Creating a Normal Bump Map
 
 
 

Set up the lesson:

  1. On the Quick Access toolbar, click the Open File button and from the \materials_and_mapping\normal_bump_map folder, open pavers.max.

    The scene consists of a source object, a tile of spheres sculpted to resemble rocks set in mortar. Directly above is the target object, a simple two-dimensional plane.

    Before you begin this lesson, you should make sure your workstation is set to the default Direct3D display driver. If not, you will not be able to see the bump effect in your viewports.

  2. From the main menu, choose Customize > Preferences, and in the Viewports tab > Display Drivers group, make sure Direct 3D is the selected driver.

Unwrap the plane object:

  1. In any viewport, select the target plane object, and go to the Modify panel.
  2. From the Modifier List drop-down, choose Unwrap UVW.

    This modifier sets out the mapping coordinates of the plane object, so that the textures of the source object can accurately be projected onto it.

    On the Parameters rollout > Channel group, note that the mapping coordinates are automatically stored on Map Channel 1.

Set up the projection:

Here, you will use the Render To Texture tool to define various projection setup parameters.

  1. With the plane object still selected, from the main menu, choose Rendering > Render To Texture.
    TipThe default keyboard shortcut for the Render To Texture dialog is 0.
  2. On the Render To Texture dialog > General Settings rollout, define the output path where you want to save the diffuse, normal bump, and height map textures you are about to create.

    By default, the output is saved to My Documents\3dsmax\sceneassets\images, but you might want to specify a different storage location.

  3. In the Objects To Bake rollout > Projection Mapping group, turn on Enabled. Since the plane object you will bake the texture to consists of only a single flat surface, turn off Sub-Object Levels.

    If you wanted to bake textures of objects onto multiple surfaces, such as each face of a box for example, you would keep Sub-Object Levels turned on.

  4. Click the Pick button to display the Add Targets dialog.

    Here, you choose which objects you want to bake onto the plane object.

  5. Click the first item in the list (not counting Scene Root), then Shift+click the last item in the list to choose all the rocks and the mortar. Click Add.

    The drop-down list on the Projection Mapping group has changed from (No Projection Modifier) to Projection, indicating that a new modifier consisting of the items you just selected for projection has been placed on the stack for the plane object.

  6. Click the Options button to display the Projection Options dialog.

    The height map defines the stone and mortar topography of the source object. To generate the map, you must determine both the farthest and closest points between the source and plane object.

  7. Activate the Top viewport and zoom in slightly until you can see the mortar regions clearly.

    Before you make the next selection, be sure that you are directly above the plane. Height selection will only work if you are above the target object.

  8. In the Height Map group, click the eyedropper icon to the right of the Min Height field. Drag anywhere on the mortar between the rocks. The field resets to –100.

  9. Click the eyedropper icon next to the Max Height field and drag anywhere on the highest rock in the scene. You may need to sample several rocks to find the best candidate. A setting of –30 is fine, but try to obtain a value as close to 0 as possible.
  10. Close the Projection Options dialog. In the Render To Texture dialog > Objects To Bake rollout > Mapping Coordinates group, choose Use Existing Channel, if it is not already chosen.

    The Use Existing Channel option indicates that you want to use the texture mapping coordinates you created from the UVW Modifier at the beginning of this lesson, rather than letting 3ds Max create new texture mapping coordinates on the fly.

Define the texture to be baked:

Now that the projection method has been defined, the next step is to add the diffuse, normal bump, and height maps that, when combined, will form the texture to be baked onto the plane object.

  1. On the Render To Texture dialog, scroll down to the Output rollout, click Add and from the Add Texture Elements dialog, click to highlight DiffuseMap, then click Add Elements.

    A new Diffuse entry appears on the Output rollout. The file name of the diffuse map to be created displays in the File Name and Type field.

  2. From the Target Map Slot drop-down list, choose Diffuse Color.
  3. Click the 512 x 512 Width/Height button. This sets the output resolution of the diffuse map to 512 by 512 pixels.

  4. On the Output rollout, click Add again and from the Add Texture Elements dialog, click to highlight NormalsMap, then click Add Elements.

    A new Normals entry appears on the Output rollout, below the Diffuse map entry.

  5. From the Selected Element Common Settings group > Target Map Slot drop-down list, choose Bump.
  6. Click the 512 x 512 Width/Height button to set the output resolution of the normals bump map.
  7. In the Selected Element Unique Settings group, turn on Output Into Normal Bump, so that the result shows up properly both in the viewport and in the rendered frame.

  8. On the Output rollout, click Add and from the Add Texture Elements dialog, click to highlight HeightMap, then click Add Elements.

    A new Height entry appears on the Output rollout.

    Leave the Target Map Slot empty. This information is not needed, since you will be using a mental ray renderer to create a displacement map.

  9. Click the 512 x 512 Width/Height button to set the output resolution of the height bump map.

    At this point, you have defined all the basic elements and settings for creating diffuse, normals bump, and height maps.

  10. Switch to the Perspective view and press Alt+W to maximize the viewport.
  11. With the plane object selected, press Alt+X to exit X-ray mode. This mode lets you see behind the selected object. With this mode now removed, you will be able to see the results when the plane is rendered.
  12. At the bottom of the Render To Texture dialog, click Render to render the selected plane.

    Click Continue to clear the Missing Map Targets message box. We deliberately left the height map unassigned since the height map will be rendered separately by the mental ray renderer.

    If the Files Exists dialog displays, click Overwrite Files.

    The render shows only the information from the diffuse map. The normal bump and height maps have also been baked into the texture of the plane, but they are not visible. In the next lesson, you will use the Material Editor to display the complete projected texture in the viewports.

Next

Visualizing the Projection