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Making sense of hard edges, uvs, normal maps and vertex counts

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  • final_fight
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    final_fight polycounter lvl 9
    Can somebody tell why do I get this bright dots while using UV Match in 3ds max RTT?
    LPNormals_Map.jpg
  • Millenia
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    Millenia polycount sponsor
    Try disabling texture filtering and antialiasing in render settings
  • Michael Knubben
    Nintendo46: please find a less terrible filehost. Dropbox would be good.
    This one makes me download an .exe (And that's a big no, right off the bat) and opens a porn popup.
  • Toasty Fresh
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    Toasty Fresh polycounter lvl 12
    I could use some advice with this problem I'm having. Getting ready to UV this Deagle model, and I'm consistently having problems with these tight little areas, I can't quite figure out how to smooth them correctly for baking, while still having it somewhat simple to UV.

    The area I'm specifically having trouble with is this:

    20a3268f03.png

    Should I smooth it like this?

    0565787e18.jpg

    And that still doesn't really make it convenient to UV either, because the edges are separate from the smoothing groups and so they'd have to be separate on the UV. I could chamfer them but that's going to use loads of polies and will also be a pain to UV, I think.
  • Joopson
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    Joopson quad damage
    Nintendo46 wrote: »
    Hi there

    Ive created this small little PDF

    http://bayfiles.net/file/1hkOU/ZmvmWm/The_Fundamentals_of_Perfect_Baking.pdf

    for myself, its based upon this video here

    The Fundamentals of Perfect Baking - YouTube

    just some compilation for learning purposes. I take no credit for the content.

    what do you guys think of it? should i add something more?

    Seriously, host it somewhere else. Dropbox is great, and even Google Drive, or Copy. The big "DOWNLOAD" button is fake, and for some reason, premium download is what you need to click. Took me 3 minutes before I decided to click that, after trying the regular download button many times, and having it link me to Wizards 101.
  • Toasty Fresh
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    Toasty Fresh polycounter lvl 12
    perna wrote: »
    easy fix: just avoid 90 degree angles in the geometry, and avoid seams altogether. A slight slant will look just as good (and it will make the UVs better, and it will make the texture easier to make, and, and, and...)

    Great! I never would have thought of that. Thanks.

    Although I'm not sure what you mean when you say "seams". Could you clarify that?
  • Toasty Fresh
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    Toasty Fresh polycounter lvl 12
    I did this just before you posted that. Added an edge loop on each of the ridges and it looks acceptable to me, although I'd like a second opinion. Also not sure if it's produced far too many polies.

    ea0c69d13f.jpg
    7ab1ebc359.png
  • Toasty Fresh
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    Toasty Fresh polycounter lvl 12
    Wow, that's extremely helpful. Thankyou.

    The reason I was focusing on the smoothing groups over the end result is because I'm making this model for Fallout: New Vegas, in which cube maps ignore normal maps completely and go solely off smoothing groups, which can lead to some ugly artifacts. Should probably have clarified that.

    I had not considered the vertex count, which I will definitely need to remember in the future. Thanks again :thumbup:
  • littleclaude
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    littleclaude quad damage
    I came across this Pinterest on Topology, enjoy.

    http://www.pinterest.com/nathantu630/3d-topology/
  • Regretful123
    Hi,
    I'm having some problem trying to find the "Use Offset" checkbox for 3ds max 2012. I checked in the Render to Texture panel, Render Setup, and all various help resources. Nothing!
    Was this option removed in the earlier version of 3ds max, or was it never introduced in 2012 version.
  • EarthQuake
    Hi,
    I'm having some problem trying to find the "Use Offset" checkbox for 3ds max 2012. I checked in the Render to Texture panel, Render Setup, and all various help resources. Nothing!
    Was this option removed in the earlier version of 3ds max, or was it never introduced in 2012 version.

