I'll be straightforward: I want to create a normal map resembling this

normal map

from this texture:


I've been at it for about an hour, and everything I've come up with has an absurd amount of noise. I don't expect it to be nearly as perfect as the first image, but something that doesn't look terrible would be nice. I'd prefer to use GIMP, though I do have a copy of Photoshop I can use.

  • My inclination is this isn't going to happen based on that image. The top image is generated from a texture pattern, not a photo. – Scott Sep 17 '14 at 17:56
  • @Scott But, is there any way to manipulate the bottom photo so that it would more closely resemble a pattern? – caseif Sep 17 '14 at 19:30
  • Not easily. You would need to manually go in and clean up the mortar areas of the photo. – Scott Sep 17 '14 at 19:31
  • @Scott I assume this wouldn't be a very good idea if I don't have experience in manual retouching? – caseif Sep 17 '14 at 19:32
  • Even for someone with experience, that's a job worth several hours of time. You'd be better served by finding a rock texture pattern as shown in your top image. An hour of searching sure beats 3 days of manual retouching. – Scott Sep 17 '14 at 19:33

There’s only two ways I know to make a normal map — from a vector model or from a height map. Since you have a photo as a starting point, a height map is your best option.

You can probably fudge a decent height map by copying a channel and applying levels to it, because the dark areas are also the recessed areas.

enter image description here

From there, you’ll have to convert the height map to a normal map.

If you’re on a PC, NVIDIA have a Photoshop plugin available: https://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshop

This tutorial seems good, but I can’t vouch for it’s accuracy: http://www.moddb.com/groups/udk-developers-group/tutorials/ao-and-normal-maps-from-a-height-map

Or, you’ll have to use some other method (there are quite a few tools available for the task).

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