Best current cross platform tool to make normal maps?

I have students who are on mac and windows. I am curious what currently the best cross-platform apps are to make normal maps etc

I tested photoshop but their tools will be discontinued soon and Gimps normal maps look rather flat.

I don’t know if this has what you’re looking for, but I’ve had good results with it:

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Be sure to advice your students that making normal maps (and roughness maps for that matter) from albedo is a cheap way that doesn’t necessarily make sense.


IDK if this is “best” but open sourced does have a Height to Normal filter…


Gimp has a normal map filter as well. You can use height maps to generate normal maps as well there. Just need to remember that Blender uses OpenGL normals, then the Y channel must be inverted.

I would not mention that a while ago since Gimp wasn’t able to support images with more than 8 bits, but that’s not the case anymore.

Didn’t bothered too much about it but (this is 2.10.22) Newer one doesn’t ?? :

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Yes, it is. Until 2.99 there was no support for that.

?? This is the 2.10 version not the 2.99 dev version (and AFAIK it was already in 2.8 at least in 2.9 …) ?!

By the way: does have an image input and a normal node :wink:

that is quite true and kinda a crux

Truly a normal map is made from baking a 3D structure or from a 3D scan / set of photos

As long as you teach the difference between pre-normal-computing-but-faking-it era and doing-it-all-on-my-super-duper-GPU-now but millions of polygons are too much for the VRAM so i have to use CPU render [<- stopped inserting - ]… so the student get some expert knowledge… it’s all fine :wink:

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Truth is the students I am honest are disappointing

I never myself sid much with normal creation but know about it

The fact sadly is complex but good techniques they don’t want to learn

Recently my feedback to student complains is if they want to be defeated by a high school kid who knows it better than a college students …

I actually just ordered a 700$ scanner for digitizing materials and will give a workshop at a local elite design school graduate program.

They have all the other tools (scanner to measure glossiness for example) and are a lot more eager to learn.

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