Normal Map in 3DS Max
Normal Map 3DS Max or Normal Mapping 3DS Max uses to transfer high poly normal map to a low poly model as texture using Render to Texture, illustrated in this free 3DS Max Normal Map tutorial.
We will now going to know about how to create a normal map using 3DS Max. Here I use two plane primitive one is low poly and another is high poly. I want to create normal map from the high poly plane primitive and then transfer or use it on the low poly plane primitive.
At First create a two plane primitive in the perspective or top view. Then convert these two objects to editable poly. Now complete the designing part as shown. Or you can design as your own.
In the above picture you can see one plane is high poly (right) and it has some bit or design. Now, I want to transfer this design as texture into the low poly (left) plane. Select the low poly plane and from the dropdown list choose Unwrap UVW. As it is a plane primitive there is no difficulties with the Unwrap function. Now right click on it and choose Collapse To. A warning dialog box will appear don’t hesitate to press the ‘yes’ button. This will attach the UV information into the plane poly object. Do the same thing to the high poly one also.
Select the high poly plane object then press Alt+A or choose from the Tools Manu -> Align. Now select the low poly plane object. Align Selection dialog box will appear. The high-poly plane object will jumps into the low poly one (At their interpretation position), if not set the align position dialog box properties as shown. After completing press ok.
Press ‘H’ key from the keyboard or choose ‘select by name’ from the standard tool bar. Select Object dialog box will appear. From this dialog box select low poly plane object.
Now, we are going to start the texturing procedure, to do this choose from Manu bar Render ->Render to Texture or press ‘0’ key from the keyboard. Render to Texture dialog box will appear (Note: make sure the low poly plane object is selected). If you don’t select the low poly plane object before pressing ‘0’ key or open Render to Texture dialog box; 3DS Max will find nothing in the Objects to bake section.
In this Render to Texture dialog box, enable the projection modifier option under the Projection Mapping section. Now press the pick button – Add Target dialog box will appear, choose High Poly Plane and then press add button, this will pick the projection into the Low Poly Plane object. You can see a projection modifier now attached on the low poly plane modifier panel.
Now, press the Option button. ‘Projection Options’ dialog box will appear. Make sure Raytrace and use cage option is selected under the Method section, then press the Setup option button under the Filtering Options. Render scene dialog box will appear, from this dialog box under the renderer tab Enable Global Supersampler (under Global SuperSampling) and also enable Supersample Maps, notice that Max 2.5 Star Supersampler is now enabled.
Close these two dialog box. Render to texture dialog box still open, scrolled down to Output section.
Here, in this dialog box press the ‘Add’ button to add Texture Elements, after pressing this button Add Texture Elements dialog box will appear, simply choose NormalsMap and then press Add Elements. This will add the NormalsMap size 256x256 to change the size press 512x512 button or more, set the Target Map Slot to diffuse Color and choose your project folder and file type to save the normal map texture. Here I save this normal map texture as .tga format.
Go to the Cage Property under the Projection in the modify panel enable Shaded option and move the Amount Value to fit as adjacent to the low poly plane. Or you can manually select the Shaded Cage Vertices to fit. If you have problem, press the reset button to and do it again.
After completing editing exit the Cage edit mode. Now press the render button from the Render to Texture dialog box. Close this Render to Texture dialog box and delete or Collapse All the projection modifier from the modifier panel.
Now, select the High poly Plane object and right click on that and choose hide selection, high resolution poly plane object is now hidden. Select the low poly plane object and open material editor or press ‘M’ from the keyboard, from the material editor select a material slot and go to the map section, select bump map and press the map button. Then assign the Normal Bump map to it.
Now, from the bump map parameters assign the low poly plane normals map image to it by dragging the image from my computer ( I use this) or click on the normal button and select bitmap and select the bitmap (targa) image to assign and increase the normal amount a little or as your desire. Then render it to see the final output or press F9 key from the keyboard. Here is the final out of the 3DS Max Normal Map.