Normal map DOs

I hate skipping over well written but way too long normal map baking information, so I’ll summarize information here just for me:

Averaged projection mesh
– Uses a cage for baking
– ignores lowpoly mesh normals, use  averaged/ smoothed normals according to cage instead
-> Hard edges don’t leave seams/ gap
-> Hard edges are irrelevant for the final result

Explicit mesh normals
– default method, lowpoly mesh normals are used for baking
-> Hard edges leave seams/ gaps

UV seams as well as hard edges both duplicate vertex count, but together only duplicate it once (not twice!) aswell.

Every hard edge must be split in the uv map to avoid artefacts.  Not the other way around though.

A synced workflow between baker and game engine (check tangent space) allows less smoothing arrows
-> you get away with less hard edges
-> you might even get away using explicit mesh normals if you don’t use hard edges at all

Advantages of hard edges
– less gradients in the normal map allow using it for other maps (Normal to Height, Curvature, Ambient Occlusion, other detail maps)
– LODs look better, less smoothing errors
– better texture compression

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *