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theironpaperclip

Normal Maps and their Z Values.

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In normal maps, the values of RGB represent the XYZ coordinate of the normal for each pixel. What is the point in the Z value? I don’t believe I have ever seen it other than 255 so why do we have it?

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Two things: 1) You don't actually need to store the three components, if you're willing to do the cross product at runtime to reconstruct the third component. 2) As StealthNinja mentioned, only a completely flat normal map would have 255 in all of the blue pixel components, representing (0,0,1).

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