How to bake a clean normal map without split UVs Island on every hard edge

polycounter lvl 5
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Nam.Nguyen polycounter lvl 5
Hi everyone !

I got a quick question about normal map baking and texturing workflow

I've read some articles about Normal map baking, and they all said that in order to have a clean result, I have to have Smoothing split, and UVs split on every hard edge

for example like this box

i_06.png


but for texturing purpose sometime I can not have UVs split on every hard edge and then the normal seam show up

i_04.png



my question is is there anyway to have clean normal map without have to have UVs split on hard edge

I've saw some people have very smooth normal map and they didn't split the UVs at all. It's must be some trick out there









.

Replies

  • phixel
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    phixel polycounter lvl 7
    By adding more geo on your low poly (chamfers) to support the extreme change in angle on the edges.
  • Chase
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    Chase polycounter lvl 7
    Or you can use Handplane. Theres a thread above this one that will run down how to use it
  • perna
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    perna quad damage
    Your question makes an erroneous assumption. With synced tangent workflow there's no need to have a hard edge on each corner of the box.
  • David1983
    i had exycatly the same question, take at my old thread...
    The best way is... find a sample and take a look how the low poly is modeled, how the smoothing groups are set etc....
  • kurt_hectic
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    kurt_hectic polycounter lvl 8
    Chase & perna, could you paste some links\ screens?
  • Chase
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    Chase polycounter lvl 7
    Sorry for the lack of pics but im on vacation haha. When I get back Monday I can post some if that will help. For the chamfering method just imagine you have a box like your original post has. Instead of having a lp with edges at angles that require different smoothing groups like your box has you can add a chamfer to these edges. You'll hear people call "chamfering" also "beveling". Either way youre just creating less of an angle so that the edges arent needing to be separate smoothing groups. Having separate smoothing groups when baking is what causes the need to create uv splits.

    Now Handplane is a whole other thing. Alec Moody has some videos out that really explains things well. Heres his website http://www.handplane3d.com/. The idea behind this program is to limit the need for smoothing groups altogether. When you're working with a company they may or may not have a synced workflow. What this means is that the game engine you're using is literally synced up with the engine you're baking your normal maps out of. Handplane is a way to mimic a synced workflow, just with a few extra little steps while reaping the benefits just the same.
  • BARDLER
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    BARDLER polycounter lvl 7
    perna wrote: »
    Your question makes an erroneous assumption. With synced tangent workflow there's no need to have a hard edge on each corner of the box.

    But even if you have a synced workflow, doesn't compression and mipmapping cause your normal maps to run into issues holding those harsh gradients?
  • Duard
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    Duard triangle
    In painter you have the option to average your normals, something you can try is setting your smoothing groups as the UV islands are set, bake the normal map twice in painter, once with averaged normals and one without, combine those two maps in photoshop masking out the hard edges that looks bad. I know its not the ideal workflow but it has helped me more than once
  • Obscura
  • Michael Knubben
    Duard, not only is this an ancient thread, there are multiple sticky threads on Polycount that handle this problem (and specifically advise against what you're suggesting).
  • Kevin Albers
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    Kevin Albers polycounter lvl 12
    Is there a source of information regarding current best practices when baking maps in Substance Designer/Painter, apart from reading through hundreds of posts spread out over many years? I'm getting back into 3D art after a break, and I literally just watched the video describing Duard's approach this morning, only to now realize that the featured approach is no longer considered good.

    Using Substance to bake things seems good to me, since I'll probably be using it for texturing pretty extensively. 

    Edit: I own both Substance Designer and Painter (v5 of designer and v1.5 of Painter). I'm not sure if baking in Designer vs Painter is better. I assume I'll end up using Painter for lots of assets, so tentatively I may start by going over lots of Allegorithmic's video tutorials for Painter as a starting point for figuring out my new pipeline. If someone thinks I'll come across bad/outdated information that way, let me know!
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    Is there a source of information regarding current best practices when baking maps in Substance Designer/Painter, apart from reading through hundreds of posts spread out over many years? I'm getting back into 3D art after a break, and I literally just watched the video describing Duard's approach this morning, only to now realize that the featured approach is no longer considered good.
    The vast majority of the important information is in the first post of those stickies. The criticism of using multiple bakes is in the very first post of this thread

    The most reasonable way I've seen multiple bakes employed was in this video by Nick Quackenbush and the main thing that makes his approach practical is that his mask is generated procedurally without the need for manual work that needs to be repeated every time the model is iterated on.
  • Duard
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    Duard triangle

    Duard, not only is this an ancient thread, there are multiple sticky threads on Polycount that handle this problem (and specifically advise against what you're suggesting).
    Apologies for the bump and slob advice, guess I shouldve stated that I dont recommend my method on something that someone else might use in the future or a model that will go through iterations, was purely based on a private model bases, but slob advice nevertheless.

    Is there a source of information regarding current best practices when baking maps in Substance Designer/Painter, apart from reading through hundreds of posts spread out over many years? I'm getting back into 3D art after a break, and I literally just watched the video describing Duard's approach this morning, only to now realize that the featured approach is no longer considered good.
    The vast majority of the important information is in the first post of those stickies. The criticism of using multiple bakes is in the very first post of this thread

    The most reasonable way I've seen multiple bakes employed was in this video by Nick Quackenbush and the main thing that makes his approach practical is that his mask is generated procedurally without the need for manual work that needs to be repeated every time the model is iterated on.
    good stuff here thanks
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