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Normal/bump mapping problems
show user profile  mamastoast
Hey, been off this forum for aaages, but I finally made the password recovery thing work, so yay for that.

Anyway, I've recently decidede to give the whole unwrapping thing another go, so I can finally actuallt start texturing stuff and even normal map using mudbox (long overdue). So, after practicing using the Max tools for unwrapping, just to remember the basics, I got a handy program called 3dUnwrap, which pretty much unwraps the mesh for you using user set seams.

This works all fine and dandy, and there are no issues for textures (except of course unfortunate seams, but thats just flaws on my part).

However Once I tried taking an unwrapping model into mudbox, I came to some odd issues. It seems that along certain seams, specially along the legs of my semi lowpoly character, the mesh messes up when subdevided and therefore completely ruins the normal map. Idon't know if this is a normal issue or I'm simply missing a step or what.

In the past you guys have been really helpful (if a bit strict :) ) so I'm sure you can help me out here.



Close up:

read 1333 times
6/22/2011 11:19:36 PM (last edit: 6/22/2011 11:30:57 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
you think the dividing of the mesh is causing the errors? need a wireframe to tell
looks like either overlapping uv's or the cage used in the baking process wasn't accurate enough

Website and Portfolio

read 1314 times
6/22/2011 11:55:12 PM (last edit: 6/22/2011 11:55:12 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
So, did the whole thing again and found out exactly where it happens. It's once I extract the normal map from mudbox it messes up. I did check the wireframe, there is nothing wrong with it, the edges go over the problem areas seamlessly as if nothing was wrong.
read 1295 times
6/23/2011 11:03:00 AM (last edit: 6/23/2011 11:05:12 AM)
show user profile  Dave
"the mesh messes up when subdevided and therefore completely ruins the normal map"

So, it's a problem with your mesh? Certain verts not welded? Bad topology/edge flow?

A quick test would be to unwrap the problem areas differently. If the bake still comes out the same (ie, wrong) then you'll know for certain that it's a mesh error. I think. It's early... I've not finished my first coffee yet.

"I flew over Egypt once"

read 1288 times
6/23/2011 12:25:01 PM (last edit: 6/23/2011 12:25:01 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
turns out though, it doesn't happen when I subdivide it as I originally thought.The program happens once I extract the normal map. After that the weird areas around the seams suddenly shows up.

So, I did just a normal map from an unaltered mesh in mudbox and it still messes up, so it's not due to the subdivisions it seems.



read 1269 times
6/24/2011 12:28:36 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 12:38:48 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
i would guess it's because of the belt thing- the rays that are used to calculate the hi/ lo distances are being confused by the 'overlapping' geometry
bake the body and belt seperately and you should get away with it

Website and Portfolio

read 1252 times
6/24/2011 5:34:59 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 5:34:59 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
I'm not quite sure what you mean, the belt is not a seperate mesh overlapping, it's all one mesh.
read 1250 times
6/24/2011 5:42:39 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 5:42:39 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
if you look at your most recent 'after' image you'll see that the errors on the legs kinda follow the belt shape- maybe if you reduce the ray hit distance- i'm unfamiliar with how MB handles these things so i've put it in max terms
or try xnormal or baking it in max

Website and Portfolio

read 1247 times
6/24/2011 5:51:17 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 5:51:17 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
While that is true, that is not the only problem area. I only highlighted the leg parts because those are the largest sections of error. These things also happen at the seams on the hands, face and bascially at every seam. So I don't think it's due to this ray thing.

I feel like I may have missed some crucial step. Am I right in modelling the mesh, making it ready for export (reset xform ect.) Then unwrapping it, taking it into max to make sure it's not stretching. Then export to mudbox?

edit 2: I just tried simply letting 3ds max flatten the mapping, despite some terrible seams, it sorta did it. Not to much help though, as the same issue happened when taken into mudbox.
read 1246 times
6/24/2011 5:56:00 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 6:43:54 PM)
show user profile  Dave
Can we see your unwrap?

"I flew over Egypt once"

read 1237 times
6/24/2011 7:19:27 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 7:19:27 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
Of course :)

read 1234 times
6/24/2011 7:32:17 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 7:32:17 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
actually looks like there is an overlap in the two bottom UV islands and maybe on the circular single band of uv's near the top left- but that's hard to tell
possible self-intersection on the two piecs at the top to the right of center
and some pieces are far too close to the edge
in creating a normal map there is a skirt made that gives the normal map something to blend into the next island- if the islands are too close that skirt can bleed into another piece of uv creating errors- the skirt can be reduced but it's by far a better idea just to make sure all the islands have adequate space around them in the first place- goes for the borders of the 0,0 mapping space too- it will just bleed over to the other side of the map- so on the top left the sole piece could bleed over to the other side into the hand piece or the teeth bit
a single overlap or inverted island can cause errors throughout the bake unfortunately

Website and Portfolio

read 1222 times
6/24/2011 8:02:07 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 8:02:07 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
So the issue might be that they're simply too close? How would I fix this? Doesn't look like simply moving around would apply ample space
read 1216 times
6/24/2011 9:42:11 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 9:42:11 PM)
show user profile  K-tonne
you could probably scale up the uv's about 25% and still have enough space around the uv islands to fit a default 2 pixel skirt

here's something you could try- save beforehand though as you might not like the results and ctrl+z might not work for some reason (might happen, you never know- better to be safe)

in the uv edit window on the top row, in tools menu click on 'pack UV's'
leave the default recursive packing, put the 'spacing' on 0.005, uncheck 'normalise clusters', check 'rotate clusters' and 'fill holes' then click ok

this should give you a good start for the larger objects- the smaller objects will just be shoved into one corner or something but you can manually move them to gaps between the larger pieces

the UV islands are in a square formation but they might be outside the 0.0 blue box so just scale them uniformly all at once till the big bits fit inside 0.0

Website and Portfolio

read 1207 times
6/24/2011 11:15:15 PM (last edit: 6/24/2011 11:15:15 PM)
show user profile  mamastoast
I just did as you described (been in sweden for a week on vacation). Sadly, no luck, I'm 100% positive that no uv parts overlap or go outside the area, but still the problem areas pop up as soon as I extract any kind of normal map from mudbox :S *sigh*

I have a hard time seeing what I'm doing wrong.
read 1152 times
7/3/2011 5:55:40 PM (last edit: 7/3/2011 5:55:40 PM)
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