Thought for GMax Users Thinking of Going Blender

If you are considering changing from gmax to blender because of the new-fangled texture maps that EE is capable of using, you might not have to. But it still means learning something new. There is a free program called xNormal that can produce them for you but the interface leaves something to be desired. There are a number of tutorials out there as well (google search) including video ones.

Now I may be wrong on this next one but this is my understanding. The way it works is that you give it a low poly obj mesh and after you adjust some settings it will produce the maps for you.

TR

unfortunatly your understanding of xnormal is not complete. yes, you load a low-poly game model into xnormal to produce tangent-space normal maps. but you also have to feed it a high-poly model to bake the details into those textures. xnormal is not creating them out of thin air, it’s only calculating the difference in polygons amongst the two models.

there are programs, like awesomebump, which can create “fake” details just from pictures witouth the need of a high-poly model, but this only really works well with relativly flat surfaces like walls.
last but not least you can also paint small details yourself. substance painter, 3dcoat, mari, ndo for photoshop and also blender allow you to manually change the normal map.

long story short: if you want a good looking and well shading normal map to create the illusion of the low-poly ingame model to have lots of details else not possible with the density of the mesh, you have to create the high-poly model yourself. this is done through digital sculpting which produces a model with polygons in the range of hundreds of thousands and even millions. blender is well suited for the task, and the 2.8 vers coming in the next months (beta already available) will be a good start to jump into the cold.