    Sorry I can't help with your issue as I haven't used the latest version of max. However, why do you want that option? As explained in this thread there are some drawbacks to using it.
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    Hi,
    I'm having some problem trying to find the "Use Offset" checkbox for 3ds max 2012. I checked in the Render to Texture panel, Render Setup, and all various help resources. Nothing!
    Was this option removed in the earlier version of 3ds max, or was it never introduced in 2012 version.

    First, you probably should NOT bake this way, unless you are doing something specific that requires it. What are you baking?

    Second, in RTT under Projection Mapping, click the 'options' button and uncheck "Use Cage" and right next to it 'Offset' will become available.

    As EQ has stated there are some major drawbacks to this and should be used cautiously.
  • Biomag
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    Biomag sublime tool
    Hi guys,


    I have some issues while baking the normal maps. The last 2 issues I have not been able to fix myself are these two:

    1. As I am using mirrored faces I get this seam...
    seam_zps08c7fe01.png

    The thing that surprises me and makes no sense to me the whole blade of the sword is also mapped the same way, but on both sides - sharp and round (round can be seen in the picture) I have no seam.

    I tired this -> http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51088 but it didn't help.

    Here the uv-layout I used for baking (all edges smooth, except for the shell boarders, those are hard - I also tired all other combinations). I used Maya 2014 for the normalmap.
    uv_zps29d2c7bb.png


    Issue number 2 has me with even less ideas where to start fixing... Using the same map but also with a normal map from Xnormals (all edges smoothed there) I get this artefact when I use Marmoset. This isn't happening in Maya with the same normal maps...
    artefakt_zps473a2c29.png


    Any advice for me?

    Thanks in advance!
  • Biomag
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    Biomag sublime tool
    Ok, I found a solution for my problem. I baked a object space normal map in Maya and converted it back to tangent space with Handplane. Now it all works and it even improved some parts of the normalmap.

    Thanks to EarthQuake for his fantastic explanations here on this board! Without it I probably never would have gotten this far :)
  • gordon13
    Hey guys, I'm having an issue with my normal map.
    http://grab.by/ATGg

    As you can see the bowl part is very dark. To me the normal map looks fine so I don't know what could be causing this. I have a sharp edge and a UV seam going around the edge of the bowl to separate the two halves and this doesn't seem to help.

    Any ideas?
  • MattyWS
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    MattyWS polycounter lvl 11
    This thread is pure gold! I've been reading through the whole thing and now I have a much greater understanding of baking workflows and it's also answered a lot of problems I've been having lately. Thanks everyone!

    Gordon13, are the normals on the mesh inverted?
  • throttlekitty
    gordon13 wrote: »
    Hey guys, I'm having an issue with my normal map.
    http://grab.by/ATGg

    As you can see the bowl part is very dark. To me the normal map looks fine so I don't know what could be causing this. I have a sharp edge and a UV seam going around the edge of the bowl to separate the two halves and this doesn't seem to help.

    Any ideas?

    Normal map looks fine, I'd look into the geometry, flipped normals maybe? Is this all one material?
  • gordon13
    Thanks guys I fixed it, the normals were fine, it looks like the issue was to do with my metalness mask which darkens whatever its applied to. Totally forgot about it.
  • ajherzog1234
    C:\Users\ajherzog1234\Pictures\Screenshots\1.png

    C:\Users\ajherzog1234\Pictures\Screenshots\2.png

    (Picture 1 is keeping edge loops intact before export.)
    (Picture 2 is removing vertices that aren't supporting the mesh's silhouette.)

    I understand that doing this on a mesh with just one smoothing group would be a disaster, but what about on non-smoothed faces. It doesn't affect the shading, so is there another negative side effect to optimizing right before export, in this way? Thank-you! :)
  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    Use a image hosting site like http://imgur.com
  • ajherzog1234
    Yeah I didn't think that work. Wasn't sure which link to provide, so did the direct link... Hope it works

    v9xU5cK.png

    T1l0Onc.png
  • omgeric
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    omgeric polycounter lvl 2
    I'm under the impression that if f you have UV splits at hard edges are unnecessary when using a cage and "Average Projection Mesh", but I'm getting the typical seams. Am I misreading the original post or is something going wrong in my baking process?
  • Bek
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    Bek interpolator
    omgeric wrote: »
    Am I misreading the original post or is something going wrong in my baking process?
    A hard edge requires a UV seam/split
    but a UV seam does not require a hard edge.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    Hard edges at UV seams are typically a good idea though, they reduce the amount of extreme shading you can get in a normal map which compresses better and mipmaps work better.
  • Bek
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    Bek interpolator
    Yep. Plus if the edge is a seam it already requires the extra vert, so adding an extra normal won't add an extra vert.

