Third Year: Normal maps and Sun (Part 2)

The previous post goes into why I chose certain maps for my projects and what my plan was for Sun.  This post will be about Sun and the issues I was having whilst trying to add a normal map to him.

Not being totally happy with how Sun turned out, I wanted to make him look older than he currently was.  The base of his appearance was great, but I felt like I had to put some more dots on some I’s.

After refining his appearance in Zbrush, I transfered him back to Maya and went to apply the normal map to him, and the new textures. This was the start of a very long weekend.  I’m unsure if it was me being tired or just getting back into the whole 3D thing, but looking back I see the mistakes I have made and want to word them out here in hopes to not have it happen to someone else.

My workflow included just Maya and Zbrush, no other programs but those two.  I work in Maya 2018, which means there are some difference between this one and the last year version (something I wasn’t aware of at that time)
After putting some higher cheekbones and more defined features on Sun, I transfered him back to Maya and went to apply the new texture map and normal map (Zbrush has several ways of transporting maps.) Then when I checked him out in the render view.. I was met with this..

His textures were split in half.  Half his body was with a normal map whilst the other was completely without.
So my first thought was that I had not flipped the maps. Whenever you transfer from Zbrush to Maya you have to flip the map in order to get it on the mesh properly. I did a manual transfer (FBX Export) and thought that might’ve been it.  I went back into Zbrush, flipped it and again it came out like this. I didn’t understand why this was happening and so I started transfering it through GoZ (Zbrush extension) though Multimap export (also Zbrush option) and nothing worked.  I asked online what it could be and the things suggested were the things I had done already. Eventually I decided to ask my Zbrush Lecturer who managed to save me!

I completely forgot to recheck my UV map.  Even though it was the same mesh, I had adjusted it by adding new things to his appearance, I never created a new UV map because I was so focused on doing the whole procedure right with my Normal map as this was the first time using it.  So after updating my UV map and redoing the textures he came out like this and I am very happy he did.


The connections in Arnold to make a normal map are a bit odd, and sometimes you face really strange things like this..


Whenever you use a Normal map and suddenly this happens, or your character has a very fat face, you can adjust the settings in the file by going to Color Balance and adjusting the Alpha Gain or Alpha Offset in order to gain or lose the extra ‘fat’ on your mesh.


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