Normal Map baking problems

Hello all, this is my first post here. I’ve followed this tutorial:

To try and bake a high multires normal map and put that map on a lower one. Unfortunately the bake constantly seems to bake the lower res object - not the higher res one - and I am selected the high res one first - just like the tutorial suggests.

I’ve tried this at least 10 times - with different objects - the the results are the same - the normal map always looks low poly…I must be doing the same thing wrong every time - but I have NO idea what that could possibility be - any suggestions?

Any advice would be great appreciated :yes:

I’ve attached a screenshot of what the normal map looks like…


It’s difficult to see from your screenshot because you have not shown the low poly version next to the high poly version… the one I see looks kind of a mess and could be both mulched together for all I know.

If you don’t want the low poly hard edges to show up on the normal map, use the “soft edge” option. Tangent normal maps are made by comparing one mesh against another, so a sharp crease on either model will show on the map.

If it helps to get anther perspective, try another tutorial which might just mention one thing differently. I wrote one at which is one of two normal mapping tutorials (different authors) in Blender Art magazine, issue 20.

Thank you for responding - i will definitely look into that tutorial. I have also taken another screen shot of my project - with both res models side by side.

Below is a link to the tutorial I did - specifically the screenshot that shows how smooth the normal map is… that’s what I don’t get - why mine’s so different…

Also - forgive my ignorance but where is that soft edge option?


Editing (F9) panel >> “links and materials” >> “Set smooth” button.

Either activate it in object mode to the selected object, or select all vertices / faces before pressing it in Edit mode.

Looking at your new image, you could sculpt more detail onto that higher mesh… how about teeth and surface cracks? It’s these details that normal maps are good for… not general mesh reshaping.

Thanks again for the info Lancer… the set smooth - did make the object render smoother - but the normal map is just not right… it actually makes the model look lower poly - when I turn off the normal map - it looks higher texture…

I also totally agree with adding more detail - this was my first ‘test run’ for creating a normal map - I wanted to get something simple right - and then do something more complex - but as I said earlier - I keep getting this same problem - normal maps that look way too low poly…

Try sculpting in some fine cracks onto the hi-pol one and see if they get transfered onto the low pol version. I think the difference between your two models is more of a shape change than a detail update. Normal map adds detail to the surface… it won’t actually bend the mesh.

I created another object – a sphere which I added a lot of detail. The normal map still has visible polygons that the skull had. This confused me because there are no visible polygons on the high multires object - which is was smoothed to level 9.

I do realize that a normal map doesn’t affect the mesh - but my point is how the normal map has visible polygons on it - most normal maps I see are smooth…

I’ve attached a screenshot of the new test…


I just tried your tutorial - but when I tried to save my image at the start I got an error ‘couldn’t write image’ and then the path - am I doing something wrong?

Ah!!! I just realized you mean turn the soft edge option on before I do the normal map bake! Ah yeah - that helped a LOT! Thank you very much!!! It only took like 10 hours for my brain to actually get it…

Unfortunately I’m still having problems saving textures… I’m constantly getting that ‘couldn’t write image’ error…