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InsanitySorrow

Graphic Artistry: Normal Maps in Paint.Net

NRMPaintDotNet_zps847094b6.png

Craft_Welcome.png

There are a lot of tutorials around for Photoshop and GIMP since they have been the two 2D applications of choice for a while now. Well it seems times have changed and another tool is becoming popular among modders, so I've decided it's time to cover some of the aspects of texturing using it.

This tutorial is going to cover the basics of creating a normal map.

Craft_Req.png

Paint.Net

Normal Map Plus (Install in your Paint.Net Effects folder in the install directory)

DXTBMP (Download down at the bottom)

DotNet_Part01_zps1c6d878d.png

What we're going to do is create a texture the most common way, the way we do it is take our texture, add an alpha channel and then run our normal map filter. This the simplest way of creating a normal map, but with the right tweaks we can come out of it with a decent result.

Go ahead and open up your chosen texture for this tutorial, I'm using Zatoichi01.dds from my Zatoichi mod, you can follow along with that one too if you like.

Now there are several methods of supporting Alpha Channels in Paint.net, even if at first glance there doesn't appear to be a native feature. For this tutorial, we're going to use a 3rd party tool to combine them after we're done, which is the method I prefer.

So as a bit of preparation work, go File>Save As and save a copy of your texture, call it Specular and save it as a BMP file.

DotNet_Spec_zps682c50b4.jpg

This will be used later on.

DotNet_Part02_zpsf608ba07.png

So with our texture open we'll click Effects>Stylize>NormalMap Plus, this will bring up the normal map sliders.

DotNet_Filter_zpsbd0e794b.jpg

You will also notice the texture has changed, Paint.Net shows the changes in real time, it first applies the basic normal map filter and then allows us to tweak it using the sliders.

DotNet_Sliders_zpsa3f94556.jpg

The slider options are X, Y and Z, each one adjusts the strength applied in that direction. The most important one for us is the Z setting as that's the depth of the normal map.

With the default settings the normal map looks good, so I'm going to leave them as they are for now, you're free to play around with them though. Next step is to save the texture, so go File>Save As, pick DDS format in the drop down list and give it a name, be sure to add the suffix _N so we know it's a normal map. Once you've done that you'll be greeted with the settings screen.

DotNet_Settings01_zpsa49b90c9.jpg

There are only two settings there that concern us and those are the compression type at the top and the Generate Mip Maps checkbox. Make sure the Mip Maps are checked and change the compression type to DXT1.

DotNet_Settings02_zpsf98034f8.jpg

Click Ok and let it save. The next part for us is to create the alpha channel and then add it to our normal map. A bit of messing I know, but it's the simplest work around.

DotNet_Part03_zpsf7a59354.png

Remember the Specular texture we made?, well open it up in Paint and let's mess with it a little. So all alpha channels are grey scale, so the first thing for us to do is make it grey. Go to Adjustments>Hue/Saturation.

DotNet_Saturation01_zps2a1fdad7.jpg

In the little window that pops up slide the saturation slider all the way to the left to make our texture completely grey scale.

DotNet_Saturation02_zps173e2360.jpg

The way this works is the lighter areas in the alpha make those parts of the texture shine more in the light while the darker areas make it shine less. What we need to do is play around with the brightness/contrast and alter the areas we want to shine more/less.

DotNet_Adjust_zps74431863.jpg

With that done we can save it, just save over your texture and make sure it's format is BMP. The next part will be done in DXTBmp.

Open up DXTBmp and open our Normal map, give it a little time to load the texture, it's a bit slow.

DotNet_DXTBmp01_zps68d6e211.jpg

Now click the Alpha option in the top bar and select Import Alpha Channel.

DotNet_DXTBmp02_zps2a4512d4.jpg

Navigate to our Specular.bmp texture and select it, DXTBmp will now apply that to the Normal Maps alpha channel for us. Last step is saving.

DotNet_DXTBmp03_zps8548cd8c.jpg

From here go File>Save As>DDS Texture, a new window will pop up asking you where you want to put the texture, the name and in the drop down box at the bottom, the format. Set the same name as before so it overwrites and select DDS DXT5 from the drop down box.

DotNet_DXTBmp04_zpsdd3e80f5.jpg

Click save and let it do it's job, when it's done you'll have a new normal map complete with alpha channel :clap:. Go ahead and give it a test in-game and see how it looks, now that you know how to do it you'll be able to tweak things so you get the look you are after :thumbup:

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On 14.12.2012 at 2:37 AM, InsanitySorrow said:

 

 

NRMPaintDotNet_zps847094b6.png

 

 

Craft_Welcome.png

 

There are a lot of tutorials around for Photoshop and GIMP since they have been the two 2D applications of choice for a while now. Well it seems times have changed and another tool is becoming popular among modders, so I've decided it's time to cover some of the aspects of texturing using it.

