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Normal mapping issue after retopo and uv map. (Forums : 3D Modeling & Animating : Normal mapping issue after retopo and uv map.) Locked
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TKAzA Community Manager
Feb 14 2013, 3:33am Anchor

Im having a issue baking normal maps, i keep getting these seams, i thought it was due to the face orientation of the normal, but i have re exported the model with normal's on and off to no avail.
I also tried using different options, flipping the green or the red in the bump map settings, happens with dx shader and nitro shader (3dsmax is what i bake in), setting to screen or world space and i still have the issue.

Any ideas why its happening and ideas for a fix?

I dont think its the normal maps im sure im baking them right, im uving the model in 3d coat in the retopo tool then exporting the low poly mesh out to 3dmax.
Funny thing is, i have a 2nd higher poly head with diffrent uvs, and its doing the same thing... spent 3 hours trying to fix, please help.

Feb 14 2013, 3:55am Anchor

All the uv maps featuring heads that I've seen all have the head as one island, split down the back. You've got nine. That might have something to do with it, but I'm not exactly an expert.

I suggest re-doing your UV . It might not get rid of the problem, but it would probably make it less noticeable. One seam from the top of the head all the way down the back. The island should look like a butterfly on the UV map with the face in the center.


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TKAzA Community Manager
Feb 14 2013, 9:35am Anchor

I have redone the uv, heck i even redid the base mesh, i have 2 completely different meshes. its happening with.

I've baked faces and bodies, before and had mutiple uvs, and they have worked ok.

Feb 14 2013, 6:08pm Anchor

I don't know what to tell you then.


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TwinBeast FBI Man
Feb 15 2013, 3:39pm Anchor

Maybe try if it happens with xNormal too?


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TKAzA Community Manager
Feb 15 2013, 5:00pm Anchor

I dont have xnormal, i normaly use zbrush and bake with max with no issues.
Heres a update ingame.

Head Retopo in 3D Coat, Final results in Unity.
As you can see the lighting still isnt translating across the normal, in the past this hasnt been a issue, i have not had a issue splitting the normals before.
Im going to try again on a new model and try and skip zbrush, ill also try doing the full process in 3d coat and see if that resolves the issues.

Feb 19 2013, 8:44am Anchor

Could it be the distance between your mesh and the projection is too little? To me, it looks like the black areas, where the normals fail, is because the projection is done from the "inside" of the mesh, instead of the outside. In xNormal you can expand your projection, so it will project from a distance a tiny bit further out than your main mesh. You can do the same in Zbrush, however I am not entirely sure how it works inthere - I've only done it once. It did still work.

I suggest, as J_C_A mentioned, you should download xNormal (It's a free software) and try use it. It's very easy to pick up, a friend taught me how to use it, and I felt comfortable using it, after just 10min. Just make sure you expand the jail, so it's big enough to cover your main mesh.

I am terrible at explaning things, and I've only done 3d modelling for roughly 1½ year - I'm also not sure if this will fix your problem. but it's worth a shot to try xNormals for a new bake.

Hope it helps, good luck.

Feb 24 2013, 10:52pm Anchor

I do not sure 3dMax,I am a maya guy. However this happens to me when the UV are flipped to the other side (not upside down, but flipped). In maya you can check it under the UV editor, the positive side will be blue(the side you want), the negative side will be red.

TKAzA Community Manager
Feb 25 2013, 2:37am Anchor

baked it in 3d coat and was fine, i did try the flipping in max, but it seemed like the issue was the baking as i didnt get maps as clean as this

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SinKing bumps me thread
Feb 25 2013, 4:58am Anchor

He certainly is a screamer!Isn't it too soon for baking? The mouth anatomically isn't right. The overall volume isn't great, either. In my sculpting class the coach told us not to be timid about slapping clay onto our models. I tried taking that advice to heart. Some more volume often looks better than too little.

Xnormal is industry standard, so I did myself the favor and use it. There are rare incidents when baking works better in one of the other programs, but Xnormal is really the best there is.

Edited by: SinKing


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TKAzA Community Manager
Feb 25 2013, 8:19am Anchor

The model was a test sculpt to see if I can do the full pipeline in 3d coat. As per the image it was not supposed to be anatomically correct. Every one raves about normal. And I was going to try it again. However I'm am very happy with these results. And the fact I don't need to mess with projections is just so much nicer.
Cheers for the help and feedback though.

