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Bump versa Normal maps

Ken1171

Wise
Contributing Artist
Normal maps are newer and more efficient than old school bump maps. They are more difficult to create, but produce better results with less performance impact. Bump maps can only represent up/down (Y axis only) details, and are limited to only 256 grey levels. Normal maps can represent details in full 3D (X, Y, and Z), and use the full RGB spectrum.
 

Faery_Light

Dances with Bees
Contributing Artist
I found a great Photoshop filter for making them and now I'm starting to use them instead of bump maps.
The sets look better. :)
 

Ken1171

Wise
Contributing Artist
In don't remember about P10, but I know P11 can display the effects of normal maps on previews in real-time. The only detail is that DS has limited support for normal maps, where we can only set the map, but not its intensity. It can only display at 100% or nothing. Also be careful with mirrored geometries, like the other foot of a shoe, because Firefly and 3Delight will render normal maps inside out. Conversely, Superfly and I-ray will display them correctly. :)
 

Faery_Light

Dances with Bees
Contributing Artist
I don't have Poser 11, mine is Poser Pro 2014 and DS 4.9 with Iray.
Both seem to handle the normal maps well.

I do wish I had P 11 because there was an issue with a set I did, it did not handle the morph I created on a model.
So I can't check it to find out what the issue is and my product is already in store.
It will have a notice added on the store page that the product is not P 11 compatible at present...sigh.
 

Ken1171

Wise
Contributing Artist
PP2014 was my all-time favorite Poser version. However, I have reported over a dozen SERIOUS bugs on it that were only fixed in P11, around SR-4 and SR-6. SMS will not fix them in older versions, so PP2014 has become unusable to me.
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
P11/PP11 has an SR-6 update? Or are you hoping some of those old bugs are going to be fixed in the next update?
 

Faery_Light

Dances with Bees
Contributing Artist
Very informative.
I knew the difference between a bump and displacement but normal maps had me wondering.
There is a difference even in Poser Pro 2014 when using the normal maps and it looks better.
I like to combine either bump or normal with my own displacement maps.
displacement give me control over the amount of detail like wrinkles or the slight lines under the eyes.
 

Pendraia

Seasoned
Contributing Artist
Yep...I like to use normal with displacement but I think that some people also use a mix of bump and normals.
 

MCarr

Member
The only detail is that DS has limited support for normal maps, where we can only set the map, but not its intensity. It can only display at 100% or nothing. Also be careful with mirrored geometries, like the other foot of a shoe, because Firefly and 3Delight will render normal maps inside out. Conversely, Superfly and I-ray will display them correctly. :)
Actually with IRAY settings you can vary the amount on the normal map, there is a slider for it
Also GIMP has a normal map plugin that does a decent job on creating normal maps.
 

seachnasaigh

Busy Bee
Caveats for P11 displacement and normal maps, when considering the two different render engines:
  • Firefly does micropoly displacement (adds sufficient virtual vertices to produce fine detail); Superfly only does displacement on the existing vertices (although Cycles may soon be adding micropoly)
  • Firefly uses tangent space for normals; Superfly uses MikkT
  • Firefly and Superfly use opposite directions (in vs out) for the green channel of a normal. If making a dual engine material, consider using a component node set @1 (reading green) and using a color math node to negate the green component for the second root node's gradient bump (set to normal) socket.
In Firefly, the devs recommend generally using displacement for larger scale features, and bump for finer details. There are exceptions, of course, such as using displacement for grass on a massive environment terrain.
 
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Ken1171

Wise
Contributing Artist
Exactly what I was about to say - Superfly/Cycles still doesn't support micropoly displacement, so the method above would not work with it at all. Firefly supports that, but the "tangent space" is rather ancient now, and it won't render correctly in mirrored geometries, like the other foot of a boot, or the other hand of a glove. Superfly/Cycles use modern MikkT for normal maps, which can create the same kind of effect with less performance impact than displacement, but it won't render the same in Firefly. SMS has already decided they won't change this for backwards compatibility, so when it comes to normal maps, we have to invert the green channel depending on which rendering engine we use in Poser. And even if we do that, it won't fix the mirroring problems with Firefly's old school tangent space.
 

Faery_Light

Dances with Bees
Contributing Artist
Thanks for all the input.
I think then I will stick with bump maps for Poser and normal maps for DS. :)
 
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