Help with normal maps from subsurf model

Hello fellow Blenderheads. I’ve played around with Blender a bit and have finally made something worthwhile to try to properly export into an OpenGL demo I’m creating. I’ve modeled a hand using subsurfs; my second attempt. The first one never got finished.

My plan is to generate a normal map and a low-resolution mesh from the high-resolution subsurf model and then render these in OpenGL like in the Blender game engine and today’s 3D action games. My question is how to go about the production of these two items? I’ve already written an exporter for armatures, mesh etc. and can load these into my engine. But I have little to no experience with reducing the mesh and rendering normal maps.

Anyway, I tried applying some Decimate modifiers to the subsurf mesh (with the lowest detail setting). Here is the result:

And after reduction:

Does this even work? Or should I just bite the bullet and perform the reductions manually? Any criticism is of the work itself is also appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Why can’t you use the mesh that you usewith the subsurf?


Hmm, that’s a good and simple idea actually. I confess to not having started to experiment yet; I kind of hoped to get some directions from someone who had tried this already. Anyways, here is a render of the source mesh for the subsurf model. It is kind of rough but could probably be touched up rather easily with some mesh editing:

Thanks for the suggestion Richard. I’ll try it tonight and see how it ends up.