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Creating a normal map from Zbrush fibermesh render

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xiphos polygon
Hello there,

for my current project I plan to use fibermesh in Zbrush to create the textures for my hair cards.
I got inspired by this tutorial https://www.artstation.com/artwork/yb1b89 to use fibermesh to create the textures, and so far I really like the results.

But how would you advice to generate good normalmaps for these textures?

I tried to render the normal map inside Zbrush with two different Normal rgb materials (shadows off), but I feel like the normal maps look weird, or are they ok to use? 

My other approach was to import the albedo to substance painter on a plane (4k uv map) and generated height with the albedo as a mask, then exported the normal map.

I placed some cards to see how they look, left is with the SP technique, right is normal material render in zbrush.

But I feel like the normal maps don't look right, is there a better solution?


  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter
    Just my humble opinion   but such a normal map for hairs would do nothing good. The hairs would always look like wires up close  whatever resolution you give them.  Rough and artificial especially under intense  sun light.    It rather should be flow map  and a visualization of strands tangent (direction )vector     to help with hair anisotropic highlight spot .    Same goes for 3d grass  or any fur like material.
  • xiphos
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    xiphos polygon
    Thank you for your response @gnoop ! I understand what you mean, while testing different normal maps I noticed they keep looking "wirely". Are games in general not using normal maps for hair textures? 
    So do hair cards depend on the layering of less dense textures on top of each other to not appear flat under lightning, especially rim lights?

    I will look up how to use flow maps, thank you for the advice!
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