Normal mapping: it works !

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Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Sirius » Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:23 am

Hey everyone, I just found out Plasma can handle normalmapping for real-time lamps ! :shock: :shock:

Remember Todelmer ? Well, the asteroids seen from the pod have normalmapping. And it even works in Complete Chronicles !
Show Spoiler


It still feels a bit awkward, compared to what modern game engines can do. Maybe it's because of the lighting system, the lack of specularity, and because light is per-vertex. Parallax mapping or tessellation wouldn't hurt either. Ah well, let's not ask for too much ;)

Still, might be interesting to get into PyPRP ! Configuration is a bit crazy, it needs the following:
- 1 base layer (base texture)
- 3 layers, one for each mapping dimension (U, V, W). All have a 16x16 texture (composed of color gradients). Each need specific flags in the layer params.
- 1 bump layer, with the typical blueish texture used in normal/bump mapping. I'm not even sure what kind of program can compute these - probably big ones like Gimp or Photoshop.
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby dendwaler » Thu Aug 07, 2014 11:44 am

Very interesting!

- 1 bump layer, with the typical blueish texture used in normal/bump mapping. I'm not even sure what kind of program can compute these


Why not in Blender itself?
something like this?
yes, you always need to make a high poly model to get detail, and after that apply the bump on the low poly.

http://www.katsbits.com/tutorials/blender/baking-normal-maps-from-models.php
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby GPNMilano » Thu Aug 07, 2014 12:59 pm

Sirius wrote:Hey everyone, I just found out Plasma can handle normalmapping for real-time lamps ! :shock: :shock:

Remember Todelmer ? Well, the asteroids seen from the pod have normalmapping. And it even works in Complete Chronicles !
Show Spoiler


It still feels a bit awkward, compared to what modern game engines can do. Maybe it's because of the lighting system, the lack of specularity, and because light is per-vertex. Parallax mapping or tessellation wouldn't hurt either. Ah well, let's not ask for too much ;)

Still, might be interesting to get into PyPRP ! Configuration is a bit crazy, it needs the following:
- 1 base layer (base texture)
- 3 layers, one for each mapping dimension (U, V, W). All have a 16x16 texture (composed of color gradients). Each need specific flags in the layer params.
- 1 bump layer, with the typical blueish texture used in normal/bump mapping. I'm not even sure what kind of program can compute these - probably big ones like Gimp or Photoshop.


Heh, thought everyone knew that there was. Its present in Kemo too on the bannister railings.
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Sirius » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:39 pm

dendwaler wrote:Why not in Blender itself?
something like this?
yes, you always need to make a high poly model to get detail, and after that apply the bump on the low poly.

http://www.katsbits.com/tutorials/blender/baking-normal-maps-from-models.php
Interesting... Yeah, that's using Blender to create normal maps from meshes to decrease the number of vertices, however it's also possible (AFAIK) to create it from an existing texture - which looks absolutely stunning for rock or wood textures.

Although since it's already complicated enough to setup a material in PyPRP, I'd not bother making two versions of the same mesh to save a few vertices (these don't cost much in Plasma anyway).

GPNMilano wrote:Heh, thought everyone knew that there was. Its present in Kemo too on the bannister railings.
Wow, nice catch ! Although honestly, I'm not sure why Cyan bothered - I can't see the difference, even when a storm is occurring.
It makes me wonder how often they used these (probably rarely). I remember there were walls in Bevin that looked normalmapped, but it could as well be a lightmap effect.
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Tsar Hoikas » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:48 pm

Kemo was the lead graphics programmer's test age ;)
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Whilyam » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:04 am

I've been interested in doing this in my Ages. Is there any way to do this with PyPRP?
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Sirius » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:57 am

Not yet... As I said, it requires a material with multiple layers, but each layer has special settings that PyPRP can't handle yet (unless there is a well hidden AlcScript property to set layer flags).
It would be best if PyPRP could automatically create those layers, set the flags and create the color gradient only by pressing the "norm" button in Blender... but that will have to wait.
might be some day I'll try adding it to PyPRP if no one does it - but don't take my word on that, I'm a bit busy with other Uru stuff right now

Meanwhile, you could use PrpShop to investigate how Cyan setup their materials and try to manually edit yours accordingly (try looking at the material Asteroid or something in Todelmer_District_Pod.prp). But I'd not recommend it unless you know how PRP files work.


Tsar Hoikas wrote:Kemo was the lead graphics programmer's test age ;)
That makes sense, unless the engine is very well documented, you'd need a bit of mathematical knowledge to figure out how to set it up. It also explains why the Age is quite impressive in terms of texturing. Plus it uses a lot of graphical features, such as light, particle, wavesets, bones, etc.
And I always thought people programming the engine never get to model anything :shock:
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Paradox » Sat Aug 16, 2014 12:42 am

Normal mapping is one of those totally hidden features of Plasma because almost nobody knows that it exists because it's almost never used. I think Kemo and maybe somewhere in Ahnonay are the only places in Uru that it's used. It is in the Max plugin documentation though, and people were playing with it a while back (Nye posted about it).

It's not too surprising that it saw more use in Myst V. Myst V used several graphical features that weren't used much in Uru due to concerns about system specs.

As I recall, I played around with using it in Ahra Pahts too, and discovered the main reason that it's almost never used: It really doesn't have much effect most of the time.

The majority of the lighting in Uru is baked into the vertices either automatically at export, or through manual vertex painting. For more complicated lighting/shadows, it's baked as lightmap textures. It's only in some special cases that real-time lighting is used. Notably, for lighting that changes (such as Gira) or to light animated objects (such as the avatar, or kickables, etc.).
Normal mapping only has a visible effect if real-time lighting is used, and even then, it's only apparent when the light or object are moving.

Yes, there's normal mapping on the stair railings and rocky path in Kemo, but you only ever seen the effect if you're staring at them while the lightining storm is going on. Otherwise, you'd never notice it.
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby dendwaler » Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:55 am

Sirius wrote:- 1 bump layer, with the typical blueish texture used in normal/bump mapping. I'm not even sure what kind of program can compute these - probably big ones like Gimp or Photoshop.


To Sirius:
I found a free program to generate these normal maps from any picture may be you are interested in it.
You can download " Normal Job" here:

http://charles.hollemeersch.net/njob
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Re: Normal mapping: it works !

Postby Deledrius » Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:43 pm

dendwaler wrote:To Sirius:
I found a free program to generate these normal maps from any picture may be you are interested in it.
You can download " Normal Job" here:

http://charles.hollemeersch.net/njob

CrazyBump is a popular tool for this too, though it's not free (but does have a free trial). I suspect that normal maps computed by the renderer will probably always be superior to ones converted from a flat texture.
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