High poly model > magic > Low poly + normal maps?

Community Forums/Developer Stations/High poly model > magic > Low poly + normal maps?

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#1]
Hey all. I saw that Normal Map demo with the greek statue, and I started to wonder how the model was made. Is there some magic program (even something uber-expensive, like Lightwave or Max,) that can take a highpoly model, reduce the facecount, and generate normal maps based on the original model? I figured it was worth a shot asking. :P

Mustang(Posted 2004) [#2]
Well lightwave has built-in qemLOSS poly reducer... but since you need to have GOOD UV maps on the low poly version that is going to use normal maps you usually have to do things "manually".

There are Gzillion free programs that can "bake" the high-poly object beometry to low-poly objects UVs (...normal map), so that is not a problem.



Zethrax(Posted 2004) [#3]
Can't help you with the normal map conversion part, but if you want to convert the high poly mesh for the normal map to a low poly version, try this free tool:


There's another poly reducer program available at:


These are useful for doing quick and dirty reduction, but manual reduction is probably the best way to go for serious modelling.

Picklesworth(Posted 2004) [#4]
That nvidia program called melody has polygon reduction and normal map creating. Not very great polygon reduction though.

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#5]
The tricky part is, not just the same program but pretty much the same reduction method needs to be applied to both the model and the normal maps in order for the resulting textures and polygons to match up perfectly.

Sounds like Lightwave is the only way to do it. Ugh... I'll thgink about it. How much and where do I get it? All Google gives me is extremely specialized tutorials.

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#6]
Err, wait... maybe it doesn't... it depends on what the phrase "baked on" actually MEANS...

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#7]
Woot! Melody = Free Magic App!!! :D

Make a highres model in some crazy highend program, make a simple 1000poly model in Milkshape, plunk them into Melody, and boom! Lumpy, shiny, Blitzable models!

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#8]
D'oh! >.<

"Melody requires a graphics card that supports Pixel Shader 2.0"

Guess it's time to start searching for information on what that means...

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#9]
Updated my 3D drivers. Amazingly, there WAS a new set of drivers availible, even though I just updated them a couple of weeks ago.

It didn't help, though. I still get the same error message. Guess the Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4400 is obsolete now. Either that or "pixel shader 2.0," whatever that is, doesn't support the card. Which is pretty unlikely, though, since Nvidia produced both Melody and the card.

Le-Sigh... wish I could play with Melody...

Gabriel(Posted 2004) [#10]
I'm pretty sure Geforce 4 TI's are only Pixel Shader 1.2 compliant. I think it was the GF FX's before they got Pixel Shader 2.0 support. There may be pixel shader emulators for lesser cards, but they'll be hellish slow.

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#11]
I found a big list of NormalMappers here:

Also, there is a thread about them with lots of links here:

Looks like the only one that works on my computer and is also free is ORB, a program created by some sweedish university programming club that has a downright codependant relationship with the acronym. ;) It features the worst interface ever, a garishly colored simulation of DOS, and is availible here:

After messing around with it a bit, I managed to get it working, and the results are pretty awesome. You need to UVmap your objects first, though, sadly.

*(Posted 2004) [#12]
have a looky for Orb

WarpZone(Posted 2004) [#13]
Here's a hint: If you'rte testing it with a symetrical humanoid model, don't be lazy and project your texture onto it from one side. The resulting normal map will be all one solid color! I thought it was something wrong with the software until I thought about the theory behind Normal Mapping and realized that my model's two halves were cancelling each other out!

c5ven(Posted 2004) [#14]
retracing old ground.

might want to search for older threads. and there's a very long, very detailed sticky over on CGTalk. might also look up a thread on Spiraloid forums. worth a read.