with the "baked" Apply Normal’s normal map mapped as a UV texture to the low-resolution mesh.

Table of Contents

Preparation of the output model [ edit ]

Blender Documentation/ Tutorials/ Textures/ Create Normal-Maps

Our initial model is very simple.

  • Delete the cube from the standard scene, and add a Plane in supervision (Num-7) a.
  • Switch to the Edit Fashion.
  • Change with selected Plane in the UV Face Select-mode (F).
  • Open the UV/Image Editor-Windows.
  • Create a new, empty image (Image>New) in the desired resolution, z.B. 1024×1024.

The resolution depends on the number of faces of your high resolution mesh. For each triangular area (tri) you need one pixel, quads are resolved into two triangles. With a more complicated mesh we would now have to unwrap, this is not necessary with the plane, it is already properly unwrapped.

  • Switch back to the Object fashion the Plan (F).
  • Create a duplicate of the Plane and move the Plane to another layer where it will not interfere.

The duplicate also carries the UV coordinates of the Plane.

  • Create a duplicate material.
  • Add a UV mapped image texture (z.B. made from Figure 1).

The fact that the layer now carries a material is not really necessary, but we can’t create a texture without a material.

Creating 3D structure using an image [ edit ]

We really need a lot of vertices now, that’s why we put the result into a texture afterwards. Such an effort (of vertices) could not be made in a real scene, of course.

  • The layer is now subdivided twice. If your computer has really a lot of RAM, you can also subdivide three times.
  • Activate for the layer Auto Smooth, then click Set Smooth.
  • Add a SubSurf-modifier, select Simple Subdiv. from. Place Levels and Render levels in each case on 6 (exceptionally).
  • Add a Displacement-Add modifier to the field Texture enter the name of the texture (Figure 2).

In the 3D window, the effects of the modifiers are clearly visible, adjust the contrast and brightness of the texture, and/or the strength (Strength) of the Displacment-modifiers so that you get a satisfactory result (Figure 3).

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