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View Full Version : Easiest way to make a height map from a model?


odium
08-13-2011, 08:15 AM
This is something for some reason I should know, but haven't actually got around to figuring out, and it may seem pretty basic so stay with me.

I need to create some height maps for POM, but for some reason every effort I do to create them using various tools, xNormal/Crazy Bump etc, they never seem to come out how I would imagine them. The engine reads the height map as greyscale data, with white being the highest point and black being the lowest, its a standard POM solution. Which would mean then, that in the following example, the back would be a single shaded colour and the bricks would be a sort of gradient effect:

http://www.team-blur-games.com/odium/bricks_meh.jpg

Yet for the life of me, I can't seem to get that result from using the mesh directly, or the normal map itself even... And its puzzling me, to be honest lol.

Like I said, this is as basic as it probably get, but I'm having a bit of a brain fart. So any help or tips would be awesome, cheers guys.

AzzaMat
08-13-2011, 08:19 AM
i think u can render out a height map in max using the render to texture tool

Bal
08-13-2011, 08:31 AM
What problem are you having with xNormal? I usually bake out my height maps with it, and it's fairly straightforward, there's even an interface to tweak it when you bake it now which is pretty handy.

SpeCter
08-13-2011, 08:37 AM
Like AzzaMat said you an use RTT (Displacement map)(or xNormal) or you can use CrazyBump to convert your normal map to a heightmap and the nvidia filter can do it too(although itīs results are horrible)

odium
08-13-2011, 08:37 AM
The fact I don't usually use xNormal is my problem :p In fact, I tend to stay away from high end baking and programs, and usually make as much as I can by hand.

When I use xNormal, my maps either come out garbled, or pitch black, for example:

http://www.team-blur-games.com/odium/brick_height.jpg

SpeCter
08-13-2011, 08:41 AM
What settings do you use? Do you use a cage or raydistance?

odium
08-13-2011, 08:45 AM
I left those at default in xNormal, I wasn't sure what settings to use so just trusted the ones xNormal gave me. I'll have a tinker...

Got it. For some reason, this time it all came out perfectly fine... Strange. Thanks for the help guys, like I said must have just been having a brain fart lol...

http://www.team-blur-games.com/odium/bricks_pom.jpg

Chaoselite
08-15-2011, 07:10 PM
The transition from brick to the dirt is amazing how did you make it transition so smooth?

odium
08-16-2011, 06:25 AM
Using multiple masks really, here are flats for two different textures:

http://team-blur-games.com/odium/od_flats_1.jpg

http://team-blur-games.com/odium/od_flats_2.jpg

Rick_D
08-16-2011, 07:50 AM
you should make the bricks more interesting, and add in some smaller details so it's not just huge bricks and fine sand detail, will make the whole thing alot more appealing

EarthQuake
08-16-2011, 09:50 AM
Your bricks are clipping white on some of the corners there in your heigh, which means they would flatten out there. Tweak your bake settings so your height data is within the 0-256 color range.

metalliandy
08-18-2011, 01:08 PM
Have you tried the MRGBZ grabber in Zbrush?

sprunghunt
08-18-2011, 02:31 PM
To create a heightmap for a 2d texture like this I sometimes find it easier to simply put a gradient map on the highpoly than to try to bake it. It's easier to control the range of tones that way and stop what Earthquake is talking about.

SpeCter
08-19-2011, 04:19 AM
Your bricks are clipping white on some of the corners there in your heigh, which means they would flatten out there. Tweak your bake settings so your height data is within the 0-256 color range.

Isnīt it actually 0-255?

r_fletch_r
08-19-2011, 05:19 AM
Isnīt it actually 0-255?

my god you've found a fatal flaw!! :P

SpeCter
08-19-2011, 08:15 AM
my god you've found a fatal flaw!! :P

Seeing EQ making a (very little) mistake, i just couldnīt resist myself:poly142:

EarthQuake
08-19-2011, 10:39 AM
To create a heightmap for a 2d texture like this I sometimes find it easier to simply put a gradient map on the highpoly than to try to bake it. It's easier to control the range of tones that way and stop what Earthquake is talking about.

Yeah, a planar map from the side with a gradient will work fine too, then you can just do a simple diffuse bake without worrying about height settings. Its a little more work though, so I probably would skip it and just do a few quick, small height test bakes, which would only take a few seconds.

Isnīt it actually 0-255?

Yes, 0-255. =P