    But it is not required. You might not want these hard edges around organic parts of a model, or a cylinder.
  • EarthQuake
    Bek wrote: »
    Yep. Plus if the edge is a seam it already requires the extra vert, so adding an extra normal won't add an extra vert.

    But it is not required. You might not want these hard edges around organic parts of a model, or a cylinder.

    Very true.

    Though having a hard edge on the seam of a cylinder will rarely cause problems (esp if your tangent workflow is synced). In fact I rarely bother to make sure that edge is soft after running the script in maya that hardens all uv borders.

    However, there are some situations where it can be problematic, such as an asset that requires multiple LOD levels. Making sure the cylinder seam is soft can be helpful there.
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    hi everyone! great thread, learned a lot from it!
    but still i have problems with seams and it's def I'm doing something wrong here.
    i attached all my steps, please take a look.
    everything seems fine till i checked mesh in UE4, it has the same seams I see in 3ds max viewport... please point me where I'm missing, thanks!
    ycAmZdr.jpg
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    Your green channel looks inverted in unreal4. Flip that in the texture properties.
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    Quack!
    thanks mate! You're right, but it helped not complitely... take a look on the screens.
    6vPTeZd.jpg
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    That looks like lightmap problems. Are you baking the lighting? Do you have a second UV channel? Unreal 4 can now auto-create good lightmap uvs, check for it in the model browser.
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    i changed resolution and 2nd UV is auto-created in Unreal.. but those seams still present. tried to bake on the max quality settings, no luck. maybe I splitted seams or something wrong with smoothing groups. I load in substance designer my mesh and those seams are present too.

    on the right upper screenshot are from Unreal mesh previewer, and seam are strong visible, eps in shadow parts..
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    Try making this object 1 smoothing group and rebake. With soft corners like the LP model has you can get away with fewer smoothing groups and fewer uv islands.
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    Quack,
    i tried to use less smoothing groups and seams (see pic)... the effect is better, but seams still present in UE, but no in toolbag.. :(
    i can use 1 smooth group for everything, but gradients on flat surface in normal map are killing the whole point.
    uD9ebt5.jpg

    xnormal: no seams.
    52vgAIk.jpg
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    read the post http://www.polycount.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1940219&postcount=353 and UE harding edges where UV seams are, and all UVs edges must be harden (assigned different smoothing groups), as i did.. so by the logic i must don't get eny seams if the normal map with a cage baked properly.. mmmm :(
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    Can you post the files to test? This is weird. My brain keeps going back to thinking this is a lightmap uv's problem.
  • solidshark91493
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    solidshark91493 polycounter lvl 6
    Hey guys, I dont want to sidetrack the current.. issue? that you guys are trying to help, but I was wondering since me and my friend are trying to get better at uv mapping and we want to get into baking normal maps and doing them correctly, we were wondering what a good way to practice it would be? Ive been reading into this thread quite a bit nd it seems I might be making it harder than it is..
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    solidshark91493, i recommend you to look tutorials on youtube and pinterest with simple normal map baking workflow with xNormal. in pinterest type search: normal map baking
  • AdvisableRobin
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    AdvisableRobin polycounter lvl 10
    @solidshark Check out [ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OONQzKcWeMY"]this[/ame] video. Its a really comprehensive overview of normal mapping.

    @teho. I checked it out in Toolbag 2, can't see any visible seams. I would check your lightmap UVs, check your export settings and import settings. Make sure you are exporting smoothing groups and tangents & binormals.