 

This tutorial is going to cover the basics of creating a normal map.

Craft_Req.png

 

Paint.Net

Normal Map Plus (Install in your Paint.Net Effects folder in the install directory)

DXTBMP (Download down at the bottom)

 

DotNet_Part01_zps1c6d878d.png

 

What we're going to do is create a texture the most common way, the way we do it is take our texture, add an alpha channel and then run our normal map filter. This the simplest way of creating a normal map, but with the right tweaks we can come out of it with a decent result.

 

Go ahead and open up your chosen texture for this tutorial, I'm using Zatoichi01.dds from my Zatoichi mod, you can follow along with that one too if you like.

 

Now there are several methods of supporting Alpha Channels in Paint.net, even if at first glance there doesn't appear to be a native feature. For this tutorial, we're going to use a 3rd party tool to combine them after we're done, which is the method I prefer.

 

So as a bit of preparation work, go File>Save As and save a copy of your texture, call it Specular and save it as a BMP file.

 

DotNet_Spec_zps682c50b4.jpg

 

This will be used later on.

 

DotNet_Part02_zpsf608ba07.png

 

So with our texture open we'll click Effects>Stylize>NormalMap Plus, this will bring up the normal map sliders.

 

DotNet_Filter_zpsbd0e794b.jpg

 

You will also notice the texture has changed, Paint.Net shows the changes in real time, it first applies the basic normal map filter and then allows us to tweak it using the sliders.

 

DotNet_Sliders_zpsa3f94556.jpg

 

The slider options are X, Y and Z, each one adjusts the strength applied in that direction. The most important one for us is the Z setting as that's the depth of the normal map.

 

With the default settings the normal map looks good, so I'm going to leave them as they are for now, you're free to play around with them though. Next step is to save the texture, so go File>Save As, pick DDS format in the drop down list and give it a name, be sure to add the suffix _N so we know it's a normal map. Once you've done that you'll be greeted with the settings screen.

 

DotNet_Settings01_zpsa49b90c9.jpg

 

There are only two settings there that concern us and those are the compression type at the top and the Generate Mip Maps checkbox. Make sure the Mip Maps are checked and change the compression type to DXT1.

 

DotNet_Settings02_zpsf98034f8.jpg

 

Click Ok and let it save. The next part for us is to create the alpha channel and then add it to our normal map. A bit of messing I know, but it's the simplest work around.

 

DotNet_Part03_zpsf7a59354.png

 

Remember the Specular texture we made?, well open it up in Paint and let's mess with it a little. So all alpha channels are grey scale, so the first thing for us to do is make it grey. Go to Adjustments>Hue/Saturation.

 

DotNet_Saturation01_zps2a1fdad7.jpg

 

In the little window that pops up slide the saturation slider all the way to the left to make our texture completely grey scale.

 

DotNet_Saturation02_zps173e2360.jpg

 

The way this works is the lighter areas in the alpha make those parts of the texture shine more in the light while the darker areas make it shine less. What we need to do is play around with the brightness/contrast and alter the areas we want to shine more/less.

 

DotNet_Adjust_zps74431863.jpg

 

With that done we can save it, just save over your texture and make sure it's format is BMP. The next part will be done in DXTBmp.

 

Open up DXTBmp and open our Normal map, give it a little time to load the texture, it's a bit slow.

 

DotNet_DXTBmp01_zps68d6e211.jpg

 

Now click the Alpha option in the top bar and select Import Alpha Channel.

 

DotNet_DXTBmp02_zps2a4512d4.jpg

 

Navigate to our Specular.bmp texture and select it, DXTBmp will now apply that to the Normal Maps alpha channel for us. Last step is saving.

 

DotNet_DXTBmp03_zps8548cd8c.jpg

 

From here go File>Save As>DDS Texture, a new window will pop up asking you where you want to put the texture, the name and in the drop down box at the bottom, the format. Set the same name as before so it overwrites and select DDS DXT5 from the drop down box.

 

DotNet_DXTBmp04_zpsdd3e80f5.jpg

 

Click save and let it do it's job, when it's done you'll have a new normal map complete with alpha channel :clap:. Go ahead and give it a test in-game and see how it looks, now that you know how to do it you'll be able to tweak things so you get the look you are after :thumbup:

 

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