Author Topic: Drawing hard-surface normals in the SVG node like Quixel's NDO  (Read 9277 times)

Normal map drawing using the SVG node would be really awesome. I've been playing with SD's nodes for awhile just trying to get close to the neatness and depth of an NDO hard-surface normal. I can't seem to do it, and even if I get close, it's still a huge time suck compared to NDO... so why not just use NDO?
     I think some ability to make some very distinct hard-surface depth (quickly and with options) with variations that I could draw right over a UV snapshot, would be a massive upgrade in SD. Unless I'm missing something!! (IF there's already a way to do this, please, please let me know!)
     From an NDO normal map I can generate a lot of cool things in SD. Having a similar in-house tool would be a dream come true.
Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 02:46:11 am
3D art is magic.

Hey,Can you post an example of how it works with NDo : I am pretty there should be some workflow to achieve the dsame result :-)

After looking around on youtube, I couldn't find a video that was good enough (to me) to demonstrate NDO's tremendous speed and quality. The point for me was to show how a person could make hard-surface normals so fast without taking any measurements and just using shapes and snapping tools. Super awesome when tracing UV's for a giant mech or a space station! So I made my own video. I was going to keep it in real time, but it was approximately 35 minutes and extremely boring to watch. I multiplied the speed by 4 and added some drum music (lol). I think it's still slow enough to give you a good look at the tools and workflow of NDO in Photoshop. I put the link at the bottom.

This is something Substance Designer should have (in my extremely humble opinion!). SD's vector graphic node would be a perfect place for tools like this. I absolutely love SD, more than any other program I have. But my quality workflow demands that I fall back on a little photoshop plug-in that does something so much better.

NDO's hard-surface normal maps are sharper than any Zbrush/mudbox bake no matter the resolution. They're sharper than anything you can achieve in SD, using imported masks or the SVG draw tool. I've tried it for days and weeks, just trying to even get close. Take this as a challenge if you think you can do it!! (and if you do achieve this in a similar timely fashion, please oh please tell me how!). The main problem is controlling edge shape and depth, ON THE FLY. Try it with every node in the program and see what I mean.

This is not a big deal. I will continue to use NDO to make awesome normals. But I will always wish that SD (the King!) had something this fast, easy, and just plain 'badass' built into it.
Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 05:59:12 pm
3D art is magic.

did you just tried the new bevel node ?

Take a look at the last Wes Tutorial here : www[dot]youtube[dot]com/watch?v=Z_jQCMIXxCY&t=79

Thanks for getting back to me so quick :) I'll definitely take a look at it!
3D art is magic.

No problem ;-)

please share you result with us !

Holy cow I didn't know the bevel node existed. This is new in SD 5? I've got to try this.
3D art is magic.

yes it is new  ;)

Thank you very, very much!!!!
3D art is magic.

Initially I was depressed to find the bevel still didn't match up to the clean edges of NDO. But then I passed the curve gradient through a glow grayscale! :D Very nice. There's a lot of experimenting to be done here.
3D art is magic.

Cool !
I think with some manipulation, you can build a bunch of nodes to get the effects you want :-)

Well, I've finally come to the (realistic and hard) conclusion. NDO is still at least 5 times faster. :( This is just the way it is. I will still love and play with SD, and do normals in NDO. A node-based system can't keep up with a direct-draw system (I just make a selection and press a button. Ta-da! normal created, with sliders for edge control and depth. Moving along, piece by piece). But I guess, all textures have to pass through photoshop anyway right?  ::)
I understand that SD is hard-up for a node-based system. But I think for some things, if you want to do it best, you have to do it differently. I believe this is why Zbrush is God of the sculpting world. All its tools are efficient, even if some are downright alien. :)
Last Edit: March 06, 2015, 06:24:01 pm
3D art is magic.

maybe NDO is just a more dedicated tool - for manipulating normal maps. but SD otherwise is much more capable of doing 1000 other things beside some normal operations ;)


Definitely. NDO is just specialized in its tiny little corner. It can't do near what SD does. But it seems like such a simple little program, something SD could have in its tool roster. So I thought this forum topic was legit enough.

I still love that bevel node, definitely going to be playing with that  :D
Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 12:28:16 am
3D art is magic.