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TheFr00n's Hasty NormalMap Tutorial (for the GIMP)


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#1 thefr00n

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 08:39 AM

This is just a quick and dirty one for anyone who wants to make normal-map textures for free. Normal Maps are the sneaky bits that make the texture look like it has a physical texture to it, even though it's actually flat.

What you'll need:

- The GNU Image Manipulating Program (GIMP)
- Cocidius's Normalmap plugin

Once you've installed that lot, we can begin. And before I begin, yes, I know, there's many more options you could fiddle with until forever, but this is the basics of it.

1. Open a nice texture. As you can see, I've chosen something lovely with lots of chunky stones that looks great now but would look really lame if it was a flat texture on a wall.


2. Go to Filters > Map > Normalmap. This opens the plugin - see below, I've already started fiddling with settings.

No two textures are going to be the same, so you'll need to fiddle to get nice results. The important ones to experiment with are:

- Filter: uses different filters to get more pronounced results.
- Scale: makes it stand out more
- Options: very important. WRAP makes sure the result will tile nicely. If you're working with a photo texture (as I am), it's often necessary to invert the X and Y to ensure the texture will "stand out" rather than "go in". For example, I inverted here because my stones were sunk in before instead of standing out nicely like they do now.

3. Click the 3D preview button to see it in context.

This gives you a chance to see how it'll pan out in the real world. Note that you can change the preview object from a slab to a sphere or a donut or whatever. In this case, the effect wasn't pronounced enough for me, so I increased the Scale to 4 to really get those plaster lines sunk in. Cooool.

4. Hit OK and hey presto! you have a normal map.

Remember not to save over your original texture, ok? Then head into modshop and assign the normals to the relevant materials etc etc and there you are.

Done.


#2 kkffoo

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:02 AM

That looks great, the normal map came out looking pretty realistic.
There's a free nvidia plug-in for photoshop, to create normal maps from ordinary images, but I haven't got the hang of fiddling with the settings yet, so my results aren't as good as this (look on nvidia website for free plugins)
One of the users here (sorry who was it? Davidwww?) suggested crazybump http://www.crazybump.com/, which does cost but is much more 'press the button you get a reasonable map', very quick..however sometimes a bit wonky depending on the light direction on the original image.
We've found that adding normal or bump maps makes a huge difference to the look of a set.
If the modder's workshop and I were on speaking terms, it would be possible to add both normal and specular maps to MS textures.
Crazybump generates specular maps as well.
Haven't seen any freebies for doing that yet, but there may be.

#3 thefr00n

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:22 AM

Rejoice - there is! GIMP tutorial for creating specular maps here:

How to make specular maps in GIMP

#4 kkffoo

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:27 AM

Great find theFroon, and it look as if this tutorial would work in photoshop also.
Add this to the wiki when it's up.

#5 AngriBuddhist

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 09:57 AM

Awesome. Thanks theFr00n. Looks simple and that's what I need.

Wiki-wiki-wiki-wiki

#6 reptor7

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 10:02 AM

Woot! A priceless post! Most exellent! Thanks!

#7 davidwww

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 04:10 PM

Wonderful tutorial, I'm going to have to start using GIMP.

Regards
David

Moviestorm still Number One

#8 AngriBuddhist

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 01:18 AM

For anyone following this-

The installation instructions inside the plugin's zip are incorrect. I found this solution-

http://registry.gimp.org/node/7490

#9 thefr00n

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 05:56 AM

That is most odd. It worked for me.

... but now that I think about it, I installed this plugin more than a year ago. GIMP 2.6 was recently released; maybe the new version breaks something.

I am using 2.6, but upgraded rather than freshly installed.

Thanks for the find, Angri - most useful.

#10 davimount

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Posted 14 December 2008 - 01:16 PM

Great Thanks!

Works also on mac
DaviMount
Davide Mantovani

#11 Xolotl

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 08:16 PM

(thefr00n)
This is just a quick and dirty one for anyone who wants to make normal-map textures for free.
Just googled this and out popped Moviestorm and Fr00n! Great work. And the specular as well. And it's all free today!

#12 William87

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 11:04 AM

Geez...Installing that GIMP plugin is a whole days work in itself...
You have to download that, do this, that, just give me an exe file to do it for me :shock:

#13 thefr00n

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 10:45 AM

Uh ... really? Didn't seem that hard to me. Guess I'm just used to fiddling.

#14 AngriBuddhist

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Posted 05 June 2009 - 09:07 PM

thefr00n, do you mind if I copy this over to the wiki? It will become an editable article, but, I'd make sure to state that the original tutorial was written by thefr00n.

#15 thefr00n

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:20 AM

Go wild. Could probably do with some explanations of the various features, if someone feels inspired. Alas, not I.

#16 bongoman

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 03:10 PM

Great tutorial & links, thanks very much for taking the time.


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