Normal bump mapping
is a way of adding high-resolution detail to low-polygon objects.
It is especially useful for real-time display devices such as game
engines, and it can also be used in rendered scenes and animations.
A normals map is a three-color
map, unlike the grayscale maps used for regular bump mapping (see
The red channel encodes the left-right axis of normal orientation,
the green channel encodes the up-down axis of normal orientation,
and the blue channel encodes vertical depth.
3ds Max provides a
number of different ways to create and use normal bump mapping,
but the most straightforward and simplest workflow involves these
- Create a detailed, high-resolution model.
- Create a simpler, low-resolution model.
The low-resolution model should have the general
shape and outlines of the high-resolution model, and typically it
should be a bit smaller, so that projected detail in the high-res
model will appear to be above its surface.
- Select the low-res model.
- Choose Rendering Render to Texture.
The Render To Texture dialog appears.
- On the Objects To Bake rollout, in the
Projection Mapping group, click Pick.
3ds Max opens a selection dialog.
- Choose the high-res object, and then
3ds Max applies a
modifier to the low-res object.
- In the Projection Mapping group, turn
At this stage, often you will click Options
to display the
, which has a variety of
settings for how to generate the projection.
- On the Output rollout, add a NormalsMap
Baked Texture Elements). Assign
Bump as its target map slot.
- In the Selected Elements Unique settings
group, turn on Output Into Normal Bump.
- Click Render.
3ds Max renders the Normals map, which stores normals
data from the high-res object. As for other kinds of texture baking,
it creates a Shell material and applies that to the low-res object,
with the Normals map assigned as the bump component.
Components of Normal Bump Mapping
In the 3ds Max interface,
controls for normal bump maps appear in three locations:
Viewing Normal Bump Maps
If your display driver
uses DirectX 8, you can view normal maps in viewports by using the
shader. If your graphics driver is DirectX 9,
you can view normal maps in any shaded viewport. See
Direct3D Driver Setup Dialog.
If your display driver
is Software or OpenGL, you can't view normal maps in viewports.
However, you can still render them and use normal mapping in renderings.