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Problem with Normal Maps in Poser

Sparky

Monster Maker
Contributing Artist
Hey, guys!

I've been working on some new stuff, and for one of them, I wanted to use Normal maps, but I can't seem to get Poser to render normal maps properly, either in FireFly or SuperFly, even though it's worked in the past (in previous versions of Poser). I've set "Image_Mapped" to "Clamped" on the normal map image nodes, which used to solve the problem, but as you can see, it isn't working now.

Any suggestions?

If I can't get the normal maps to work, I'll just use bump maps as per usual, but it would be nice to know where I'm going wrong. ^.^

NormalMapIssue.jpg
 

Pendraia

Seasoned
Contributing Artist
IIRC...you need to choose between normal and bump on the node/Brick but I'm not a poser expert...just remember I had to do that on something. I'll have a look and see if I can give more info.

I'm sure that someone who knows way more than me will answer this...
 

Pendraia

Seasoned
Contributing Artist
Just checked and I have normal map node plugged into Gradient Bump with Gradient Mode changed to Tangent Space Normal map. From memory that was what I was advised to set it on.

Normal map node can be found under Cycles/vector.
 

seachnasaigh

Busy Bee
Pendraia is right about setting the gradient socket's mode to tangent space. A problem with using normal maps for items you intend to distribute is that Firefly uses one standard (OpenGL, or tangent space), and Superfly uses another (DirectX, or MikkiT), so that the Y-channel (green) is inverted.

It will be less troublesome to use bump/height maps.
 
Last edited:

Glitterati3D

Dances with Bees
Just a note......I see this when I forget to set the Gamma on the Normal map to 1.00 instead of "use render settings."

All non-color maps should be GC 1.00
 

Sparky

Monster Maker
Contributing Artist
Thanks, guys!

I didn't know Superfly needed the G=channel inverted.

I think the Gamma Correction is what's throwing me off. There doesn't seem to be a setting for that in P11. I'm going to use regular bump maps for Poser. I'll just use the normal maps in DS. ^.^
 

Glitterati3D

Dances with Bees
Thanks, guys!

I didn't know Superfly needed the G=channel inverted.

I think the Gamma Correction is what's throwing me off. There doesn't seem to be a setting for that in P11. I'm going to use regular bump maps for Poser. I'll just use the normal maps in DS. ^.^
Yes, the GC setting is right on the screen where you load your Normal Map.
GC1.jpg
 

Sparky

Monster Maker
Contributing Artist
Oh yeah, I was thinking there used to be a setting on the image map node, but that's just my super-tired brain making things up. :-S
 

Sparky

Monster Maker
Contributing Artist
I think normal maps give more accurate details, but bump maps aren't too bad. ;-)

I think I lost a little definition in the veins, but that might be for the best.

HorseWIP.jpg
 

kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
Just to let you know: In Superfly/Cycles material trees, normal maps should be plugged into a Normal Map node, and that node should be plugged into pretty much everywhere there's a Normal input. Like all your shading nodes, your Fresnel node, etc.

Technically speaking, bump maps can be just as detailed normal maps. The only difference between them is direction. Normal maps work in x, y, and z, but still only have 256 channels each. So in any single direction, just as with any hue shown on most computer screens, it can only have 256 levels. If your map is only showing a constant height difference, that is only going up and down along the normal like hair or veins tend to, your normal map is incapable of having information that your bump map can't. Which isn't to say that your bump map isn't less detailed, because I don't know how you created it, or if you've put directional information into your normal map. But normal maps aren't inherently more detailed or better than bump maps.

The way to get more information is actually to switch the bit depth of your image, so that each channel has more than 256 levels. Poser has supported 16 bit per channel images for some time now. They can be _very_ heavy, but make a huge difference in detail. The usual usage for them is displacement, but I'm pretty sure they can be used for normal and bump maps, too.
 

