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Another way to bake normals?


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For references, I'm using 3DS Max 2014.

I'm using the normal method to bake my normals(projection mapping and render to texture), however it's not working. The render to texture seems to only render the overlapping details from other parts of the mesh. What I mean is that the single mesh is made up of separate parts, and only the detail from those parts is getting baked. The cage, which I've modified to include the high-poly detail, seems to have no effect. The high-poly detail is completely ignored. It's in the reference geometry list, and yet it's not being referenced. This has been a problem with every mesh I've ever made. It's hard to believe that I'm doing something wrong, since I've followed countless tutorials(which all say the same thing), and yet nothing seems to work. I know most of you use Blender, but there are a few Autodesk enthusiasts around. I was trained to troubleshoot problems with the software, but this was never covered. Nothing I do seems to be working.

Here are some screenshots to help explain my predicament.

The Render To Texture dialog and the low/high poly meshes.

OhCEZlC.jpg

The high-poly detail, which isn't being baked to the normals map.

vQixxiI.jpg

The normals map. See the big, odd-shaped things? Those are where the detail was supposed to be baked. As you can see, it was not.

HE1vmEO.jpg

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Good to see another 3ds max user.

Just a worthless guess...but try to make sure your HP model is completely enveloped by the LP model. From the looks of your viewport image, your HP model is too "exposed". Then re-adjust the cage as required.

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Good to see another 3ds max user.

Just a worthless guess...but try to make sure your HP model is completely enveloped by the LP model. From the looks of your viewport image, your HP model is too "exposed". Then re-adjust the cage as required.

Thanks, but they are the exact same size. Did you mean that I should make it smaller than the low poly? Also, having bits sticking out doesn't really matter as long as the cage encompasses it all. This is really frustrating. It's possible that it's this version of Max. I never should have upgraded.

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hey haven`t wrote something in ages but here i can help you

i would suggest changing you default renderer to nvidia mental ray , done with that ? place a standart omni light in you scene select the proper channel for your maping (from waht i can see you already did) expand you cage a little by using the % slider ; dont worry it will always " reset" to 0 when you let go.

For the future you might be interested in Floating geometry (< googel ) for parts like this. If all fails (even if it works ) you might also be interested in a little tool called XNormal as far as i'm concerned the one and only map baking tool out there.

also 2k for a normal map is pretty heavy it might look nice and shiny but in the end it will only lower Performance (with proper antialiasing a 512 Normalmap should do the trick )

hope i could help

if there are any spelling mistakes, i`m sorry might be the wine :D

going over the whole thing :D an omni light !!might!! not fix the issue, if it does never mind ( ;( dammm XNormal should though)

Edited by illniss
not sure !!!!
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hey haven`t wrote something in ages but here i can help you

i would suggest changing you default renderer to nvidia mental ray , done with that ? place a standart omni light in you scene select the proper channel for your maping (from waht i can see you already did) expand you cage a little by using the % slider ; dont worry it will always " reset" to 0 when you let go.

For the future you might be interested in Floating geometry (< googel ) for parts like this. If all fails (even if it works ) you might also be interested in a little tool called XNormal as far as i'm concerned the one and only map baking tool out there.

also 2k for a normal map is pretty heavy it might look nice and shiny but in the end it will only lower Performance (with proper antialiasing a 512 Normalmap should do the trick )

hope i could help

if there are any spelling mistakes, i`m sorry might be the wine :D

going over the whole thing :D an omni light !!might!! not fix the issue, if it does never mind ( ;( dammm XNormal should though)

FYI, omni lights and mental ray have no impact on baking normals. And another, I'm using a 2K texture because Render to Texture doesn't alias edges on normal maps. So I'll bake a hi-res texture and then cut the size in half. Also, I may end up using XNormal, though I don't really like the program.

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I've had ridiculous amounts of trouble making these kinda of bakes fit. The only way I've ever got them to work properly tends to be to split them up into several smaller models and bake them individually. Resetting the xform is never a bad idea either :P.

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The red are ray cast failures. So the cage might not be getting all of the HP mesh. Were xforms reset on both meshes?

Try using the raycast offsets in the RTT dialog, instead of using the projection cage. Sometimes that can get better results. Also, you can try putting a push modifier on the HP mesh and making it just a smidge smaller than the LP mesh, so it fits completely inside it.

You'll get raycast misses anyways though, since you have holes/gaps in the frame and such. But I'm sure you'll be masking that out or whatever. Hope that helps.

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...I actually forgot to reset the xforms. Also, what do you mean by raycast? Do you mean raytrace? Also, I just tried re-rendering after resetting xforms, and the result is still the same. Same thing by making the HP mesh smaller than the MP. Any other ideas? (I don't see anything resembling raycast or raytrace offsets in the RTT dialog).

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Try using the offset value, instead of using a cage. Depending on the mesh, it can sometimes give better results.

Just uncheck "use cage" and try different offset values.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1482056/rtt.JPG

I did that, and although the bake was certainly different, it still wasn't what I wanted. I edited the number to several different values(0.01, 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, 25, 100) and there was no difference between renders. I'm about ready to just use xNormals.

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I don't know about topic, but want to notice, maybe you know what you doing or I didn't see somethnig, because no one is talk about it, but details you try to bake looks like is not very suitable for normal map by itself. I mean mostly perpendicular plains. Normal maps didn't work this way, it's not height information, it's more like slope angle information. I mean perpendicular cube at plain even if correctly baked will produse nothing on normal map.

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I don't know about topic, but want to notice, maybe you know what you doing or I didn't see somethnig, because no one is talk about it, but details you try to bake looks like is not very suitable for normal map by itself. I mean mostly perpendicular plains. Normal maps didn't work this way, it's not height information, it's more like slope angle information. I mean perpendicular cube at plain even if correctly baked will produse nothing on normal map.

I already knew that, but I beveled the edges a bit just to make sure. I may skip the normals and just bake the AO, although there is some detail that I don't want to paint on(because I'm a terrible texture artist).

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Also, a lot of detail like this doesn't really require HP modeling. You could get the same results using software like nDo2, Knald, Crazybump or even the old Nvidia Normal Map plugin for Photoshop.

I use nDo2 for the work I do on my KSP rockets:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1482056/horizon26.jpg

I have used nvidia normal plugins, Blender internal stuff and crazybump. I am yet to find a solution that satisfies me entirely. I looked at ndo2/ddo2 but their interfaces looked confusing and i havent investigated further, same with xnormal, i need to get a more thorough look.

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nDo looks daunting at first, but it's really quite simple. It's pretty much just a series of Photoshop actions, wrapped in a fancy GUI. There are a TON of tutorial vids on Youtube that walk you through the process is using it, step by step. If you're interested, I suggest picking it up, it's super handy.

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