Topic - Modo Normal Map Baking

Okay so i've been trying to figure this out for quite some time now, and to be honest, i'm out of ideas so i decided to post here because i may be doing something wrong...

I know you can get a clean normal map out of modo...but me, i just can't get there, not yet anyway.

Any help appreciated.

This is a test model, simple as that.

High Poly:



Low Poly:



Normal Map:



Normal Problem 1:



Normal Problem 2:



Now i think my problem here is obvious. Why am i getting those black outlines around my UVs? (and i think this is the reason my normal map looks.....odd and not like its supposed to look)

I've looked around the web, and everything i found is basically the same thing...but i'm sure i'm doing something wrong.

Message edited by Seth Richardson on 3/3/2010 - 8:54 AM

What's the smoothing angle on your material? Try pushing it up to something like 180 degrees before you bake
That fixed part of my problems. Thanks.

Now, i'm still getting some bake errors on the lips of the barrel but i suspect that has something to do with the lowpoly model or, again with the smoothing angle on that piece.

Another thing is, how to remove that black outline that surrounds my UVs? I've tried setting the image type to RGB instead of RGBA, removed alpha channel from the render outputs...can't think of anything else.
Would playing with the Bake UV border size in preference/rendering make any differences?

Stephane Payette
www.stephanepayette.com

Perfection just can't exist, otherwise it would loose all interest

It does make some difference but, if i set it to 0, the unused UV space remains black which is not right, because it embosses my seams a lot.

If i set it to 1, there is a big difference from the value 3, but the black outline is still visible.

Values of 0.xx do not work.

Here is the final result with the normal map applied :



And the normal map:



There are still some minor errors in the normal map + the obvious seam which i think comes from the black outline.

Still want to fine tune this technique.

Any help appreciated.

Message edited by Seth Richardson on 3/3/2010 - 8:23 PM

Are you rendering with an active alpha channel? The UV border function doesn't work without it.

James Darknell - Training and Documentation Manager
http://www.thefoundry.co.uk

Quote from Seth Richardson :

Another thing is, how to remove that black outline that surrounds my UVs? I've tried setting the image type to RGB instead of RGBA, removed alpha channel from the render outputs...can't think of anything else.


If you are referring to the option inside the texture layer itself called "Alpha Channel", yes i tried baking with it set to "Ignore" and border set to both 0 and 1, same thing for the "Use" setting.

border 1 - small border but visible and messing up normals
border 0 - empty UV space is black

Message edited by Seth Richardson on 3/3/2010 - 11:03 PM

Well, i've tried another test bake, and the results are curious this time, but its still not a fix.

Normal Map:



Object:



The reason i didn't get a border here is because the high poly doesn't fully cover the low poly mesh.

Any more insight on the border problem will be much appreciated.

Edit: Ignore the normal map, its from a previous bake, but the principle is the same.



Message edited by Seth Richardson on 3/4/2010 - 8:38 PM

Sorry Seth, you gotta be doing something wrong, I just tested it and it works fine, no black edges when you render with an alpha channel and use the Bake UV border function.


Here's the file, give it a try.
http://www.mutant-pixel.com/Luxology/SteelDrumTest.zip

James Darknell - Training and Documentation Manager
http://www.thefoundry.co.uk

Well, i'm not getting it either now....but i still get it in that barrel scene lol. Must be some bug or something....

I redid the test on another model and i'm not getting any seam with an active alpha channel and UV border size set to 1.

Cheers and thanks for the help everyone.
to get back to this subject,many people look at normal map baking in a rather simplified way

things arent exactly as simple,especially not in modo.
in my experience,normal map baking in modo is like entering a world of pain.

maya seems to be the best equipped of all packages to produce useable and clean normal map bakes,without edge seams and RGB gradients over flat polygons (as seen in modo bakes above)

this tutorial here sheds more light on the issues related to the subject

http://www.svartberg.com/tutorials/article_normalmaps/normalmaps.html

Thanks for the tip alex, will look into that.

Normal Map baking in Modo isn't as simple as its shown in those 2 small tuts on LuxTV. I wish someone would make a decent tutorial in baking a very complex normal map in modo.

Cheers
I do find the likes of maya will produce a cleaner map (both normal and displacement than modo or in some cases XSI). Often small artefacts creep in and by the time you find the sweet spot for the distance of baking...well, you could have been working on other things.

Can you post the barrel scene Seth? I just completed a few barrel models myself and I finished them all within modo as I got good results. The key I found to the barrel object is give your high poly object a 180 degree smoothing angle which will help the normal map avoid faceting.
they alley tutorials are all about normal baking:
Video 02 - Normal and Ambient Occlusion Baking
Quote from alex pavlovich :

maya seems to be the best equipped of all packages to produce useable and clean normal map bakes,without edge seams and RGB gradients over flat polygons (as seen in modo bakes above)



Alex, objectively I don't see here RGB gradients over flat polygons.
I don't like bugs and pain too.. so it's not a flame.

BTW your link is very nice and short explanation about this theme! Thanks!

Message edited by Real_Mook on 3/11/2010 - 3:04 PM

Quote from Real_Mook :


Alex, objectively I don't see here RGB gradients over flat polygons.
I don't like bugs and pain too.. so it's not a flame.

BTW your link is very nice and short explanation about this theme! Thanks!


there's no RGB gradients,but there's dark seams along the edges.

you will almost invariably get one of the two error types when normal baking angular geometry in modo,and sometimes even both kind of errors depending on the complexity of the shape outline in question

organic stuff,round shapes,lumps and blobs are easier to extract a decent normal map from,because they do not expose the inherent lack of surface rounding control over the baking geometry,that modo and other applications suffer from



Message edited by alex pavlovich on 3/11/2010 - 6:11 PM



http://www.uberdesigns.co.uk/public/modo/help/normal_example.zip

I find this sort of setup gives me the best results in modo. I will resize the map to 2048, bake and then downsample it to the designated map size.

EDIT: The baking distance is achieved by using the ruler tool and measuring the distance along the Y axis the height of the highpoly mesh i.e. anything above 4.1cm - I used 6cm to be safe.

Message edited by Philip Lawson on 3/11/2010 - 7:12 PM

Don't know if you've tried this, I was getting black lines on UV borders too, but it was because I didn't actually have an "alpha render output" active, so no alpha was saved into my tgas.