Using A Normal Node To Add Color To An Object?

This is all about me trying to replicate an effect from Substance Painter, one that I’m pretty sure is possible in Blender, though I only have the vaguest idea of how to do it.

I’ve been doing these stylized textures as of late, and one thing that helps break up the monotony of what would otherwise be a fairly uniform texture is to use a directional lighting style effect to put some splashes of color on certain angles of an object.

I think this can be done with a normal node, I’ve seen something similar done before, the problem is, I can’t find whatever tutorial I happened across that did this.

Sure, I could probably pull off a similar effect just by using some spotlights in a well lit scene, and bake them to the diffuse. The problem there is that it’d require more tweaking and experimenting. I’d rather just have a shader I could throw on everything, and tweak from the nodes.

Anyone know what I’m talking about? I’ve tried searching for uses of the normal node, but most everything I get in return involves normalmaps, which I don’t want. All I need is a tutorial that lets me light with the normal node, and I’m pretty much set.

something like this perhaps?

Beautiful! Thank you! Turns out, all I needed was that texture coordinate node.

Though one more question: why is it that when I spin the little normal ball around so that it looks like it’s lighting just from the top down, it’s really doing it more from an angle. I have to goof around with it to get the desired effect, so that it only lights faces aligned at a certain angle?

Is there a way to make it a little more precise? Maybe if I used a mapping node…

edit: the mapping node does make it more precise, but without knowing what angle things are oriented from, it’s even more trial and error than using the normal.

If I can figure out this last bit, and orient my lighting angles exactly how I want them, then I’m golden.

Something like this?

Edit: v2

This is the more or less the effect I’ve been aiming for. It needs some tweaking to get it looking exactly how it did in Painter, but it’s pretty damn close.

…though I am going to save that shot of your node layout. It’ll probably end up coming in handy.