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anselm Hexicola

Normal maps

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I know that people bake them into their textures, but I am a bit vague about their purpose.

Can someone explain in simple terms what they do?

Also, that checkbox on the mesh Upload window ("Generate Normals"); I didn't find the official LL guide to Mesh Uploads very informative. I am never sure whether I need to check it or not.

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anselm Hexicola wrote:

I know that people bake them into their textures, but I am a bit vague about their purpose.

Can someone explain in simple terms what they do?

Without getting too technical, which a normal map really is, it's a map that tells the object it's applied to, in which direction it should reflect light on any given place on the object. That way you can suggest some depth on a flat surface without using extra geometry. It's similair to a bump map if you ever heard of that, although not the same. Currently you can only bake in the effects (so they really only look correct from one angle), pretty soon we'll be able to make real use of them in SL.


Also, that checkbox on the mesh Upload window ("Generate Normals"); I didn't find the official LL guide to Mesh Uploads very informative. I am never sure whether I need to check it or not.

That's something else. If your model has sharp edges between two faces, you can use this checkbox to let SL determine whether to make it smooth or not by telling the uploader an angle between faces. If the angle between the faces is sharper than what you type, the edge will stay sharp, if not it will be smooth. Usually that's done by 3d modelling software before uploading to SL though.

 

 

 

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Thanks; I think I will experiment a bit with them (ie. normal maps) to see their effect.

I did a bit on an existing build/mesh yesterday with adding Ambient Occlusion, so I understand the bit about how it is fixed for ever, as it were, and will only look right depending on its position in-world.

As for the checkbox thing, yes, I get the gist of that.

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(...follow-up question, since you are being helpful and obviously know the ins and outs of these things...)

If I have given a mesh a texture that incorporates an AO map, I cant seem to modify that texture's "shininess" with the inworld Object/Build editor window, no matter how I set my Preferences. Is that to be expected? If so, why? (If not, I might have missed something somewhere in my settings.)

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If Shiny doesen't work, your texture has an alpha channel. Like a 32 bit Targa or PNG file. Save it as 24 bit Targa and you will shine.


About the Genrate Normals checkbox. I always leave it unchecked. If you check it, it will override the settings you have done in your 3D program previously.

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"If Shiny doesen't work, your texture has an alpha channel...."

Yes, that was it; now I can shine.

But, really, I suppose I need to work out how to use my offline tools to get that effect. (Steep learning curve here...)

As for the "Generate Normals" checkbox, I am clearer now (thanks to what both you and Kwakkelde posted) that IF I have done my Edge Creases in Blender, then I can and should ignore that box.

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So any news on uploading normal maps and AO maps - or is it already implemented ? do they upload with the model automatically or do you have to upload each map (diffusion-normal-AO)

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The Rollout for BlueSteel servers on 1/28/2013 added server support for normal and specular maps which was then updated last week.  The next step is to release a project viewer that can render them but more testing will be needed. So while it won't be in the next few weeks, it is definitely on its way. 

They will probably announce the availability of the project viewer for download her on the forum if you are interested in getting in on the testing.

You can keep an eye on the weekly posts about that weeks rollouts to find out when it is available on sims not on the Blue Steel servers.

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