Making Normal Maps

This tutorial will cover how to convert normal maps to a format that Stalker can use. This will allow you to use custom normal maps in Stalker as well as converting existing Stalker normal maps to a normal one that other game engines can read. However, this tutorial will not cover the process of creating normal maps, there are tons of other tutorials about this topic.

Required

Programs:

  • Photoshop or any other software that is capable of creating normal maps

Other:

  • A working, updated Stalker installation
  • A model & skin you want to create a normal map for

Optional:

  • When using Photoshop, the nVidia normal map plugin as well as the nVidia .dds Utilities will come in very handy

Converting

Preparing

  • First of all, we need to open the skin we want to edit in our picture-editing software, I will use Photoshop CS2 and the default MP5 texture for this tutorial.
  • Prepare the normal map using the nVidia normal map filter. This tutorial will not cover how to create a good normal map, there are tons of other tutorials regarding this topic.
  • Stalker will use the red channel of your new normal map as some kind of specular map; unfortunately I am not sure what this map is really used for. Still, it is obvious that the map is a toned down greyscaled version of the regular skin. Refer to screenshot B for an example of what your normal map could look like.

Editing

  • Now the important part starts: change to the channels tab. For making a normal map useable in Stalker, we need to swap the channels refering to the following table:
    Channel of the normal map: Swap to channel:
    Red Blue
    Green Alpha 1
    Blue Green
    Alpha 1 Red
  • For doing so using Photoshop CS2, I duplicate every channel and rename them to their real names. After this, I delete the original channels, bring the new ones left into the right order (Red, Green, Blue, Alpha 1) and change the image format back to RGB. Refer to screenshot C, D and E as screens during the swapping process. Screenshot F shows a possible outcome of your swapped normal map.

Saving

  • Save your new normal map in the .dds file format with the addition "_bump" at the end of the filename. In my case of the MP5 skin, the filename would be "wpn_mp5_bump.dds".

You're done. If you followed every step correctly you will finally have a working normal map in Stalker that matches your skin.

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Comments

  • Hector avatar
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    5 months ago:

    The red channel is used to set how much will be reflective the skin! White is full reflective (like chromed, super shiny), black is no reflective at all, usually I make metal parts dark grey, scratches light grey/white for a nice metalic worn touch and plastic/wood parts 2/3 tones darkest than metal: This makes the most visual difference!

    Yippie-Ki-Yay!
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    5 years ago:

    Hi, I've been trying to get this to work for a few days now. I'm doin everything right, except I am using Call Of Pripyat. Is their a difference between this and Pripyat? Very frustrated. If you could possibly help PM me, I can maybe send you the dds file.

    Bananite
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    6 years ago:

    AHA i got it figured out if the alpha is only white or something all you gotta do is to desaturate and paste the diffuse on the alpha and THEN do it this way worked for me at least

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    6 years ago:

    Pros: Now the secrets of the green normal are revealed! Cons: None that I can see. Improvements: Bump# maps? More technical information?

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    6 years ago:

    Pros: Easy to understand and I could make S.T.A.L.K.E.R. normal maps within 3 minutes. Cons: None. Improvements: None. Notes: Good job. I like my skins looking good :)

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    6 years ago:

    Aaah... I cant believe this! I cant never get this to work!!! I always get fucked up in the channels deleting! I cant recognice which are the originals and which not! I cant never succeed!

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    6 years ago:

    Pros: Easy to understand and I could make S.T.A.L.K.E.R. normal maps within 3 minutes. Cons: None. Improvements: None. Notes: Good job. I like my skins looking good :)

    Oops. Don't know why it showed up as a 5. My bad. Meant for it to be a 10/10. Just send me a revise note and I'll make it a 10. My bad :D

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    6 years ago:

    Very helpful tutorial, especially for a photoshop newbie like myself. Will you make a tutorial on how to make the bump# files too?

    Bananite
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    7 years ago:

    Then you didn't swap the channels right. Stick to the table.

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    7 years ago:

    At the end of the work, I usually see a default blue normal map or some ugly yellow color. I guess I go wrong at the channels. I have tried this several times.

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Additional Info

Genre
Texturing
Difficulty Level
Beginner

Stats

Post Count
19
ViewCount
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Date Added
7 years ago
Date Modified
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