Question about Normal/Colour?Speculiar Maps

Hi people, a quick question: I’m still not sure about all those different maps, but I seem to be achieving normal and other maps with coloured images, while most of the people use black and white ones for their normal, specular and displace maps. So my question is does it really matter if I’m using coloured images or should I just desaturate the coloured images to get the black and white or is there anything else I have to do to achieve BETTER results? - I have tried both and it seems to be giving the same result.

blender does not use the color of teh basic pic but it will encode in color the spec of the normal map so this is why you have to set the Normal map variable in F6 panel
to activate the normal map respons from blender

Salutations

I tried using greyscale map with Normal Map variable button pressed on ref, spec and norm channels and the texture looked way better, thanks. So my understanding now is that if I don’t press the normal map button under texture pannel, than my textures will look worse yeh?
http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/9515/normalandcolourmappingomd3.jpg

yafray does a calculation so it should give a better rendering then the internal Blender’s render

one thing here is that if you don’t press the normal map in F6 then it is a bump map
instead of a normal map!
now do you have any other questions abou this ?

Salutations

ok, u need to read http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Bump_and_Normal_Maps
spec maps are something entirely different, and vary the shiny-ness of a material http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Specular_Shaders, but a map will say where something is shiny-er than another spot. In humans, you use a spec map to show where the skin is more oily than other places.

Thanks for the tips and links guys, so if I understand correctly I should have 2 or 3 different images for different channels. Im still confused a bit though, I have tried doing what you told me and having all these different images fir different channels, but it didn’t really work out really well:
http://img385.imageshack.us/img385/1723/18953543zt7.jpg
The left picture is when I used only 1 image for all channels, the right one is where I’ve used different images for different channels - used greyscale for norm, spec and ref. It looks darker and less detailed I think - not really sure why that happens.

I also got a little bit confused about this link you’ve sent me PapaSmurf: "a highly detailed ear may have 1000 faces in the high-poly model. In the low-poly model, this may be replaced with a single plane, oriented in the same direction as the detailed ear mesh. " - how can this be? If a high poly model is mapped on a plane, the plane will still be a plane with some 2D details :confused: . Normal maps are supposed to create an illusion of deapth, which will be evident of you are looking at a flat surface from the side.

I’ve read both articles but am still unsure about the difference between the normal and bump map: doesn’t Blender only support only NORMAL and DISPLACE maps? In the article it says that Bump maps store intensity, while Normal maps store direction, where do I get Bump maps from, or are they the same thing and look the same when redered?

Sorry to ask so many questions, but I wanted to understand this stuff properly before doing trying to model other stuff, without this basic knowlenge.:o