    Also as an aside, I would bake your normal maps as tiff's, that'll help reduce the mad banding artifacts you are getting. Maybe not for this small of an object, but for larger and especially highly reflective objects.
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    AdvisableRobin,
    thanks for trying out. I have the same no seams in Marmoset, xNormal... but the same mesh has seams in Unreal. fbx exported with everything you mentioned, except triangulation.
    the one thing is bugging me not thinking it's the problem of 2nd UV and lightmap, because already in mesh previewer in Unreal i see seams strongly.
  • solidshark91493
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    solidshark91493 polycounter lvl 6
    Ok thanks guys Ill look into that. (watched a big chunk of that video already). I knew quite a bit about it before hand.. just not so much in the "how to do it" field.
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    teho wrote: »
    Quack,

    low poly: lp_radio_body.FBX
    normal: radio_body_normals.tga

    thank you.

    When you import your normal map to Unreal set its "Compression Settings" to TC_Normalmap in the texture browser settings. That will fix ya.
  • Joopson
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    Joopson quad damage
    Quack! wrote: »
    When you import your normal map to Unreal set its "Compression Settings" to TC_Normalmap in the texture browser settings. That will fix ya.

    Quick question, doesn't it normally do this by default? I've never manually had to switch this myself. Is there any reason why a normal map, imported, wouldn't default to TC_Normalmap?
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    Joopson wrote: »
    Quick question, doesn't it normally do this by default? I've never manually had to switch this myself. Is there any reason why a normal map, imported, wouldn't default to TC_Normalmap?

    It should do this by default. I think the naming convention drives this the most, but I could be wrong. If authoring for UE4 it should be: T_radio01_n.tga otherwise you will have set the compression if you use T_radio01_normals.tga for example. Someone can correct me if that is wrong.
  • Boyordo
    I have a problem that I run into when creating a my encasing lowpoly/cage over multiple highpoly objects. Well the issue is about angles no matter the highpoly involved I guess.

    So here we go:

    uc?export=view&id=0B2j_svD2QYGJSl81R3dmWlBqRnc


    So as the two main shapes joins I get this "star" corner as seen in the image above. When pushing out a cage in this case will end up with one edge being pulled inside the geometry, as seen in the lower part of the image. I recon this is due to the direction marked as 1.
    So my question is, how would one go about to add in some extra geometry (as cheap as possible) to help this cage vertex to go in the correct direction. I do not want to change the mesh silhouette, if possible.

    Also worth noting is that there is a 6th direction, directly down, but it has no impact on the direction of this vertex.

    My goal is to have a cage that works directly when pushing it out, thus I do not want to hand edit anything. This is due to how things has to be on my current project and to me at least it is good practice.

    Any ideas?
  • WarrenM
    Quack - UE4, I believe, looks at the texture and determines if it's a normal map. It's not based on naming convention. I don't know how how it does it exactly but it's right 99.9% of the time. :) Probably looks for a mostly flat blue channel or something.
  • teho
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    teho polycounter lvl 7
    Quack, you're my saver from the head explosion:)
    thanks!!
    kBE5WIr.jpg
  • Quack!
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    Quack! polycounter lvl 17
    WarrenM wrote: »
    Quack - UE4, I believe, looks at the texture and determines if it's a normal map. It's not based on naming convention. I don't know how how it does it exactly but it's right 99.9% of the time. :) Probably looks for a mostly flat blue channel or something.

    So this might be a bug then, as I imported his normal map and it didn't auto-set it to tc_normalmap. I have also helped someone out with this a few months ago and it was the same problem.

    Glad I could help teho.
  • WarrenM
    Yeah, it's not flawless unfortunately. You have to watch for the edge cases.
  • .Wiki
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    .Wiki polycounter lvl 8
    DKK wrote: »
    Hard edges: At all UV seams.
    You don´t need hard edges at all uv seams. You need a UV seam where a hard edge is ;).

    Basically for the sword shed you won´t need any hard edges because its a very smooth object. If you experience some weird lowpoly shading just add 1 or 2 edges.
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