Use Bump/Normal Map to Displace True Geometry

Hi All,

I am a new Blender user with Maya background. For work reasons I am experimenting if there is a way to use bump/normal maps to create actual mesh for the purpose of 3D printing.

This is what the model originally looks like with base color and bump map on low resolution model.

I came across this thread on Reddit to use displacement modifier and plug in a texture map. But the mesh came out to be wonky looking like this. Any ideas for a way to go about it?

You might need some UV editing. Maybe you bumps and textures are misaligned.

You can easily use the bump map as a displacement map. But it seams that you only have a normal map…
Normal maps don’t really have any depth information, and the only way to (kind of) extract depth from them requires some analisys.
In a normal map, you only have slopes. Lets say you have a line of pixels with different slopes, so we assume the first pixel starts at 0 and raises to some amount (sin(slope angle)*pixel_width), the second pixel lowers the depth by some other amount, etc. If you go through all pixels, you’ll get the bottom value and the upper value, and from those you can derivate all other depths. This however is prone to some errors, as normal maps don’t require that all slopes add to 0 («what goes up must come down» rule doesn’t apply to them).

Anyway, you might want to try any of the anwers in this BSE thread, and choose the one that best fit your object.

There seems to be a gimp Plugin, that can to this. But I have never tried it:

https://code.google.com/archive/p/gimp-normalmap/

I actually do have a bump map as well, but I get the same result somehow.

From the image, the Displace modifier has texture coordinates set to Local, try and swich to UV map.