Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bump vs Normal vs Displacement

So I have been doing a lot of tests in Maya when it comes to texturing. I have come across a lot of problems with displacement maps and normal maps but in these quick renders I have managed to get them working and I just wanted to post my results. 

No Map - This is just a diffuse (colour) map only. You can see it is very flat and despite how accurate the tiles are, it doesn't give a realistic result.

Bump Map - This isn't the best test as I think the intensity of the bump is too extreme at the moment but you can still see what effect it has given. Bump maps are rendered pretty quick but as I am going for hyper-realism this isn't the best option to do. It also doesn't react to light so if I was to have harsh shadows from the sun, it would look noticeably fake.

Normal Map - So now we are getting a much better result. Normal maps take slightly longer than bump maps to render but not by too much. The result are much better and I would be happy to use this, however if I want to get some real shadows in those tiles I want to have the mesh displaced. When applying normal maps in Maya you must ensure you have 'Tangent Space Normals' selected and not 'Bump' or 'Object Space Normals'.

Displacement Map - After a few trial and errors I managed to get this displacement map working. The result is excellent. There are a few small black spots scattered around my map which is causing the random holes in the texture but that can be fixed in Photoshop. What I like about displacement maps in Maya is that you don't necessarily have to have loads of polys in your mesh if you apply a Displacement Approximation, but I will play around with that another time.

Better Displacement - My last test involved me tweaking the displacement map in Photoshop so I didn't get those horrible holes in the floor. I also increased the amount of polys in the plane to get a better result. This did increase the rendering time by a lot but it's worth it!

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