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Normal/height map?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:35 pm
by pistacja
MH has gone a looong way since I first saw it in action, yet still some features are missing - very fine details.
I'm talking about things like lips, wrinkles on the face, muscle outlines, veins, ribs visible under the skin, hand and feet details, etc. - the kind of thing that would require a very, very dense mesh, the kind of thing that could be shown using some sort of bump mapping, be it normal mapping or some other more advanced technique (tessellation with displacement maps?).

One way or another I think normal maps should somehow make their way into MH. I don't think they would need to be generated live every time, a few, pre-baked normal maps could be mixed, just as long as the normals stored will be normalized (there's a nice article on some tricks on mixing them: ... in-detail/)

Are there any plans on adding anything like this in the future?

Re: Normal/height map?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:51 am
by duststorm
Our shaders already support normal mapping.
Normal mapping on jeans

Normal mapping pores and eyebrows on face

Pores effect using normal mapping

For comparison: without normal maps

For clothes it's currently used (all clothes have normal maps). Manuel has not yet finished the normal maps for the skin materials (shown images are experiments). But technically it's already possible.

Tangent vectors are updated dynamically when the human is modeled.

In the future we will also try to add displacement mapping, bump mapping, and specular mapping.

I have seen the article about normal blending. Perhaps this is an idea for the future, but first we will try to work with regular normal maps.
For blending to work we will have to separate details like pores from large geometric detail (eg use separate bump maps for pore detail, and normal map for large geometry detail). Because blending two images with different pore noise will just blur the two.

Re: Normal/height map?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 3:01 am
by duststorm
Some more shots.
It's subtle, but the pores effect is there.




On a wet or reflective skin it becomes very noticeable.

Anyway, on the skin normal maps (or bump maps, for pores they might work better) will always remain subtle, as the skin is mainly smooth.
But for some details like muscles and extra details on certain macro models it might work very well (the tested normal map had only subtle detail, no geometry) sculpts.