Sparky

Monster Maker
Contributing Artist
Looking good! Is that what I think it is? :wow:
Thanks, Dreamer! It's a new anthro horse character. It'll be available for M4/V4/K4/Dusk/Dawn when I'm through.

Just to let you know: In Superfly/Cycles material trees, normal maps should be plugged into a Normal Map node, and that node should be plugged into pretty much everywhere there's a Normal input. Like all your shading nodes, your Fresnel node, etc.

Technically speaking, bump maps can be just as detailed normal maps. The only difference between them is direction. Normal maps work in x, y, and z, but still only have 256 channels each. So in any single direction, just as with any hue shown on most computer screens, it can only have 256 levels. If your map is only showing a constant height difference, that is only going up and down along the normal like hair or veins tend to, your normal map is incapable of having information that your bump map can't. Which isn't to say that your bump map isn't less detailed, because I don't know how you created it, or if you've put directional information into your normal map. But normal maps aren't inherently more detailed or better than bump maps.

The way to get more information is actually to switch the bit depth of your image, so that each channel has more than 256 levels. Poser has supported 16 bit per channel images for some time now. They can be _very_ heavy, but make a huge difference in detail. The usual usage for them is displacement, but I'm pretty sure they can be used for normal and bump maps, too.
I know the bump maps aren't technically lower in detail, I just meant that the normal maps capture the details of the original sculpture relative to each other better than the bump maps after the baking process. ^.^
 

Dreamer

Dream Weaver Designs
Contributing Artist
Thanks, Dreamer! It's a new anthro horse character. It'll be available for M4/V4/K4/Dusk/Dawn when I'm through.
:squee::snoopydance: I picked up the one you did for M4 on release and if I can will be doing the same for this one too
 
A couple of months back I tried to create procedural bump/normal maps of a hemisphere for a simple test and got confusing results ("Oddity With Bump?" thread on the SM Poser forum ).

The upshot of it all was that bagginsbill confirmed (with PP2014) that "...it is impossible to get FireFly to render the correct normals using a normal map" - see this post in my "Oddity with Bump?" thread .

The subsequent post pre-empts the obvious disagreements - "Note that I will probably get lots of users objecting that they've used normal maps just fine for years. That is easily explained without contradiction of my findings..."

Apparently Superfly seems to use normal maps correctly (I don't have Poser 11)
 

Glitterati3D

Dances with Bees
A couple of months back I tried to create procedural bump/normal maps of a hemisphere for a simple test and got confusing results ("Oddity With Bump?" thread on the SM Poser forum ).

The upshot of it all was that bagginsbill confirmed (with PP2014) that "...it is impossible to get FireFly to render the correct normals using a normal map" - see this post in my "Oddity with Bump?" thread .

The subsequent post pre-empts the obvious disagreements - "Note that I will probably get lots of users objecting that they've used normal maps just fine for years. That is easily explained without contradiction of my findings..."

Apparently Superfly seems to use normal maps correctly (I don't have Poser 11)
Yes, I can confirm that Superfly uses normal maps correctly.

Typically I use Normal maps for sculpted detail (stitching, folds, wrinkles) and displacement with the normal maps for things like patterns in Superfly. Both images below are exactly the same except for render engine - same lights, same pose

Firefly Normal + Displacement map
PantsWNormalFF.jpg


Pants with Normal + Displacement Superfly
PantsWNormalSF.jpg
 

Faery_Light

Dances with Bees
Contributing Artist
Ahhh, this post was a big help to me tonight.
I kept getting a seam in the arms and torso, so switched to displacement and used gradient bump instead of the norma, all fixed now. :)
 

McGyver

Engaged
I was going nuts with trying to set up a normal map in PP11 (for superfly) a few months ago... I figured out the tangent space thing by examining models that used normal maps (which looked ok), but eventually gave up trying to figure out why the normal maps looked crummy on the model I made.
Well, at least it’s not just me.
 
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