"smooth" normal maps

Discussion in 'Fallout 3 and New Vegas Modding' started by dbailey56, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. dbailey56

    dbailey56 First time out of the vault

    Nov 30, 2008
    Have everything working on my mod other than the quality of my normal map. It works, it just looks like it has acne, which makes for a pretty awful looking final product. Can anyone give me pointers on what I might be doing wrong?

    I use the Nvidia plug-in for Photoshop. I've tried about every different setting I can to change the outcome, but they all end up about the same - covered with small bump texture while the original Bethesda normal map is smooth.

    The only thing I can think that might be throwing things off is I have to crank the scale up to 40 just to get the main texture to more or less match the original. Anything less than that and you can barely see any detail in the _n.dds file.

    I would really appreciate any feedback or ideas you might have. Like I said my normal map works, but it makes the whole device look pretty shoddy with all the extra texture. Thanks for giving it a head scratch for me!
  2. Dubby

    Dubby Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 6, 2008
    Try gimp
  3. Tourdion

    Tourdion First time out of the vault

    Nov 26, 2008
    Try reducing the contrast on the image before running the Nvidia plug. more contrast, more noisy normal map. hope this helps :D

    Edit: Oh,, and dont use sharpen too much.
  4. vashts1985

    vashts1985 First time out of the vault

    Nov 16, 2008
    try Xnormal. i hear its the program to use to tweak up normal maps
  5. Noktus

    Noktus First time out of the vault

    Dec 1, 2008
    I would think think that you could just do an overlay in Photoshop with the new normal map if you are still seeking to preserve the old one. Maybe a soft light/low opacity if it seems chunky, and you could always try like a .2 or .3 gaussian blur or a precise surface blur to remove the pixelly parts. Of course, once you're done, you should take your finished normal, overlay it on itself and then do a few more overlays with some surface blur to really make it pop. Gaussian that if it turns out sharp, and then run over it with the normal filter. I think that amping up the blue channel in the levels menu after this is a good idea, but I haven't checked to see how much of a difference it makes in the depth as of yet. I hope this helps!
  6. VeliV

    VeliV First time out of the vault

    Nov 18, 2008
    I noticed that overlayed layers work pretty nicely with normal maps.

    Also, try filtering with diffirent samples and "heights" of the map in the Nvidia plugin.
  7. Gustavo Ganso

    Gustavo Ganso First time out of the vault

    Nov 13, 2008
    I hate to ask but, what these normal maps serve for? I saw that every texture has one or two.
  8. Millenia

    Millenia First time out of the vault

    Sep 30, 2006
    Bethesda used baked normal maps for the most part - they first created a high-poly model to project on the model used in the game, thus creating better results than you normalizing the diffuse texture with more than lighting information
  9. Dubby

    Dubby Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 6, 2008
    Normal maps are used to determine shading and lighting on a flat surface in such a way as to mimic a three dimensional surface. A good example is comparing a flat square with a rough gravel texture. Without normal mapping, it looks very flat. With normal mapping, it looks like each rock is its own polygonal shape.
  10. dbailey56

    dbailey56 First time out of the vault

    Nov 30, 2008
    Thank you all VERY much for great ideas. I'm exploring several of them now, and starting to come up with some maps that are looking much better.

    It is always so nice to find a community like this that is willing to share with a newcomer. Hopefully someday I can repay the favor.