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Hey, Pen -- open up nDo. On the drop-down/pull-out menu (right side), one of the options is "Map Converter." Choose Map Converter, then click Normal on the left, Spec on the right, then File at the bottom to bring in the normal map you want to convert.
nDo will do its thing, and you'll see a grayscale map entitled "Specular." You'll also see options to adjust the various components. Flatten the map when you are happy with it.
Jan's right. Spec maps should be black-white.. the black meaning zero specular highlight, and white meaning full specular highlight. They're easier to create in a 3D app imo (vs working on flat 2d maps) because then you'll be able to see immediate results in how your adjustments are affecting the specular.
Thanks Vaskania...I knew that much that generally they are black and white but I thought I'd seen colours used in specular settings sometimes also. And light means shiny.
Thanks for the link...I had found a tutorial for doing them in Zbrush but there were also criticisms of using that method. I'm currently trying to create my own and I'm looking at other textures as a guide for where the highlights need to be.
I'm thinking though that specular maps may be a bit like baked in highlights and are possibly something that a good shader would do better.
From what I've seen, the specular colour is the colour of the highlight itself, while the map is simply for strength, similar to a metalness map- it'll tell the shader how shiny something should be, but won't dictate the colour of the shine itself.
Specular maps are something that tend to be missing, or were poorly made in a lot of Poser products. Personally, I think it makes more sense on skin, hair, and props than on clothing, though. Character renders rarely look realistic without a decent specular map, because the human skin doesn't shine the same way everywhere, and lips always need special treatment to look right.
Unfortunately, the majority of the Poser character textures I have don't have any specular maps, or those were created by simply desaturating the diffuse map. In short, good specular maps are rare nowadays.
I'm more comfortable with nDo than the texturing part of it. I need some time to sit down and really watch some tutorials. I've been busy trying to get Diva finished. Now that I've bought it though I need to be able to use it...
I ended up making my own maps. I did start with desaturating the maps but then I did some work on darkening them and added layers of hand painting the lighter areas. I wasn't happy with the maps I got from the normals. I did use some maps that I thought looked good as a guide for which areas needed the painting but I also kept it very soft contrast. I'm not sure that specular shouldn't be more part of the shader than mapping. I need to do more research on it...
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