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paint into NormalMap

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Hi, I read frequently in the last months about artists painting *into* normal map, mostly in terms of fine scale details. I was wondering - I'm building human face models ATM and was looking for ways to add skin structure to it. And I would love the idea of simply adding more fine structure details to tangent space normal maps. Does anyone know how to do this, helpful tutorials or tools for this? thank you!

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Original post by quasty
Hi,

I read frequently in the last months about artists painting *into* normal map, mostly in terms of fine scale details. I was wondering - I'm building human face models ATM and was looking for ways to add skin structure to it. And I would love the idea of simply adding more fine structure details to tangent space normal maps.

Does anyone know how to do this, helpful tutorials or tools for this?

thank you!

paint a greyscale heightmap then use a plugin for converting this to a normal map. nvidia has a plugin that does this, i believe it works with photoshop and gimp.

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Have your normal map as your base layer. Fill a new layer on top with 50% grey, and paint in a greyscale bump map, as Jarrod said. Convert it to a normal map. There are many options in the Photoshop NormalMap filter, take time to learn what they do (sampling, scale, and height source are the important ones).

Once it is converted, change the blending mode to overlay. Then, go into the Blue channel of the layer, and press Ctrl+L to bring up levels. The bottom right handle (white input), bring that down to 128. This will preserve the blue channel of the underlaying layers, otherwise your Overlay layer would flood it with white. When you are done, merge your layers, go into the NormalMap filter once more, and Normalize the normal map. And after that, be careful what image format you are using (something lossy will unnormalize the normal map, which is a no-no, so either use something uncompressed, or DDS compression which can handle a normal map well.

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oh sorry about that, i didn't know you wanted to add in the painted normal map into an existing normal map, or else i would ahve added those details. but it looks like professor has you covered there, even down to the good old blue channel trick. although i've never heard of anyone reopening the merged normal map back into the photoshop nvidia plugin, but i suppose it couldn't hurt anything.

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