View Full Version : Normal map question

08-16-2011, 08:13 PM
Hey PC people,

In my effort to iron out my knowledge of normal mapping I am in the process of modeling an object and I am working on a floating geo. I have included images of both the low poly and hi poly.

Now the hi poly has been turbosmoothed in Max and next to it is the low poly. Will I need more geometry onto the LP? I am going to bake the normal map now but wanted to get your perspective in order for me to understand how geometry needs to be laid out to help the process.



08-17-2011, 05:20 AM
I would say the polycount on the low is way too high. Tons of vertices that don't affect the shape at all.

08-17-2011, 05:29 AM
What piflik said, geometry on the LP should be silhouette only, so there's a lot of useless geo on there. If you're aiming at a higher budget, you can always chanfer the 90 edges for a better bake.

08-17-2011, 06:33 AM
Thanks guys for your responses, I will be trying out reducing the polycount on the LP.

Having chamfered the 90 degree edges, will you recommend to apply smoothing groups and bake out a normal map? Is this something that is regularly done?

Alberto Rdrgz
08-17-2011, 07:00 AM
Don't think that thing will bake well anyway.... you edges are super tight on the HP. I recommend making the edges softer convert the LP to one smoothing group and bake.

08-17-2011, 05:14 PM
you're going to want very smooth edges so it looks high poly from a distance

08-17-2011, 11:36 PM
The only way to know how somthing is going to look after a bake, is to just bake it. You can model with many assumptions in mind, but the truth will be revealed after you bake. If you are new to baking, I recommend making 5 or 10 different surfaces, concave/convex/extrudes, and do a full unwrap and bake on them. It is best to fight normal maps on simple objects and learn from them then it is to fight a 50 piece full model with floaters and tons of hard edges.

For shits and giggles I whipped this up.

116 tris, 60 verts
1 smoothing group. Max2012 qualified normals on. 3 uv islands.


You can probably add/remove geo depending on how large this is on screen.

This, I think, just executes the above crits in picture form.

08-18-2011, 08:57 PM
@chaosquack: thanks man for the demo....it does look a lot cleaner bake than mine. I am trying different settings/geo. I will post back soon with my results.

@Alberto: I will be trying out your method.