View Full Version : Baked Normal Map VS CrazyBump Normal Map

09-02-2011, 04:24 PM
This may have been answred many times before, when is it best to bake a normal map or get crazy bump to generate one for you?

I'm guessing baked normal maps get that extra bit of detail and are best used for characters, weapons and props rather than say a building facade.

09-02-2011, 04:26 PM
normal maps created from crazy bump aren't going to give you rounded edges on your models. Thats just one reason a baked normal map is better then one created from crazy bump. I'm pretty sure your question has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum.

09-02-2011, 04:28 PM
thanks for the quick reply, i thought this might have been discussed/debated but didnt fancy wadig through old threads.

thanks again.

09-02-2011, 04:32 PM
A baked normal map replaces the normals of your lowpoly mesh, on a per-pixel basis. This means the vertex normals(smoothing) of the lowpoly can be much more accurate.

A bump/height map converted to a normal map is a simple 2d image, and will never account for smoothing or anything else. Basically you'll never have a lowpoly model that "looks" like a highpoly model without a baked normal map. A converted normal is always going to look exactly like what it is, a bump map thrown on a lowpoly model.

Detail is completely irrelevant to either method, as both methods are limited to the same amount of pixels/resolution.

Baked normals are generally best suited to any model that has a unique UV layout. However, tiling textures can also be baked from high resolution geometry.

Generated normals are often best for simple, noisy type textures, like a basic concrete wall. For things with more complex and larger shapes modeling or sculpting a high res mesh will often be faster, more accurate, better quality, or all 3.

09-02-2011, 04:39 PM
thanks for the reply, i think i'll stick to crazybump for the time being.

09-02-2011, 04:56 PM
thanks for the reply, i think i'll stick to crazybump for the time being.

Care to expand on why you've come to that decision, what type of work you're doing etc?

Often times I feel like people think doing crazybump normals is faster, or more convenient etc. However generally the root cause of this is that they are simply slow when it comes to high res modeling.

So it can be a lot more productive as an artist to say hey, I'm going to work on getting faster with high-res stuff, and challenge myself to create some cool sub-d work and sculpted models. If you're avoiding doing it because you think its slow or hard, thats just going to come back to bite you in the long term.

09-02-2011, 05:08 PM
im going through the modular building tutorial from 3d motive which doesnt involve any high poly modelling. basically importing textures into max and manipulating planes to create building silhouettes the importing into unreal.

i'll be going through the high poly tutorial from 3d motive aswell which looks pretty good.

09-02-2011, 05:11 PM
Cool, its important to note that sometimes modular building sets will be built up from a variety of uniquely unwraped pieces(thus a high res source would be a plus). But if you're going over the modular + high res stuff, that is certainly a good start.

09-02-2011, 05:16 PM
im in my final year of a degree course so ive been brushing up on 3ds max ad udk over the summer. im hoping to go into level design and want to build my own assets, ive only found this forum recently which i now read everyday, loads of talented and helpful people.

09-02-2011, 05:18 PM
My best advice to you: post your work early and often in the Pimping & Preview section, and pay attention to what the other artists here have to say. Taking in critiques from polycount, and getting a bit of exposure while you're at it is one of the best things you can do as a young artist.

09-02-2011, 05:20 PM
thanks for the advice! it is a bit daunting though, but i suppose everyone has to start somewhere!