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normal mapping a head: help needed

polycounter lvl 14
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nkoste polycounter lvl 14
So I'm finally getting around to learning zbrush although I've been a registered zb owner for more than a year now and I want to try and make a normal mapped head. I've never done normal mapping before so I'm confused confused.gif

So far I've completed a lo-res mesh modeled in wings and a hires subdivided and detailed in zbrush. Only the lo-res version is UV mapped the hi-res is not. I'm hoping to find out whether not Uv mapping the head before detailing was a mistake since I want to do the normal map with zbrush. The practical guide on normal mapping doesn't really get me anywhere. I tried to do some research but search words like normal map, zbrush and tutorial gives me tons of results with no real pay off, know what I mean? I'm hoping someone can provide links to threads or tuts or perhaps even tell me how to produce a normal map in zbrush with my two current assets.

Any help appreciated smile.gif



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    FAT_CAP polycounter lvl 15
    If you download the ZBRUSH practical guide it has a section on baking normal maps. You can get this from the ZBRUSH central forum

    I dont get what your saying about the low-poly model being uv-mapped, but the high-poly isn't though? If you're baking your normal map in ZBRUSH then you will be baking it onto your lowest subdivision level (lowest poly mesh)... so if this is UVmapped, then your high-poly ZBRUSH model will to as they share the same base mesh (i.e the lowest subdivision level). Am I making sense here?!?!?

    Heheh - anyway - you've gone about it the right way - the high-polygon mesh doesn't need UVmapping (unless you are going to paint a bump map in ZBRUSH aswell) but the low-polygon version does. It looks to me as if your all ready to go.
  • nkoste
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    nkoste polycounter lvl 14
    You're making perfect sense and thanks. The zbrush practical guide was the one I was refering to in my initial post but perhaps I wasn't clear about it. I get to the step where it plain and simple says go to Tools > Normal Map and press create normal map - then nothing happens. That's why I wondered whether I'd done something wrong initially. I don't know if I'm making sense I'll have a look at it again when I get back home then perhaps I'll be able to make sense.

    Thanks FAT_CAP

    Anyone want to comment on the model perhaps how you think it'll work with a normal map I'd appreciate it?
  • ewooz
    You first have to apply a texture to it. Go to texture on the top menus. Make it the size you want, the bigger the better for normal maps. Ie 2048x2048 for practice. Press "New". Then go to tool>texture and choose "GUV tiles" for the uv mapping. You might wanna press fix seam.
    Then go to Tool>NormalMap choose the desired resolution NMres 2048 for example.
    Then go to geometry choose Sdiv 1 you might wanna press "Cage" then. Then go back to NormalMap press Create NormalMap. And go to to the texture menu on your left (if you haven't configured it differently that is) and export it in your favorite file format smile.gif

    Hope this helps!
  • nkoste
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    nkoste polycounter lvl 14
    Ok that did it I got the normal map only it's tiled because there was no unwrap on the hi-res. I can only backtrack one subdivision level which leaves me about 4 levels short to get back my original mesh. Is there anything I have to check or do to keep all my subD levels?
    If I had UV mapped the model before I started zbrushing I could have preserved the original UV coordinates, right?

    I think I'll leave the model here and commence some more zbrush tutorials before taking on another one.

    Thanks ewooz

  • MoP
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    MoP polycounter lvl 14
    Yeah, you can even UV-map your source mesh after you've zbrushed it, if you don't add/remove any geometry - just uv-map it, re-export it, go to the base SDiv level in Zbrush, and click Import - load the new UV mapped mesh, it'll replace the bottom level mesh (although this might lose any big topographical changes you've made, watch out!), then you can generate the normal map with your new UV's.

    it's probably better to uv-map it before you go into zbrush if you want definite handmade uv layout though.
  • nkoste
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    nkoste polycounter lvl 14
    Cheers MoP. I want to have a proper UV layout so I can do handpainted diffuse and spec maps so I'll try the second approach. If there's one thing I'm not short of it's UV mapped heads wink.gif

    here are some orthos of the source mesh. I was planning to do a 256x256 NM from it.

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