I'm facing an issue with normal maps inside UDK, you can see an example of what's happening just below:
and this is the actual texture bake:
Besides waviness and bad trace problems which I'll fix with different cage size and photoshop, what I cannot figure is why UDK renders such a bad result.
The normal itself was baked in Maya. The model goes around 2198 tris, and it's a repeated element in my composition, so I think it's pretty heavy already, polycount wise.
Among things I tried already are:
- Changing LOD group inside UDK, even setting it to UI did not help
- Using TC_NormalmapUncompressed didn't help, i think because of the lack of blue channel and my unability to rebuild it in the shader.
- Hard edges around UV islands and uv splits on SOME hard corners
- Baking with Xnormal couldn't remove the artifacts
The problem seems to be absent when I reimport the map in UDK (from Texture Properties), but shows up just after the package is saved.
I'm pointing at severe gradient compression performed by the DXT1 algorythm, but what I'm asking is: how do people render this kind of smooth, techy surfaces?
Other than baking a full hi-poly object on a lower one the only way I can figure out is to model all the bevels in geometry and just add details such as cuts, trims, holes and bolts via normal map, drawn in photoshop and NV filtered, but in this case it would increase my (already high) polycount too much.
If anyone can point me the right in the right direction I'll be very glad