Niteshade 3D Artist and aspiring Technical Artist
Feb 27 2013, 6:31pm Anchor

Thing about xNormal is that it's super easy to learn, got lots of options and it bakes out your maps really, really fast - even when you have say, very high ray counts on your occlusion bake. You also got a lot of different outputs to chose from (normal map, ambient occlusion, cavity map - just to name a few.)

Anyway regarding your issue: I've never seen anything like this so it's probably just some bug (or bad setting) in Max. Do you still have the normal map bake from 3ds Max where you had this problem? And if so is there any weird gradients in it, and/or yellow/olive colored areas or artifacts?

Edited by: Niteshade

TKAzA Community Manager
Feb 28 2013, 2:33pm Anchor

Issue with xnormal is i have to export to it, by baking my normals in 3d coat, i can go right back to the voxel mesh and low poly mesh without touching the normals or any other applications, the issue only happens with max, and has only started to happen, as i used to bake normals all the time in max with no issues.

The normals didnt look right, the graients per mesh group didnt blend, causing the issues with the lighting being distorted around the uv seams.
With the 3dcoat normals posted latter the gradients blend and it does one better by padding the uv outwards.

I am not bothered dropping max from my pipeline, i uv models in 3d coat now anyway, so max is only decent now for baked lighting setups or renders.

Seprate Note...
Everyone is saying use xnormal its the standard( i have used xnormal and always swapped back to max it had better results "backthen"), i would recommend you try 3dcoat, i've used, modo, max, lightwave, blender, maya, zbrush, and a few other random programs and its by far the smoothest and fastest modeling app around at the moment, and the freedom of voxels is amazing.. once you grasp the slight learning curve, at the least try out the retopo tools and the voxel to mesh converter. They will pop your mind.

Its like zbrush only better.

Cryrid 3D Artist
Feb 28 2013, 5:15pm Anchor

I'd argue with that last statement : P

Regarding xnormal, I think part of the reason it's so recommended is because it's a simple program in that it is designed specifically around baking maps, has great options for doing such, and can be customized to use the same tangent basis as your renderer.

And while I think an artist can use whatever programs they want for their personal projects, professionally I don't think it is wise to be so quick to drop Max (or whatever equivalent standard modeling program) from your pipeline. When revisions start rolling in there are changes that can be harder to make without them, and when you're working with a team you need to be in the habit of being prepared to have your files passed on to someone else or have their files passed on to you.

But at least you have your normal map problem solved, for now. In the future padding will fix the small seams, while controlling your vertex normals around UV splits can help the rest.

SinKing bumps me thread
Mar 1 2013, 3:43am Anchor

I tried 3DCoat - and I liked it. However, there are more popular programs and perhaps more standard versions that do the same thing just as good and better. I think ZBrush is by far superior to 3D coat in all its complexity. Or Sculptris, if you only need to prototype.

However, nobody says you cannot use your 3D application. It just means you may spread your interest too thin by using too many programs. I found that Xnormal, XSI, Max and ZBrush combined do everything I need to. I still bake my maps with Ultimapper in XSI, but if the Results don't turn out well, I use XNormal. In fact, I use it almost exclusively now, because I know it gives me great results.

The thing with xNormal is you have to try what works best for you. The distance finder tool is important, but so is learning to bake with a cage. And it's super simple to do. In Xnormal you can change the coordinate systems for your normal map on the fly. Wanna bake object space normals? No problem! Wanna invert the y axis, so you don't have to mirror your green channel? - One click and done. Xnormal has a lot of great features, including the "normalize" button in your Photoshop filters, which helps straightening out any odd looks.

The important thing about a program (to me) is: how does it integrate with my workflow? If you think 3D coat will help you get better results for what you're sculpting than e.g. ZBrush, then keep using it. However, if you start switching and find more and more appeal in the other software it may well be that you completely abandon one program in favor of another. In my case, I thought Mudbox could do the same things as ZBrush, so I wasted about a year with it. Finding out that combination and workflow is what really makes every 3D artist unique. Since there is so much software to chose from, it's awesome to try out a lot. It may well be that you favor a different workflow solution, but I'm sure you too are most interested in finding a solution that brings the best out of your creative process.

Edited by: SinKing


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