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Affinity Photo make normal maps


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I am doing all my normal maps from sculpted or photogrammetry produced geometry.     Crazy bump and similar fake methods result in unrealistic appearance, kind of swollen and bubbly, once you have a light coming with a sharp angle , like sunset /dawn.

 

So basically I need an adjustment layer that would generate "live" normal map over height image.   Let it be a slow one, it's not that important.   What's important is having it hi-res ,sharp and  precise.    Not the blurry mediocre thing from Filter Forge or Photoshop.

 

    

Switchable Photoshop styled "layer compositions" would be very helpful for that purpose too.  Plus an ability to export such compositions as .tga files

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I am not sure what exactly you would like to be explained .    If an exact process of  getting a normal map from height one I can't explain it very well , with math details,    I don't know how,  it's just a regular procedure .

 

Crazy bump does exactly this.    The only problem it does it from height it "guessed"  considering darker pixels deeper and brighter ones higher  while it's never so all the time for any given random photo and even if the photo resembles "height" image somehow  it usually have wrong gamma curve to represent shape of the details correctly.      It's right only for actual height map rendered/ baked with at least 16 bit per pixel precision  from true 3d geometry.   

 

Any "guessed" normal map would look  ok probably   but only till so popular in modern games  "golden hour" or sunset conditions  with low sun.   At such lighting condition you would see the fake nature of "crazybumped" things immediately and everywhere.

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