Author Topic: Height or Normal  (Read 9076 times)

hi,
Please could someone tell what are the pros and cons when using height or normal to add details to my model. Which one is best or rather suitable for this kinda stuff? I intended to add some panel loops (fuselage) to my model. How can I do it the right way?

Thanks

With height, you can paint with greyscale values (i.e. with shades of gray) to denote crevices and bumps of your surface. You can easily control the "height" or "depth" of painted information using the luminosity (value) of your colour. Also you can use things like Levels, Sharpen and other filters on this data, as height information is just... well, the value of grey colour.  :D On export, this information will be converted into normal data anyway, so you'll have your Height map with your grayscale input and Normal map with this data converted to normals.

With normals, you can't just paint whites and blacks right in - you have to use some pre-baked images or brushes to add details to the normal channel. This results in less flexibility, but allows the usage of existing libraries of baked normal data.

So, I would say that you pretty much can use both  :) If you have some normal data that you can use straight off - paint it into normal channel, if not - with Height you'll be just fine and will have a bit more control over end result.
Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 05:12:31 pm

With height, you can paint with greyscale values (i.e. with shades of gray) to denote crevices and bumps of your surface. You can easily control the "height" or "depth" of painted information using the luminosity (value) of your colour. Also you can use things like Levels, Sharpen and other filters on this data, as height information is just... well, the value of grey colofur.  :D On export, this information will be converted into normal data anyway, so you'll have your Height map with your grayscale input and Normal map with this data converted to normals.

With normals, you can't just paint whites and blacks right in - you have to use some pre-baked images or brushes to add details to the normal channel. This results in less flexibility, but allows the usage of existing libraries of baked normal data.

So, I would say that you pretty much can use both  :) If you have some normal data that you can use straight off - paint it into normal channel, if not - with Height you'll be just fine and will have a bit more control over end result.

I agree : )

Another thing is that the height is converted to normal for the viewport shader so you can loose a little quality here versus using normal data directly. That is the main reason we implemented the normal channel. However, I find it to not be noticeable really. Also, with height you have more blending options.

Cheers,
wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja

As a follow-on to this question...

Can you have (use) both Height and Normal as output channels in Painter at the same time?

Or do you need to blend your grey scale "height" into the Normal channel?

I tried adding a Height channel, but didn't seem to do anything.  The Opacity channel I added worked fine.  And adding "height" info into my Normal channel made all my lumps and bumps appear.

I'm still enough of a noob that I'm rarely sure if I'm doing something wrong, or tying to something that makes no sense.
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@wes, what is the workflow for exporting the details from height map to normal? If I get it right, here's how I'd proceed:
(1): I bake my model to get all the maps needed.
(2): add details to height channel or normal channel then export all of them (any tutorial on that matter?)
(3): import the normal map with the details on it

As a follow-on to this question...

Can you have (use) both Height and Normal as output channels in Painter at the same time?

Or do you need to blend your grey scale "height" into the Normal channel?

I tried adding a Height channel, but didn't seem to do anything.  The Opacity channel I added worked fine.  And adding "height" info into my Normal channel made all my lumps and bumps appear.

I'm still enough of a noob that I'm rarely sure if I'm doing something wrong, or tying to something that makes no sense.

HI,

Yes, you can use both the normal and height channels at the same time. The height is converted to normal. If you add a height channel, you need to make sure height is enabled on the material and that you paint height data. The same for the normal data.

Cheers,
Wes



Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja

@wes, what is the workflow for exporting the details from height map to normal? If I get it right, here's how I'd proceed:
(1): I bake my model to get all the maps needed.
(2): add details to height channel or normal channel then export all of them (any tutorial on that matter?)
(3): import the normal map with the details on it

Hi,

Yes, you have it correct.
In this video, I walk through this process.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5_bwLc3oYU&list=PLB0wXHrWAmCx994Cb7iRFSmupYHFw5DTx&index=25

In this video, I bake the maps. And I  In this case I bake a normal map to get large shape detail from the high poly. I then created all of the details using height data. After this, I export just the normal map and reimport this back into the project. I take the new normal and replace the normal in the texture set additional maps. Now, I can rebake the textures and make sure that in the baker uncheck the normal map. This will then bake the curvature and ambient occlusion using the normal that is placed in the additional map slot.

Cheers,
Wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja

Thanks Wes. Got it now!!

Thanks, Wes.

I'll go back and see what I overlooked.  I probably didn't have Height enabled on the material (that sounds like the sort of boneheaded thing I'd overlook).


UPDATE:

D'oh!

Speaking of boneheaded... If just occurred to me I was working in Substance Designer, and added a Height channel to a new substance.  When I read this thread, it reminded of the problem I had, but I sort of got my wires crossed.  So this wasn't actually a Painter question.

I'll have to jump back into Designer again.  It's been 6 to 8 weeks since I've spent more than a couple minutes with it, so I've forgotten lots - again.  If I can't figure it out I'll post a new boneheaded question in the Designer forum.

Sorry for the clutter.
Last Edit: September 20, 2016, 04:53:04 am
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@wes. I have managed to paint height details then converted to normal. But I have noticed that  the details are somehow flat, kinda cheap. My question is how could I add some ambient occlusion to the added details to have some depth? Actually, I am creating some panel lines to achieve the attached picture. Thanks in advance!

@wes. I have managed to paint height details then converted to normal. But I have noticed that  the details are somehow flat, kinda cheap. My question is how could I add some ambient occlusion to the added details to have some depth? Actually, I am creating some panel lines to achieve the attached picture. Thanks in advance!

Hi,

Great looking ship!

You can just bake the AO from the detail normal map. So once you've imported the normal map with the painted details you then add it to the additional maps slot for normal. Now, you can bake the AO in the baker but just disabled the normal bake. The AO will use the normal in the additional map convert the AO.

Cheers,
Wes

Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja